Mediators Beyond Borders:
Elahe Amani (EA), Director of IT- Student Technology Services at California State University, Fullerton, was interviewed by Emma Bohman-Bryant (EBB), MBBI Writer, on 25 August 2017. Responses have been edited for brevity.
EBB: How did you first get involved in peacebuilding?
EA: I was born and raised in a family of educators in Iran who encouraged me to always question inequality and injustice. I was engaged in the social justice movement at Tehran University, the hub of student activism, and continued to be involved when I moved to the US to pursue further education.
However, it was after the revolution in Iran – when the rights held by women were taken away and women were pushed from the public to the private sphere – that I became more conscious of gender relations, the division of labour and the public/private dichotomy. This led me from my days of student activism to a lifelong interest in gender issues. Visiting Iran during the heat of revolution also embedded my interest in peacemaking. I saw that the different opposition groups were in such an unhealthy relationship with one-another and began to consider why dialogue does not resolve conflict and why these unhealthy relationships sometimes lead to violence. I began to ask how we could reach a stage in social and political transformation that would allow us to reach our goals through non-violence, civility and dialogue.
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