Uniting People, Culture & Religion through Peace
While religion is often used to divide nations, cultures and individuals, Hien Vu (MA ’05) knows that it only takes one person touching another to expand religious freedom and human rights.
In Vu’s case, meeting one FPU faculty member led her to a Master of Arts in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies and a position as Vietnam program manager at the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) in Washington D.C. “Promoting freedom of faith requires a lot of peacemaking and reconciling work,” says Vu, “If I did not go to FPU, I would not be where I am at today, personally and professionally.”
As a native of Vietnam, Vu never imagined she would live in the United States and make a difference in her home country and around the world. “The first class I attended at FPU was the most impressive experience and confirmed my interest and God’s calling for me in the peacemaking field,” she says.
A personal connection sparked that calling. Vu attended conflict resolution training in Hanoi in the late 1990s taught by Ron Claassen, D.Min., now emeritus professor of peacemaking and conflict studies and leadership studies at FPU. Inspired, Vu eventually accepted an FPU scholarship.
“Professor Claassen was my key mentor. I looked up to him as my peacemaking model...he showed me how peacemaking is not just about academic research or talking about it, but it is about caring for others’ needs,” Vu says.
After graduating, Vu worked with Hmong refugees at Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM). From there, she gained experience working at World Vision Vietnam and then for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong before joining IGE. “I enjoy every moment of this work because it gives me the opportunity to meet different people, face new challenges, apply peacemaking and mediation skills and especially to experience how conflicts can be transformed constructively through people working together to improve behavior, attitude and actions,” she says.
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