Fulbrighter David J. Smith’s New Book on Starting a Career Working for Peace
In 2015, the worldwide refugee population topped 60 million for the first time since WWII – and the population is growing. Indeed, as globalization continues to unite diverse nations and peoples, it is also turning problems such as regional war and environmental degradation into worldwide issues, while prompting troubling reactionary movements in Western countries and beyond.
These problems are among the many that educator, writer and Fulbright alumnus David Smith hopes to push students to tackle in his new book, Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (Information Age Publishing). As a recipient of a Fulbright to teach in Tartu, Estonia – an experience he describes as “seminal” to his career – David was able to gain a deep respect for and understanding of the importance of intercultural dialogue and the central role of conflict resolution and peacebuilding as components.
Millennials are entering the workforce at an exciting yet uncertain time. Those seeking to make a career out of peacebuilding may struggle with how to enter a field that does not have such clear-cut career pathways as others, particularly at the undergraduate level.
David admits that there are limited opportunities for undergraduate students interested in what he calls “Direct Action Jobs” – that is, careers in fields like the Foreign Service or USAID. However, this does not mean that undergraduates should give up on their dreams; rather, he advises students to consider “Indirect Action Jobs,” in fields such as education or healthcare. These jobs allow individuals to make a direct difference in the lives of those they serve.
Peace Jobs features 30 stories from young recent graduates currently working in the field. These profiles are an invaluable source of information and inspiration for those passionate about finding a career that channels their desire to help humanity. As Fulbrighters around the world know, such careers are invaluable. As David points out, America’s current toxic political atmosphere is one of the many reasons that peacebuilding remains just as important as when J. William Fulbright first dreamt of the program.
Millennials are uniquely poised to address the multitude of problems arising today from lack of dialogue and intercultural understanding. Now more than ever, careers in peacebuilding are vital not only to the wellbeing of society’s most marginalized, but also to our very national security. With Peace Jobs, he is helping to continue the charge towards lasting global peace, a mission that Fulbright alumni continue to lead around the world.
Are you interested in promoting global education and peacebuilding at your community college? You may be interested in this resource: Peacebuilding in Community Colleges: A Teaching Resource.
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“This book stands as an incredible resource for community colleges.”
– Journal of Peace Education
Book Author David J. Smith is an educational consultant and peacebuilding trainer. His career has included roles at the U.S. Institute of Peace and teaching at Georgetown University, Harford Community College and currently at George Mason University. He was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Estonia (2003-4) teaching peace studies and conflict resolution at the University of Tartu.