Inspirational peace educator, scholar and award winning conflict resolution professional
Bill Jacobson, found his life calling as a teacher/mediator/facilitator in conflict transformation about 18 years ago. Lively conversations inspire him, and seeing people grow and learn motivates him deeply. He teaches practical courses such as Mediation, Facilitation, Restorative Justice, Peace Perspectives of World Religions, and Conflict Coaching in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Masters program at Arcadia University. He has a Master of Divinity, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
He is a core facilitator for the The Compassionate Listening Project, focusing on building communication between Israelis and Palestinians, which he has developed for work at Graterford Prison and for work in Rwanda and for his work as a professor. He is also a core facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project at the State Correctional Institute in Graterford, and with the Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities project (community trauma healing workshops,) offered by the African Great Lakes Initiative in DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, The Central African Republic, Liberia, and the United States.
What are some of the websites that you visit after you get up and why?
Al Jazeera English is one of my favorites. I also like Democracy Now. But I also follow Amnesty International, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a few others.
Tell me about a book that has had an impact on your life and why?
That's a really tough one. I guess I'd have to say the one I've studied the most (and expect it's shaped me significantly) is the Bible. I am not a fundamentalist and I do not see the Bible as being inerrant. Instead I see it as a library of books written by a number of different authors at different times and in different cultures struggling with what it means to be faithful to a monotheistic god.
Who are your favourite authors?
I'm pretty eclectic. William Hulm's book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions continues to have an impact, as does Shake Hands With The Devil, by Romeo Dallliar. Bruno Bettleheim's The Uses of Enchantment has been important for me. For novels I like Deep River by Shosaku Endo, The Brothers Karamazov Dostoyevsky and Adichie, Americana I continue to appreciate Stephen Prothero's, God is Not One, The Bible, and The Qur'an. I also . But there are so many, I can't even begin to describe them all. I also enjoy poetry. Early on my favorites included Pablo Neruda, Audrey Lorde, and Robert Frost.
What historical figure do you identify with?
Jesus of Nazareth, insofar as it is possible to see through the editors, the cultural differences, and the genre specificity.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Real life heroes: Without question, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. In some ways, though, my real heroes are everyday people who don't give up.
What is your favourite occupation?
Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution and on-the-ground practitioner. I'm blessed.
What influenced your career path?
People: Two professors from my PH.D. program, both who believed in me: The chair of my Department and the chair of my residency. Both great people. And my best friend who paved the way for me in my conflict work.
What do you like about what you do?
I'm constantly learning. I love to see people claim their lives. I'm thrilled by the transformations I see in people I work with.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Finding and loving my calling.