Peace Building - Macedonia, Bosnia and at home
In 2002, Rupa was invited to Macedonia to teach Peace Dance and to inspire two groups of Macedonian, Albanian and Roma teenagers to their own ethnic dances. Having a passion for Balkan Dance made Rupa an appropriate "elder." While there she witnessed many transformations as she photographed and helped to document the camps. Her mentors all had studied at the School For International Training under Paula Green who works internationally doing Peace Building through the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding. Susie Belleci, Vahidin Omanovic, and Jan Passion skillfully opened the hearts and minds of these teens, Rupa got them to dance. In 2004 and 2005, Rupa went to Bosnia to a Peace Camp with The Center for Peacebuilding, an NGO that Vahidin Omanovic founded in Bosnia.
Having witnessed the power of "Conflict Transformation," Rupa was given permission to bring some of the processes she learned at the camps. At conferences and meetings, with a slide show, Rupa presented "Conflict Transformation, from Revenge to Reconciliation," to groups in Putney, to the Associated Psychologists of Vermont and to the annual Conference on Rubenfeld Synergy.
With building peace a passion, Rupa became a community leader in the Tikkun Community, and the Network For Spiritual Progressives.
Close to home, Rupa facilitates the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative and helps to produce events that bring together people of faith, spiritual seekers and secular others to issues that affect us all. From the Abrahamic Family Reunion and Mother's Day Interfaith Peace Celebration to Spirituality and the Ecology with the Manitou Project to name a few.
In 2015, Rupa was finally in a position to take Paula Green’s Contact Transformation Across Cultures, the three week course at the School for International Training in Brattleboro Vermont that birthed the teachers she worked with years before in Macedonia and Bosnia. At Contact she met people from countries around the world, many from Africa, Tibet and Libya. There she became close friends with a young man from Burundi, whom she calls her Burundi Son.
Just after the Contact program, Rupa assisted Luz Elena Morey in a program called the Gathering in Gratitude, which brought five Native American Teens from the Pine Ridge Reservation where they created a performance piece for the community. These teenagers came as representatives and future leaders of youth on the Reservation who are at risk for Suicide. Their guide was Tony Ten Fingers who also brought Lakota wisdom to all who had the joy of hearing him.
What is next? Perhaps a trip to Pine Ridge in June with Luz Elena and friends bringing the Gathering in Gratitude full circle.