Last month many of you chipped in to help cover a portion of travel expenses for Deepani Jayantha, Born Free’s country representative in Sri Lanka, to attend the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute course, “Conservation Conflict Resolution,” outside Washington, DC. Your support was beyond generous. The course concluded on Friday and I received this email from Deepani:
Greetings from Front Royal, Virginia! The course ended today. It was great!
It is such a great opportunity to come to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to attend the course, ‘Conservation Conflict Resolution’, which was conducted in collaboration with George Mason University. The intense 5-day course includes conflict analysis, theories of conciliation and mediation, identifying the third party neutral role and multi-stakeholder dialogue in conflict resolution. Role playing based on real life one-on-one conflict situations helps the participants to improve their skills of handling challenging issues. All 14 participants were from the American continents except for me, which made me feel special!
The most significant exercise of the course was discovering Bodhi-Lama in each participant and bringing him to life when interacting with other people every day. The Bodhi-Lama is a hypothetical character with all possible qualities of a genuine third party neutral.
With the course over, I plan to explore life in Virginia despite the difficult weather. The Appalachian Trail is inviting; sadly it is winter. It will be exciting for me to learn about the cultural history of Virginia at the museums in DC.
I am very grateful to all of Elephant Aid International supporters for your financial support. All the friends I made have been enormously helpful – thanks to all! What I learned in this course will invariably be helpful in handling multi-stakeholder dialogue in conservation of elephants in Sri Lanka.
Thanks again for your support,