We would like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to sit down and read what could potentially be the most life changing collection of research you will ever encounter. By educating yourself and engaging in dialogue about these pressing issues, you are taking the first step down the path of changing the world and making life better for billions of people around the world. You are following the footsteps of the great leaders who have come before you, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and other peace builders who started with small actions and ultimately changed the world. Do not underestimate the impact that you can have on the world. Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope and, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Over the course of nine weeks, WorldLink’s summer interns collected research and compiled the most intriguing and in-depth sources that take a critical look at this year’s student-selected theme, “Healing the Wounds of Violence.” Each high school intern based their research on their own interests, and together produced the 2015 WorldLink Reader, which is divided into six chapters: Identifying Violence, Healing through Medical and Alternative Therapies, Transitional Justice, Restorative Justice, Violence Prevention I, and Violence Prevention II. Although most of the sources mention countries half a world away, some sources mention conflicts happening less than an hour away. Some of the issues may seem distant and non-threatening to you. However, we should not treat them with negligence, rather see them with the same magnitude as if they were occurring in our community.
As fall interns, we spent many hours meticulously editing abstracts and going through each source. Through our research, we came across countless stories of people, just like us, who may be living in a less than ideal environment but overcome it. Reading these influential works gives one a sense of empowerment and motivation to help change the status quo. From an early age, we are taught to not take life and its opportunities for granted, however it can sometimes feel inevitable as we begin to accept them as norms. Nevertheless, as you will see in the 2015 WorldLink Reader, we can counteract this disengagement through service programs with organizations that work with local and global communities. The people that make up these organizations are just like us wanting to make a difference.
In today’s day and age, we often feel that as soon as we seem to conquer one problem, another arises. We see this mostly through wars, the spread of disease, and famine. The truth of the matter is that there are many problems that are hidden or undocumented, which makes solving them that much harder. Yes, it will take patience, but we have to start somewhere. The first step is awareness and education. Rushing into a crisis without a proper understanding is counterproductive, considering how fragile many situations are. We commend you for embarking on this journey to become aware of not only the current violence in the world, but for also learning ways in which offenders, victims, and communities alike can begin to heal the wounds of violence.
As you explore this publication, discover new topics, expand your knowledge, and take on new challenges. As Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, said, “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.”
Sonia Adjroud and Steven Franca
WorldLink 2014 Fall Interns