Inside USD

Alumni Honors Recipient Reflects on Peacemaking Changes

Friday, May 1, 2009

jkamanyi - photo/thumbnailJudy Ann Kamanyi is back on the University of San Diego campus this week, six years after she completed the inaugural Master of Arts degree program for Peace and Justice Studies.

Kamanyi, who lives in Uganda and serves as an adviser and consultant for social development and governance programs, has enjoyed a whirlwind week in San Diego: she’s renewed friendships fostered at USD, has spoken to peace and justice studies students about Uganda, attended a local Rotary Club meeting and even gone sailing in Coronado.

Everything she’s done leads up to Saturday night’s annual sold-out Alumni Honors event at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Kamanyi is the inaugural recipient of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies’ Author E. Hughes Career Achievement Award.

She appreciates being chosen, but admits she doesn’t seek the spotlight. “I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of person.”

Kamanyi will have plenty of company to share the spotlight with on Saturday. Other distinguished alumni receiving their respective school’s award are Heather Raffo ‘98 (MFA), College of Arts and Sciences; Denise Boren ‘01 (PhD), Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science; John Cappetta ‘83, School of Business Administration (BBA); Richard Bartell ‘75 (J.D.), School of Law; Leona Makokis (Ed.D.) ‘01 and Patricia Makokis ‘00 (Ed.D.), School of Leadership and Education Sciences. The Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill Award winner is Douglas Robert ‘74 (‘94 MA). Sandy Cassell Farrell ‘61 is the recipient of the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Award. Tennis player Zuzana Lesenarova ‘00, is the Chet and Marguerite Pagni Family Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.

Kamanyi came to USD through a Fulbright Fellowship and the USD Gandhi Fellowship. She was the executive director of Action for Development in Kampala, Uganda, and was a program associate for Associates for Change. When she arrived, her interests, according to her 2003 student biography, were “advocating and lobbying for the emancipation and empowerment of women and girls through gender equality and equity initiatives in all areas” as well as “engaging policy makers at the international, national and local levels on development issues related to issues of poverty.”

The inaugural Master’s program class also had students from Rwanda, Kenya, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Italy and United States. Kamanyi, who is married and a mother of three children and grandmother of two, credits USD’s yearlong program for helping her apply what she learned.

“I took quite a number of things back with me,” she said. “Before I came here I didn’t have all of the background knowledge. Although I do have challenges in terms of applying the theory in practice (in Uganda), the program does give you the basics from which to work.”

Asked what she believes has changed about peacemaking in the six years since was at USD, Kamanyi said: “The good thing about it is that there are a lot more people aware of what needs to be done. People appreciate that what they’re doing on a daily basis is actual peace-building. It is enabling all of us to understand that what we are doing on a daily basis, if it is something positive, that’s what peacemaking is. If you do something negative, that’s where conflict actually comes in. The challenge right now is to get governments to make the link between peace and what they actually do.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

For more information about Alumni Honors, click here.

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