In recognition of the relevancy of her work in promoting peace, Eddah Mbula Mutua, professor of intercultural communication in the Department of Communication Studies, earned a St. Cloud State University Foundation grant to support the expansion of her work. The grant was funded with unrestricted gifts by alumni and friends to the Foundation.
Mutua’s program, Communicating Common Ground (CCG) is a service-learning project that offers insights into innovative ways to understand the causes and effects of conflict and how to discern effective strategies that promote peaceful co existence. It illustrates the possibility of building a culture of peace in communities separated by ethnic, racial, cultural and religious differences.
Participating students are from St. Cloud State, five Central Minnesota high schools—Apollo and Technical High Schools in St. Cloud, Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Sauk Rapids-Rice High School, Foley High School — and Naisula School
in Kenya. About 500 students have benefited from this work since 2007.
“The St. Cloud State University Foundation is thrilled to support Dr. Mutua in this important work with our students. They are skills the world needs,” said Sherry Smith, Foundation Board chair.
The overarching goal is for students to learn effective intercultural and interracial conflict management. By focusing on the application of intercultural communication theory and praxis, the project engages diverse students to dialogue (face-to-face and via Skype technology) about conflict experiences in their communities.
Sentiments expressed by students about conflict and the possibility of peaceful co-existence reveals their potential as peacemakers and leaders in their respective communities.