Matthew Smith

Elizabethtown College

Matthew Smith is an exceptionally motivated student who lives out the motto of Elizabethtown College: "Educate for Service."

The transformation of conflict into peace requires devoted people who have a deep understanding of vital issues and how they can be addressed in concrete ways at the local level. Mr. Smith is on a path where he is developing robust understanding of conflict and useful approaches to conflict transformation while engaging directly in efforts to benefit others in his local community.

Mr. Smith has worked closely with the College's Peacemaker in Residence, and in the past year has had the opportunity to travel to Japan and South Africa where he engaged with people in their local communities around mediation and conflict transformation. On campus, he drew on his community-building and relationship-building skills to spearhead a Student Senate holiday meal drive for local families that was six times larger than ever before. The student organizing and mobilization approach that he developed has the potential to be extended to other outreach efforts at Elizabethtown College that will benefit both students and the wider community. His long-term goal is to work to improve the lives of others by reducing violent conflict around the world.

Dr. Carl Strikwerda
Elizabethtown College

Personal Statement

I first became exposed to conflict when I took a trip to Israel-Palestine. While there, I was able to observe the effect that the conflict has had on civilians and non-combatants. This trip helped spark my interest in the Middle East and developed my passion for helping to resolve conflict. As I continue to travel and learn about other conflicts, I become more interested and passionate in my choice to pursue a career in diplomacy and peacemaking.

Thus far in my education I have learned about conflict and working to end it through mediation and social justice advocacy. At Elizabethtown College, I've had the opportunity to travel with faculty to Japan and South Africa to gain insight through tangible experiences in peacemaking, reconciliation, and conflict resolution. Soon, I will be studying abroad in Jordan to learn Arabic and learn about the conflicts that divide the Arab World. In the future, I hope to work as a peacemaker through institutions like the US State Department, the United Nations, or a non-governmental organization that works on peacemaking and human rights. My ultimate goal is to improve the lives of others by reducing violent conflict around the world.

Matthew Smith
History and Middle Eastern Studies: Class of 2021
written 2019

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