A professor’s journey to deliver peace, aid

A professor’s journey to deliver peace, aid

Associate professor Manisha Javeri with a fellow Peace Fellow in Cambodia.
Courtesy of Manisha Javeri.

Fueled by compassion and a belief that each individual can make a difference, associate professor Manisha Javeri has led a multi-year journey to bring peace and aid to people around the globe.

In the last four years, Javeri has traveled from Botswana and Mozambique to the killing fields in Cambodia, with the goal of better understanding individuals’ plights and providing assistance where she can. As an associate professor of instructional technology in the Charter College of Education’s Division of Applied and Advanced Studies in Education she has also used her class as an outlet for developing solutions, effecting change and inspiring others to take action.

“I think that engaging in the world—helping people—is where my heart is at,” Javeri said.

For her international work, Javeri was recently one of only 38 selected globally to be named World Peace Fellows by the Rotary Centers for International Studies. As a fellow, Javeri conducted field studies in Thailand and Cambodia and attended peace and conflict resolution sessions led by esteemed professors from throughout the world. They also visited the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp in Mae Hong Song along the Burma-Thailand border and the S-21 prison camp and the killing fields in Cambodia.

“There are basically moments in which you’re in touch with the meaning of life, when your relationship with the rest of the universe makes sense, and this fellowship program in Thailand was such a moment for me,” Javeri said of the experience. “I received this award when I was battling a major health challenge, and it came to me at a perfect time to give me an opportunity to shift the focus from myself and engage in the lives of others [in Cambodia and along the Burma-Thailand border] who were suffering and in pain.”

Javeri said that following the fellowship she returned “humbled and determined” to use her knowledge and skills in technology to design humanitarian interventions.

In December, Javeri returned to Maputo, Mozambique to complete the final phase of a nearly 4-year project with the installation and training on the use of solar ovens. The solar ovens will be used to start a micro-business for women who care for hundreds of children who have been orphaned or infected by AIDS/HIV in surrounding villages.

Javeri’s CSULA graduate students have also been involved in her work in Maputo over the years, designing technology-based interventions and other distance learning tools to help educate villagers on English, computer skills, health and even creating micro-businesses. Her students’ programs and applications will help guide progress in the area for years to come, she said.

“I’d like to continue to involve students at CSULA to learn to engage in global issues and to use classroom projects as platforms to solve real-world problems like HIV/AIDS, refugee support, post-war redevelopment and reconstruction, environmental issues and more,” Javeri said.

For more about Javeri and her journeys, read her blog: http://manishainafrica.blogspot.com. You can also read a winter 2009 Cal State L.A. TODAY article “Teaching for a Change”, which details Javeri and her students’ work for Africa.