WASHINGTON--For five days in October, students at Beijing Foreign Studies University will receive intensive, practical training in conflict resolution from a retired U.S. ambassador and a social worker professor with expertise in post-conflict countries, as part of volunteer program from the International Executive Service Corps, or IESC.
This assignment represents the start of a new phase of engagement in IESC’s China volunteers program, launched last year in partnership with AARP, the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel. Through this program, U.S. technical experts volunteer their time to advise Chinese businesses and organizations on global best practices and standards in fields such as bio-pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and green energy. This new phase expands the program to provide professional, hands-on, practical training to Chinese students in higher education.
The volunteers are Thomas Miller, a career diplomat and three-time U.S. ambassador in Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Cyprus, and Bonnie Miller, a social worker, psychotherapist, and educator with extensive experience working with refugees, victims of human trafficking, educators, mental health professionals and other populations in post-conflict countries. Thomas Miller, who is married to Bonnie, is also the president and CEO of IESC.
“We are particularly thrilled that IESC’s president, a retired ambassador, and Bonnie have volunteered to launch the teaching phase of our volunteer program in China,” said Andrea Patrick, IESC’s associate vice president for volunteer services and director of the China program.
During the five-day conflict resolution training, Bonnie Miller will facilitate the theory and skill-building components, and Thomas Miller will offer the practitioner’s perspective. The courses will draw extensively on real-world examples, including the current Greek economic crisis, the war in Bosnia Herzegovina, and the Dayton Peace Accords, which were signed twenty years ago this November.
“IESC has a reputation for understanding our international clients’ needs and finding qualified U.S. experts to support them,” said Thomas Miller. “I am happy that my own expertise in diplomacy can meet a need for foreign service students in China.”
IESC's extensive database of industry experts come from all backgrounds and fields. Previous IESC volunteer assignments in China have included biomass energy production and sink hole management.
IESC, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., applies private sector solutions to promote equitable, sustainable economic growth around the world. Founded in 1964, IESC supports and catalyzes the development of small and medium enterprises, business support organizations, and public and private institutions.
For more information about IESC, visit www.iesc.org.