Excerpts from “Communication in Place of Isolation” by Rachel Leininger

MCC U.S. Washington Office 2018-19 High School Essay Contest Grand Prize Winner

“U.S. foreign policy regarding North Korea needs to change from fighting against a perceived inhuman enemy to working personally with the nation’s leaders and citizens….Negotiation provides an opportunity to bridge the divide and bring peace, but both nations have their own reservations about doing so….

“In addition to humanitarian and developmental aid, cultural, academic, and artistic exchanges could bring about greater understanding….People traveling between the two countries with the goal of trading artistic and intellectual ideas would naturally make one group more aware of the other’s contributions to society. This type of engagement happened successfully in nations such as China, Cuba, Vietnam, and Myanmar, showing the great potential for growth through this program. Each nation consists of more than just the government leaders, so true communication between the people allows for the greatest understanding and hope for better relations in the future….

“Anabaptist values of pacifism should guide the views on governmental threats of violence versus diplomacy. Faith should lead people to attempt other peacemaking strategies instead of first looking to the use of the military in response to aggression. Anabaptists must also realize the benefits of communication first as a means of better relations in the future, since ‘peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness’ (James 3:18). By beginning with interpersonal interactions, Anabaptists can share the truth of God’s love to encourage greater understanding….One of the best ways to resolve conflict is to introduce care and community in a situation instead of more violence.

“With so many decades of hatred and enmity between the U.S. and North Korea, the concept of mutually beneficial relations seems nearly impossible to reach. However, openness and eagerness for negotiation presents the first step towards deescalating the threat of war. With every progression of trust between governments and citizens, these nations can continue…reconciliation across borders.”