“We hope that through the scholarship fund, we can support ETH’s mission to professionalise the peace mediation sector.”
Your support enables the award of the peace mediation scholarships to two young women professionals in the MAS ETH Mediation in Peace Processes programme. How did this come about?
J.N. – As is common amongst many of us in our workplaces today, I experienced burnout last year after a career of 22 years. I took this opportunity to pause and reflect on ways to channel my energy to help make a positive impact. As I’m deeply interested in problem-solving, negotiation and mediation, I came across the MAS at ETH and was curious to learn more. Through conversations with Eemeli Isoaho, the programme coordinator, and Professor Andreas Wenger, the programme director, I was inspired by their passion for training the next generation of peace mediators. This encouraged Dorothy and me to set up the 10-year scholarship fund to support young peace mediators. In a world where conflict and political violence are destroying livelihoods, separating families and resulting in human suffering, we hope that through the scholarship fund, we can support ETH’s mission to professionalise the peace mediation sector.
What was it about the programme that impressed you and John?
D.N. – Switzerland has a long tradition of supporting peace mediation. Thanks to the close partnerships ETH has with national and international institutions, the MAS is able to offer best-in-class trainers with vast experience in the world of peace mediation. Additionally, the multi-disciplinary programme incorporates extensive practitioner orientation to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and techniques to effectively mediate violent political conflicts. Finally, we were also impressed by the diverse participation, with 59 students from 36 countries having graduated from the programme since its launch in 2017.
Why are the scholarships targeted at women peace mediators from Asia?
J.N. – Since the MAS was launched, it has had three cohorts of graduates. One key feedback from past participants to improve the programme was to incorporate more diversity in terms of trainers and mediation approaches. This included suggestions to incorporate both Asian and gender perspectives of mediation into the programme. Coming from Singapore and a family of four women, we felt that establishing the scholarship fund for women from Asia would address this feedback in a meaningful way.
Two scholarship holders will soon be starting the programme. What impressions do you have of the profile of the scholars?
D.N. – Very positive! The two scholars are highly qualified and experienced in their fields. One of the scholars is from the Philippines and has been working at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva for over seven years supporting the peace process in her country. The second scholar is from Colombia and works at Dialogue Advisory Group, an independent organisation which facilitates political dialogue between governments, armed groups and other key actors in conflict situations.
As part of your support for ETH, you’ve founded your own philanthropic fund. What are your priorities?
J.N. – The Nagulendran Philanthropy Alliance is a Swiss-based philanthropic fund. We want to focus on capacity building to support peace and humanitarian projects, sustainability and climate action as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives. Our goal is to support projects where we can make a positive impact and address global challenges. We’re working with partners to identify and establish such projects which can offer beneficiaries a platform for creativity, growth and empowerment.
What do you hope your funding will achieve?
J.N. – We want more people to recognise the value of private philanthropy. We don’t have to be Bill Gates to play a role. Everyone can help others by giving their time, energy and ideas to make an impact. I hope that our contribution will not only raise greater awareness of the important work of peace mediators but also serve as a catalyst for others to come forward to support such an important cause.
Master of Advanced Studies ETH Mediation in Peace Processes
The MAS ETH MPP is a two-year course for professionals engaged in mediating violent political conflicts and supporting dialogue and peace processes across the world. It is based on a close partnership between ETH Zurich, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the United Nations (UN) and the foreign ministries of Germany and Finland.
more about the MAS