Meet the Rotary Peace Fellows – Sana Saeed
February 4, 2014
February 4, 2014
Sada’s experience includes working at the Interfaith Alliance as the Program Coordinator of Leadership Education Advancing Democracy and Diversity (LEADD). This national program for high-school age youth promotes active citizenship in a multi-faith society.
As Director of Youth Programs at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA, (UUCA), Sana gained in-depth experience and developed her skills to effectively work with youth by managing social justice, spiritual, and education programs for 300 high-school and middle-school youth. While at UUCA, Sana also served as a consulting Program Manager for the Interfaith Youth Action Group (IYAG), a pilot initiative in the Washington, D.C., area that builds on previous efforts by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faiths Act Fellows. It aims to empower high school students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders in interfaith dialogue and service, guiding them to create their own year-long community service initiatives with both a local and global expression, using the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as their platform.
Sana extensive experience also includes working in the role of Campus Program Coordinator for the American Islamic Congress (AIC) with a focus on Project Nur, an initiative to create multicultural and interfaith student groups on U.S. college campuses. Her work with the AIC was highlighted in an article Sana co-authored about the impact of Project Nur on Muslim students in Washington D.C. and Boston, MA.
Early in her career, Sana worked as a Program Associate for Clergy Beyond Borders, an organization that aims to build bridges between clergy of different faiths and train them to promote religious pluralism. At the same time, she was also a Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Virginia. In 2008, she completed her M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.
Sana’s recent accomplishments include co-authoring a national high-school curriculum on introducing the concepts of anti-racism and social justice to teens called, Building a Beloved Community with the Unitarian Universalist Association, for whom she is a member of the national Youth Ministry Advisory Committee (YMAC). In June 2012 she was elected to be an at large Board member of the InterFaith Conference of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
1. What is your opinion about the prospects of an end to armed conflict in the next 50 years?
I’d like to think that in the next 50 years there would be an end to armed conflict, but history shows that humans have used armed conflict for thousands of years. I think priorities of peace makers should focus on creating more understanding to foster pluralism, dialogue to prevent misunderstandings, access to peace education as a way to begin addressing the use of arms in conflict, and also to grapple with societies in the midst of armed conflict. I believe these elements and more need to become more accessible to, and include input from, the people on the ground (local communities) who are caught in the midst of armed conflict, as a way to begin addressing the growth of peace.
2. What do you believe are the three most important contributing factors to fostering peace within and among nations?
I believe interfaith dialogue, education, and inclusivity are essential to fostering peace. By inclusivity I mean making sure the voice at the grassroots level and in local communities impacted by conflict, trauma, and violence is prevalent in the peace process, including peace talks, as national conversations around peace often represent only a certain set of voices with access to the conversation.
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