The Peacebuilding program has amazing students doing amazing things. Take Tsing Nam Chan for instance. While attending Brigham Young University- Hawaii he goes by Adrian and is a senior in the Peacebuilding program finishing up his school career with a capstone project that will benefit those in his home country of Hong Kong.
The Program’s 480 Conflict Transformation course is dedicated to the understanding of conflict mediation, facilitation, reconciliation, and transformation as well as intercultural leadership principles. The main goal of this class is to move from hypothetical situations to real ones through an applied peacebuilding capstone project. Adrian who has been inspired by the current unrest in Hong Kong has decided to work on a project that focuses on helping his country especially during this time of distress.
While sitting with Adrian discussing his project he said, “My project is about my hometown in Hong Kong. Recently they have had a big protest that involves not just Hong Kong, but is international wide. Many countries and people have participated now. It's mainly about the Extradition Bill.” The Bill that Adrian is referring to is the “Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill” of 2019. The Hong Kong government proposed this bill, after a Hong Kong citizen murdered his girlfriend in Tawain and fled back home. The Bill was meant to ensure that the city would not become a haven for suspected criminals, but rather be able to extradite criminals back to the countries in which their crimes were performed.
This extradition bill has caused hundreds of thousands of protestors to gather the streets of Hong Kong. The citizen’s concern is that the extradition bill allows mainland China to request citizens to be tried within their system of government which is different from Hong Kong’s semi-autonomy government system. Hong Kong sees this as China’s attempt to continually undermine the city’s judicial independence. The protests lead the city leader, Carrie Lam, to suspend and finally withdraw the Bill in September of 2019. Although the intentions of the protest were meant to be a peaceful movement, authority figures, such as the Hong Kong police, have started civil unrest with their violent procedures to subdue the protests. Though the bill has been suspended the clash between citizens and police has become increasingly violent as the demonstrations continue and have developed to include demands for full democracy and an inquiry into police actions.
Adrian was inspired by the book “The Anatomy of Peace” written by the Arbinger Institute, a conflict resolution consultant company. The book provides an example of how one police chief revolutionized the attitude of his team by the change of his mindset on how he saw the citizens that he was protecting. Adrian says, “My project is about creating an Arbinger related program for the police in Hong Kong. Because of the relationship between the citizen and the police is extremely bad. There is no trust in the police due to the violence performed by both sides which creates a mass commotion. It's brutal, it's really bad, and that triggers me. Instead of bringing Arbinger back home, I would like to tailor-make a program starting for the police force.” During the semester, Adrian is going to research and develop a curriculum that can be presented to the police force of Hong Kong. Even though Adrian isn’t sure if he will ever be able to present his curriculum, he is hopeful that one day he will and when that day appears he will have the material necessary to present. Adrian says that this is his ultimate goal.
However, his goal for this semester in addition to researching the best conflict resolution program for the Hong Kong police is to host two Arbinger workshops for Hong Kong students at BYU- Hawaii. He plans to interview students from Hong Kong to see what their needs are. He sees that often times the Hong Kong students and the students from mainland China get into arguments and cycles of conflict and his hope is to address this issue through the workshops to help the students involved have the right tools to navigate these conflicts. He says, “I want to see how can we create inner peace among this collusion. I want to provide two workshops in Cantonese and give it to the students. Ultimately, I want to help the students here from Hong Kong and in the future the people back home. If the incident in Hong Kong didn't happen for these past few months then I would have had a different project, I felt like I had the urgency to do this project when the conflict was happening.”