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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Reflecting and Sharing: Kroc IPJ Staff's Expressions of Gratitude for 2020

Written by Kroc School

Reflecting and Sharing: Kroc IPJ Staff's Expressions of Gratitude for 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020TOPICS: Faculty and Staff

At the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, we took some time to reflect on this past year and share what we are grateful for.

Andy Blum, Executive Director

I am grateful for the unsung this year. The millions of ordinary citizens who upended their lives to fight the pandemic; to the millions who came out into the streets to demand we no longer ignore the systemic racism and injustice in our society; to the millions of poll workers, election officials, and USPS workers, who make our democracy work. And I am overwhelmingly humbled and thankful we at the Kroc IPJ can play our small role in support of all of these millions of individuals. It is with these everyday heroes in mind that we look forward to 2021.

Rachel Locke, Director of Impact:Peace

I am grateful for the resilience of the human spirit, which keeps us moving forward, even in the midst of overwhelming grief and injustice. I am further grateful to move through this grief with others - even while distanced - standing in solidarity with those who actively reject injustice and violence, who see the promise of a more peaceful world. 

Jennifer Bradshaw, Women, Peace and Security Program Officer

I am forever grateful for our peacemakers worldwide, who did not waiver despite unprecedented challenges this year. Peacemakers from all corners of our globe adapted, pivoted, and persevered. They found new ways to bring communities together online and offline to discuss, heal, and find ways forward. They taught us what it means to be resilient and find hope during the most trying times. 

On a personal note, I am grateful for becoming a new mom. My daughter gives me a new sense of joy and excitement for our future. She has also deepened my commitment to leave this planet better than I found it.

Melissa Floca, Program Officer for Cross-Border Initiatives

With a complex 2021 ahead of us, I am grateful to have the opportunity to join a team of passionate people committed to working together to make our community more peaceful and inclusive.

Julia Canney, Policy and Communications Associate, Impact:Peace

Meagan Maher, Executive Assistant

This year, I am grateful for all the essential workers working to keep our communities healthy and safe.  I am also grateful for everyone continuing to work for social justice in these especially challenging circumstances. 

Nasema Zeerak, Research Intern

I am grateful that I have been able to continue to contribute to the important work of Impact: Peace in 2020. The challenges posed by the pandemic has made it all the more urgent to work towards reducing violence and building peaceful socitiets. 

Lisa Sorush, Practice Fellow

I am grateful for the drive that the stay-at-home and pandemic gave me; reading news about my country while being stuck at home really motivates me. Intra-Afghan peace talks begin after years of civil war. I hope the Taliban stops attacking and killing innocent Afghan civilians, and commits to letting people achieve security and enjoy peaceful times. The people of Afghanistan have suffered many human rights violations at the hands of all parties involved in the conflict. I hope the Afghan-Taliban negotiation settlement, or potential peace accord, does not come at the expense of Afghan women and girls' rights.  

Mara Novakovic, Practice Fellow

Despite the challenges that 2020 presented for us all, I feel privileged that I was still able to begin my M.A. Program for Peace and Justice at the Kroc School. I also adopted the sweetest pup, Indie, who was rescued off the streets in Mexico. She became such a light in my life during this difficult year.

Marjon Saulon, Practice Fellow

In a year filled with hardship and uncertainty, I am grateful to have found a community that is so passionate about improving peoples' lives here and around the world. The support has not only allowed me to find my voice, but to also find ways to contribute to the greater San Diego community.

Sophia Ventura-Cruess, Practice Fellow

I struggled with the decision of starting my Masters program in the middle of a pandemic, but at the end of my first semester, I am beyond grateful that I have had the opportunity to reflect, discuss, and work on issues of peace and justice with such a dynamic community, like at the Kroc School and Kroc IPJ.



Meagan Maher
(619) 260-7873

Kroc School

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Kroc School

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies' mission is to equip and empower innovative changemakers to shape more peaceful and just societies.