On a breezy evening, over 100 BYU-Hawaii students and Laie community members responded to the invitation to attend the David O McKay Center’s Intercultural Peacebuilding (IPB) opening social on March 5 in the McKay Foyer.
Seeley Dopp, an IPB junior from Idaho, said she wanted to show support for her IPB fellows. “I love the IPB program. It is about learning people’s stories and bridging the gap that separates people,” said Dopp.
Opening the event with a welcome was Dr. Chad Ford, chair of the IPB Department, who introduced the special guests of the evening Stephanie Catudal, the first IPB graduate from BYUH, and Richard and Paula Vial, board members of the McKay Center.
Visiting from Arizona, Catudal is planning to be a professor in IPB topics at BYUH in the future. Catudal said, “Peacebuilding is all about daily interaction, academic, and life. It helps people to grow in credibility with colleagues and peers because people can sense that you are different, which means you are quicker in tune with people’s needs. This knowledge in pacebuilding allows you to reach out to people and see them as people instead of objects.”
As board members, the Vials help to raise funds, find students’ jobs, and to support the faculty as well as department in conducting research. “I think relationships are the most important in the world,” said Richard Vial. He explained why he wants to aid IPB over other programs. “No business can be successful without good human relationships.”
Lead by IPB students, the opening social was divided into three workshops. The first one told the story of the McKay Mural. As President David O. McKay prophesied, BYUH was built with the intention for students to leave the school and be influences for peace in their home countries.
The second workshop taught a portion of the Arbinger theory, a theory of leadership and self-deception by Terry Warner. It is about a different way to view people. The theory says a true leader sees people as humans with strengths and weaknesses, but a leader with self-deception oftentimes sees people as objects such as tools or obstacles.
Students learned about mediation from the third workshop. Michael Ligaliga, a McKay Center Graduate intern, was invited to introduce the IPB major and certificate. He urged students to “be the change that you want to see and need to the world.”
Ford concluded the evening with his experience as a BYUH student, “I was a trouble maker, but BYUH changed my life. It changed the way I see the world. Zion isn’t Zion if there are conflicts and disagreements. It will fall short,” said Ford.
Ford related his testimony with IPB and said, “Think of the cycle of pain, prejudice, hatred, and hopeless you see on the news. There are people out there having the desire to change, but they don’t know how. They even doubt if change is possible. Peace is possible and we are not here [BYUH and the Earth] by chance. We are here to learn how to be one with different people, races, and languages. We are the model of the world and the instrument of God to give people hope and peace.”