Volunteer Spotlight: Mariafernanda Burgos

Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers around the world. Want to volunteer with World BEYOND War? Email greta@worldbeyondwar.org.

Location: Colombia

How did you get involved with World BEYOND War (WBW)?
As a Rotary Peace Fellow, with a MA in Advanced Practice in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford, I was looking for a global and reliable organisation that I could engage with, around issues related to peace and conflict. I wanted to have the opportunity to not only share my knowledge and expertise but also grow as a professional and learn new things too. I heard about World BEYOND War through Phill Gittins, a tireless professional who is always searching to contribute to peace through his ability to connect projects, initiatives, and people.

What kinds of volunteer activities do you help with?
I’m working with World BEYOND War to support their efforts around peace education and youth participation in war abolition and peace efforts. In particular, I am contributing to the development of the WBW Youth Network as well as engaging with participants enrolled on the War Abolition 101 on-line course. I’ve been excited to have the chance to support efforts to expand World BEYOND War’s reach in Latin America by helping to organize a webinar series in Spanish around War, Peace, and Inequality that aims to bring together multiple stakeholders. In doing so, I have the opportunity to introduce colleagues from the region working with others to support the development of a mentoring strategy that aims to connect intergenerational activities and support partnerships for peace.

What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with WBW?
If you want to be on board, you have to be passionate. Contributing to peace is not a straightforward task, yet getting involved with an organisation like WBW will allow you to be part of a global network of proactive and passionate actors working towards ending war and establishing a just and sustainable peace for all. You can also be part of this amazing team! World BEYOND War has chapters in 8 countries and is always looking for those who are brave to raise their voices and spread support for war abolition activism.

What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?
As a Colombian embedded within one of the world’s oldest civil wars, dealing with conflict on a daily basis has been part of my life as a citizen and my professional vocation. Although the path towards peace in my country is dynamic and challenging, I’ve witnessed the utility of local and small initiatives in helping to take simple steps towards reconciliation. I’ve seen first-hand communities embracing forgiveness, engaging with hopefulness in the peacebuilding process and searching for peace every single day. These small yet powerful examples of local agency and impact is what keeps me inspired to advocate for change.

Nowadays, with the current global pandemic, the inequality and hard challenges across conflict-affected countries are more apparent than ever. However, as an activist, I found this as an opportunity to reshape strategies and contribute with new and impactful tools to influence local and international actors by fostering their leadership and to work together towards measures and solutions to achieve a world beyond war.

Posted April 14, 2021.

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