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Mar 20, 2024

"The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings." --Albert Schweitzer

In a Bomb Shelter Under Kyiv, a Professor Taught Peace

When the war in Ukraine started, like many people, Professor David Dowling felt helpless. "I couldn't shake off the idea that I wanted to do something more," Dowling told ABC News. Last fall, he travelled from Pepperdine University in California to war-torn Kyiv to teach a course in conflict and dispute resolution at Taras Shevchenko National University. "Being with these students, with these amazing young people, and seeing what they live with on a day-to-day basis -- they welcomed me with such love and enthusiasm," Dowling recalled. "Five minutes into class, the air raid sirens started." Accustomed to this, the students calmly evacuated to a bomb shelter four floors below their classroom while guiding Dowling along with them. Circled up in the bomb shelter, with war raging above them, Dowling continued teaching conflict resolution. "In our nature, we are made to adapt. ... Mediation is a great skill for everyone's day to day life," law student Oleksandra Chornyi remarked. Fellow classmate Mariia Nazarenko described, "We're having a war, and everyday people become more aggressive. Everything Mr. Dowling taught us helps for understanding how to communicate with people." Dowling was equally inspired by the students applications of mediation into their aspirations in law and life.

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