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Rhea Mahanta

Name:  Rhea Mahanta

Status: WMO Mediator

Entry Date: 15/11/2018

City / Country: Chicago / USA

Expertise, organization and field of action: Founder & President, The Peacebuilding Project. Field of action: Conflict Transformation, Peacemaking, Humanitarian Action. The Peacebuilding Project is dedicated to educating and empowering communities on the topic of conflict resolution. We do this both through academic instruction as well as civic engagement. I have hosted training workshops and seminars on different facets of peacebuilding such as Interfaith Dialogue, Strategies of Negotiation and Mediation among students at The University of Chicago and community members who have witnessed violence in their society. The project has also provided a channel of volunteers to support the Syrian refugee community in Chicago by partnering with the Syrian Community Network’s After-School program. It also hosted a community dinner for refugees in Hyde Park during Ramadan to welcome and show student support for them. Since it’s inception, the project has grown and received recognition for it’s commitment to Peace and Human Rights. The Peacebuilding Project was selected to be a part of the Clinton Global Initiative University this October 2018 for its idea to introduce Alternative Dispute Resolution and Cognitive Behavior Therapy in South Side Chicago Schools in an effort to reduce violence in the community. Currently, I am working on opening a Chapter of The Peacebuilding Project in India to support the vulnerable Rohingya refugee population, who are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Professional vision as WMO MEDIATOR: My vision as a mediator is to empower people to resolve conflicts peacefully amongst themselves. We have to recognize that conflict is an essential feature of human existence. We will more often than not, come into conflict with our peers, family members, supervisors or community members. The solution does not lie in eradicating conflict itself, because it is a phenomenon that has always and will always exist in society. The solution lies in training people to handle conflict constructively. We have to provide and educate people about the techniques they can use to respond to conflicting situations. People often resort to violence because they see no other option to bring about change. Our role as mediators is to first of all convey that we understand their needs, interests and positions. Following that, we facilitate and encourage local communities to design their own solutions and hone their problem-solving skills. I envision building a bridge of mediators in different fields who are all pooling their efforts to launch a concerted movement for peace and non-violence.

Articles by Rhea Mahanta:


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