Give us a brief description of your background (home country, family, education, etc.)
My name is Neway Kassahun Eshete, I’m from Ethiopia located in East Africa, I’m ordained priest and I have a wife and two children – a son and a daughter.
I have my Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Systematic Theology along with a Bachelor’s in Clinical Nursing and a Master’s in Public Health. I have taken courses on dialogue and mediation organized by the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) among religious institutions in Accra, Ghana facilitated by UNDP in June 2013. I also have a certificate in leadership and management.
What got you interested in interfaith dialogue and the program at Hartford Seminary?
Hartford Seminary has a fascinating history to bring peace building between different religions. Since I am so enthusiastic, I expect to gain the necessary skills and knowledge from this international training to better equip me to help my people when I return home or in the Ethiopian community here in US. Among others factors, my lack of necessary expertise and skills in conflict resolution and transformation is the major hindrance to resolve the problems I want to resolve quickly.
Briefly describe the conflicts that you would like to address at home after your year at Hartford Seminary.
I will organize a briefing and training sessions for IRCE board members, councils and major religious leaders and all concerned stakeholders about peace building. I will try to incorporate the skills and experience I gained in a peace building manual I am currently involved in and I hope to technically enrich it.
I will work closely with the Religion and Faith Directorate of the Federal Affairs Ministry of the Ethiopian Government to strengthen peace building in a sustainable manner.
The youth and women are also major actors in religious conflict and involving them in peace building activities is vital, So I will work in that area as well.
Finally, in Hartford I plan on engaging the Ethiopian community, there are around 100 members of my church here so I try to teach and resolve ethnic conflict. Also, I’ll strive to see Eritrean people and Ethiopian people serve together.