by Andrés Martinez-Garcia, Colombia

Dear Colleagues,

Think about bread. The fluffy kind…

To make bread a baker puts together a variety of ingredients. But one is key: Yeast.

This is how it works: You grab a tiny little amount of it and put it in the mix, you stir …and then you wait. Yeast distributes and then it rises. While yeast is just a tiny percentage of the overall mass, it changes the whole, transforming the system.

John Paul Lederach, a professor at Notre Dame University, and a member of IPSI’s board of advisors uses the concept of “critical yeast” to describe the way in which a network of individuals, with different backgrounds and from different countries, can have an enormous impact. A well connected web of peacemakers, with enough potential, and trained in the in the arts of negotiation, mediation, and conflict resolution can achieve the necessary momentum to transform the lives of those around them.

The world faces serious problems and while most people decide to look away in hopes that nothing bad comes their way, others, maybe a just a few, make the conscious decision to find realistic, sustainable solutions to violent conflict. IPSI believes that you are amongst those that will make a difference.

Friendly suggestions for success.

-Seek support in your peers, the person sitting next to you, or maybe that person who you barely spoke to during the month. It might surprise you.

-Work hard, never stop studying, and always feel proud when someone calls you a nerd.

-Take calculated, strategical risks.

-This one you know: 80% of success is showing up.

-Learn another language. Especially those of you who speak English as a first language. The more obscure it is, the better.

-Finally: Let us know what your future plans are, and keep in touch. We can’t wait to hear your stories.

Thank you and congratulations IPSI class of 2012!