Volunteers’ Voices 2/2015: international voluntary work as peace work

Editorial: Can volunteer work promote peace?

All the news about conflicts and terrorism that we confront on a daily basis make many of us feel powerless. It is difficult to believe that one person could somehow have influence on the big and complicated global problems surrounding us. But there is no reason to fall into despair: there are many ways to make changes in the world, and I believe that international volunteer work can be counted as one of them.

There is a great variety of different kinds of volunteer work, and most of them are in no way directly connected to peace work or conflict solution. When, years ago, I spent nine months as a volunteer worker in a Russian hospital helping elderly patients in their daily tasks, it never occurred to me that I would in some way be promoting peace. Later, however, I have realized that in his or her daily work the volunteer often crosses many boundaries that can, in a larger scale, also become reasons behind conflicts.

By working without a direct monetary reward the volunteer worker reminds us that market values and material incentives have not yet completely replaced other values, like solidarity, that cross boundaries between countries and cultures.

Volunteer work in another country and culture is also a good way to make the strange and unknown more familiar. Every day, both the volunteer worker and his or her host community give a human face to a country, a language and a culture that might otherwise have remained distant and characterized by stereotypes.

Moreover, volunteer work is an example of peaceful activism, and there are many examples of people finding an interest for other forms of being active and influencing the society through volunteer work. Because of these and many other good reasons, this issue of Volunteers’ Voices is dedicated to the topic of international volunteer work as peace work. I wish you a pleasant and thought provoking reading experience!

 

Mikko Lipsanen

Mikko Lipsanen
Chairpersonof the Maailmanvaihto Board 2015

In the magazine

2 Pääkirjoitus: Voiko vapaaehtoistyöllä edistää rauhaa?
5 Ajankohtaista
8 Maailmanvaihdon matkassa maailmalle
Teema: Kansainvälinen vapaaehtoistyö rauhantyönä / Theme: International voluntary work as peace work
– 10 Vapaaehtoiset rauhan lähettiläinä
– 14 Maailmankylä mahtuisi Suomeenkin
– 16 Vapaaehtoinen luo ymmärrystä
– 18 Where the roads come together
32 Andeilta Amazoniin – Vaihtokokemuksia Boliviasta
25: Column: Springtime, farewell time?
26 Encounters, understanding and empathy
30 Maisemanvaihdoksen kynnyksellä
32 Tule mukaan toimintaan!
33 Mukana tiedottamassa
34 Maailmanvaihdon toiminnan lähtökohtia
35 Tapahtumakalenteri

ISSN 2342-2629 (Painettu)
ISSN 2342-2637 (Verkkojulkaisu)