In 2014 Outward Bound Peacebuilding was awarded its full license from the Outward Bound International Board at the Outward Bound International (OBI) 2014 World Conference in Austria. As a licensed member of OBI, Outward Bound Peacebuilding was recognized for its sustainable business plan, high level of safety in its programs, innovative methodology and commitment to bring forth the values of visionary and educator Kurt Hahn, who founded Outward Bound. With this full license Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding will be looking to expand its programming with partners around the world and to bring our mission, Challenging Emerging Leaders in Divided Societies to Build Peace, to a greater number of participants.

The Need:

People must believe in and actively work to support peace for peace to hold. A World Bank statistic cites that 40% of all countries emerging from violent conflict fall back into conflict within ten years. All too often, political dialogue and negotiated agreements to bring peace occur only at the top political level and suffer from an absence of popular support. Without this support, a negotiated agreement is likely to be unsustainable and prone to collapse.

By bringing Outward Bound’s methodology, philosophy and expertise in developing people and teams to the work of peacebuilding, and by working with different constituencies on several levels of society including youth, grassroots and influential leaders and public figures, we believe Outward Bound can make a powerful difference in the lives of people directly affected by international conflict and its consequences. The goal of Outward Bound’s peacebuilding programs is to help people bridge divides and act upon their conviction that a better world is within their power to create.

The Result:

The anticipated result of an Outward Bound Peacebuilding experience is a profoundly altered sense of self and the “other.” The experience has the potential to shift the participant’s world view, and in so doing, transform his or her perceptions of difference—difference of ideology, identity, religion, ethnicity, needs and values often at the root of violent conflict—from those which inspire fear, resentment and hatred to a new level of understanding that may be acknowledged, respected and managed in non-threatening ways.

The objective is to offer the transformative experience of an Outward Bound Peacebuilding program as a tool for peacebuilding. We believe our programs have the potential to profoundly influence individuals and communities and the ways in which they interact and approach the issues that divide them, creating the possibility for open communication, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.

While Outward Bound Peacebuilding programs do not aim to resolve a conflict or bring about instantaneous harmony between formerly hostile neighbors, we believe peacebuilding programs can have a positive impact on individuals and groups, and thereby, on  entire societies recovering from, or threatened by, violent conflict.

Rotary has invited the Executive Director of Outward Bound Peacebuilding, Ana Patel, to join us at the 2015 ROTARY PEACE SYMPOSIUM June 4-5 in São Paulo, Brazil. Join us there to learn more about how Rotarians and Rotary clubs can work on peacebuilding with Outward Bound!