Hometown: Wakefield, RI
Degree: Entrepreneurial Management; minor in Nonviolence
When you hear the word entrepreneur, your first thought might be a business mogul like Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey. But for Eden Kalyanapu, being an entrepreneur means starting a nonprofit to conduct conflict reconciliation work in developing countries. A winter break trip to Nepal in 2012 provided what Eden described as “a wonderful culture shock” as she explored the ancient culture of the Himalayan region and met its most impoverished residents.
“The poverty there was hard to bear, especially as small children, sometimes holding tinier infants, came begging to us for money and food,” she recalled.
A trip to one of the world’s most remote locations provided an opportunity for Eden, who has minored in Nonviolence, to see first-hand how international trainings are conducted, an invaluable lesson for her future plans. The URI students led a peace and nonviolence training program with Nepali students, community human rights activists, and staff members from non-governmental organizations who were studying conflict reconciliation and positive peace building methods.
Eden who works at the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, was a co-trainer last summer at the International Nonviolence Training Institute at the Kingston campus. She plans to return this summer, earn her Level II Kingian Nonviolence Training Certificate and incorporate Kingian philosophies into her future nonprofit ventures.
“I want to help developing countries prosper and in my mind that begins with peace, with nonviolence,” she said. “I don’t have any set in stone plans or a focal country in mind yet. I am waiting to see where life leads me.”