A MOST FRUITFUL EXPERIENCEPosted: 2018/06/02
by Sarah Salazar
My Internship as an IFLAC Assistant
A MOST FRUITFUL EXPERIENCE
My internship with The International Forum of the Literature and Culture for Peace (IFLAC) this semester has done so much more for me than what I initially set out to do and gain. I anticipated how my duties would help connect me with my career goal in diplomacy in the future. In the end, my duties also enabled me to use my writing and computer skills to practice promotional work for the organization. For the first time ever, I assumed the position of Sub-Editor for the 2018 IFLAC Anti-War and Peace Anthology. Being under the supervision of the Editor in Chief and the Editor for the Anthology was a challenge which allowed me to learn more concerning the editing and publication process which will help me with my own writing in the future. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be part of the Editorial Committee of such a prestigious and important book and I am proud to see my name included in the IFLAC Anthology, now published on Amazon as both a paperback and Kindle.
My internship with IFLAC has taught me to express opinions diplomatically and promoting peace and while I have begun to cultivate these skills through social networks like Twitter, and as the IFLAC Assistant, these experiences have most importantly given me real hope in IFLAC’s message: a global education of the literature and culture of peace. IFLAC has shown me how it is possible to create change, even when the interest only begins through one person who is willing to foster peace and create positive changes in their local and global community.
Even though my desire has always been to enact positive change around the world, I couldn’t help feeling a bit helpless and on occasion, that I was being naively optimistic whenever I talked to others of my goals. Sometimes I struggled with doubts in my own capabilities and thought I was just not the right person for the job.
Nevertheless, I have learned otherwise under the direct supervision of Professor Ada Aharoni, also the founder and President of IFLAC, through her own inspirational example of creating this effective international organization. Learning of IFLAC’s successful efforts in communities abroad from Colombia to even a few timid participants in the Gaza strip, impressed upon me the message that with my own determination, I too can make an impact in my local community of San Diego and globally one day as a diplomat. The internship readings and reviews I have made throughout this time, such as Author Ada Aharoni’s intricate works, From The Nile to the Jordan, The Woman in White [both published on Amazon] and the impactful peace poem collection, Horizon of Hope, have been filled with the message and hope for peace which I certainly believe can make a difference now.
The American inventor and politician, Benjamin Franklin was asked once concerning the government his colleagues and he had given the people. His response was, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” This famous quote of Franklin’s is the way I understand the message of Peace to be. Organizations like IFLAC give us the tools to bring PEACE into this world, however, it is up to us, the global citizens of this world to keep the Peace, to promote it, to push the message forward until it is sung from every mountain top, until it is read to every child upon their mothers’ laps, until it fills our dreams at night, until we eat Peace and taste its’ sweetness in our mouths and inhale it through our nostrils.
Working very close to Prof. Ada has given me the opportunity to learn more about her personal life and the wonderful person she is. I found her personal story fascinating! Learning how she grew up in Egypt as a young Jewish woman and about the “Second Exodus of the Jews from Egypt” beginning in 1948 after the establishment of the state of Israel which she experienced is a chapter of history which has shocked me. Growing up, the American school system only taught me about the Holocaust, but never had I learned about the atrocities committed to the Jewish people living in the Middle East, of their expulsion of their own homes, their forced immigration, and the theft of all their monetary assets as acts of spite and revenge from their Arab neighbors. Today, half the citizens of Israel are made up of Jews from the Arab countries with their progeny and the history of their cruel uprooting being forgotten. This is why it is important to write down the history as Prof. Ada has done to help Palestinians who have the impression that they are the only victims who have suffered from the Arab-Israel conflict. As we know, every war brings destruction and pain to both sides, not just one. When all honest leaders of all countries tell the whole narrative of the Jews’ uprooting and teach of the “Second Exodus” in all universities, this generation will promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis. When the Palestinians will understand that they are not the only victims of this conflict, they will also want to make peace with Israel like Egypt and Jordan.
It sickens me that the world has chosen to overlook this part of history; the education system has buried the memory of it under the grains of desert sands. This knowledge motivates me further to lend my voice and my pen to bring light to the injustices of the world, to seek truth and expose the lies that many are afraid to reveal.
In conclusion, working with IFLAC has renewed my hope in bringing a peaceful future. If we unite our “pens and our smartphones” and make this message loud enough, the world will have to hear. IFLAC has also rekindled the fire in me to make positive changes through my future occupation as a diplomat and shown me how I may lead a purposeful life.