On international understanding

I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback in the last week on things I’ve posted here.

Many thanks to Asi Burak for sharing research on PeaceMaker and feedback on what I wrote about in-person and gamified conflict resolution. I’m looking forward to digging into the research this week. For any other readers, if you have suggestions for my reading list, please send me a tweet @finnismundi.

In response to that post, I heard from Chintan Girish Modi, founder of Friendships Across Borders and a recent delegate to Seeds of Peace. Chintan is also co-author of Chintan and Sheharyar, a blog about a cross-border friendship (India-Pakistan).

While I still wonder if individual in-person contact is enough to reduce real conflict (and not just animosity among participants), I’m definitely a fan of these exchanges. In 2009, I started learning Persian because I was watching news here in the US about the disputed elections in Iran and found coverage to be very poor. American journalists didn’t seem to be equipped to deal with Iran, both because very few of them spoke the local language and because they didn’t really know much about the country beyond some tired stereotypes.

My Persian study has definitely fallen off, but moving back to California, where there is a much larger Iranian community, has inspired me to pick it up again. I also came across this tweet:

So if some crazy people who walk across canyons can find their counterparts in Iran, I guess I don’t have much of an excuse for not finding my own Persian language partners or perhaps organizing a trip to see it in person. On a side note, if you don’t follow @pedestrian, you should. She (he? they? اون, I guess) always has really great photos of Iran and other beautiful places around the world.

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