Sometimes I’m shocked to wake up and realize that it’s 2017 there’s still so much conflict and suffering in our world. We need more and better ways to provide aid, education, and support for developing countries and for those individuals who are struggling due to poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor access to clean water, disease, and violence, among many other challenges.

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy took a giant step in the right direction when he created the Peace Corps[1], whose mission today focuses on providing hands-on, grassroots-driven initiatives, including developing health campaigns, building schools, improving agricultural practices, boosting local entrepreneurship, and teaching digital literacy, just to name a few. And while there is still a long way to go to eliminate suffering and to better the lives of those in need of help around the world, hundreds of thousands of Peace Corps volunteers have stepped up in 140 different countries over more than five decades to be of service.

Some of those volunteers have found their way to Pacifica as recipients of the Paul D. Coverdell fellowship [2], providing financial assistance to returned Peace Corps Volunteers pursuing graduate work. To honor the anniversary month of the Peace Corps, Pacifica is spotlighting some of the Coverdell Fellows currently enrolled in graduate programs at Pacifica through the Discussions in Depth Psychology interview series.

niger_cle.jpg?t=1488847409484&name=niger_cle.jpg&width=320First up is Stephanie Steiner, who is in her first year of studies in the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology (CLE) specialization at Pacifica. I’m impressed that Stephanie has discovered the C.L.E. specialization, which appeals for peace, community, non-violence, and conflict resolution. It seems a natural fit with her experience in the Peace Corps. Stephanie, who served in Niger, West Africa, from 2002 to 2005, joined the Peace Corps after completing her undergraduate degree in environmental studies and international development.

Having served her final semester abroad in Panama, her first time in a developing country was transformative, opening her eyes to some of the issues she had been studying, and also to U.S. involvement in other parts of the world. She really appreciated the chance to see how some of the theories she was learning about as an undergrad were actually playing out in real world situations.... Read the full post here

BONNIE BRIGHT, Ph.D.,(Founder of Depth Psychology Alliance), is a Transpersonal Soul-Centered Coach certified via Alef Trust/Middlesex University, and a certified Archetypal Pattern Analyst®, and has trained extensively in Holotropic Breathwork™ and the Enneagram. She has trained with African elder, Malidoma Some'; with Transpersonal Pioneer Stan Grof; and with Jungian analyst, Jerome Bernstein, among others.Her dissertation focused on a symbolic look at Colony Collapse Disorder and what the mass vanishing of honeybees means to us both personally and as a collective. Bonnie’s path to soul began with a spontaneous mystical experience in 2006, and she continues her quest for awakening each day with a sense of joy, freedom, and gratitude at the magic afoot in the world.

JAMES R. NEWELL, Ph.D., MTS, (Director of Depth Psychology Alliance) earned his Ph.D. in History and Critical Theories of Religion from Vanderbilt University (2007), and holds a master's degree in pastoral counseling and theology from the Vanderbilt University Divinity School (2001). James is also the director of the Depth Psychology Academy, offering college-level courses in Jungian and depth psychology. James has spent much of his working life as a professional musician, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with interests in jazz, blues, folk, world, and devotional music. Since his youth, James has worked with a variety of blues greats including John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Hubert Sumlin, Big Joe Turner, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and others.