CommonWell Institute International, Inc.

Contact Information

  • Where – USA
  • Website –
  • Contact Person – Elise Collins Shields
  • Email –
  • Address – 6030 N. Pontatoc Rd., Tucson, AZ 85718
  • Other – Facebook

Areas of Expertise

CommonWell Institute International, Inc. has expertise in a range of areas, including:

Main Aims and Objectives

CommonWell Institute International, Inc. is a global institute of research, training, advocacy, and conflict transformation for women and children in conflict and post-conflict areas, including Afghanistan and Rwanda. We inspire sustainable lives through education and economic empowerment for women and their children. We vision a new era that promotes peace and is dedicated in spirit and action to the wellbeing of ALL citizens of the global village. We provide economic grants and micro-investment for women in Afghanistan as well as programs of social justice and peacebuilding based on the CONTACT model of School for International Training and Karuna Center for Peacebuilding.

CommonWell’s founder, Dr. Elise Collins Shields, is in completion stage of SIT’s year long Certification in Conflict Transformation Across Cultures, sits on the board of Directors for Karuna Center, and is a member of Psychologists for Social Responsibility.

CommonWell International is currently designing a Conflict Transformation Across Cultures project called “Bridges Peacebuilding Southwest” bringing together American Indian, Latino, Anglo, African American, Middle Eastern and North African residents for dialogue and discussion of immigration, social justice, and living peacefully as sisters and brothers. Week long convocation will be co-led by Dr. Paula Green, founder of the CONTACT program at SIT and Karuna Center.

Peacebuilding programs are also planned for India and Jamaica where large groups are marginalized by structural and social violence.

CommonWell International works in collaboration with several governmental organizations as well as the University of Arizona’s Office of Global Initiatives.

Upholding the Principles of Conflict Transformation

CommonWell Institute International, Inc. upholds the principles of conflict transformation by:

  • Offering economic empowerment to the most marginalized in conflict regions;
  • Supporting educational literacy programs to promote gaining a voice for those at risk within intransigent regimes;
  • Conducting peace building dialogues among groups from varied tribal heritage and background;
  • Studying underlying structural impediments to implementing socially just lives, particularly for women who have been widowed and are supporting numerous children without economic assistance;
  • Working within regional systems to address root causes for abject poverty of less advantaged in the society;
  • Providing long term emotional and economic support for sustainability and living full lives;
  • Gathering and archiving stories of ‘Rescuers’ in the Rwanda genocide and gathering support for rescuers who are without resources and economic sustainability.

Where and with Whom?

  • Currently working with University of Arizona’s Office of Global Initiatives and nine other departments, including Southwest Institute for Research on Women for 5 year grant in Afghanistan.
  • Formerly worked with University of Arizona’s Office of Global Initiatives and seven other departments for grant offering for educational support for young women students to support completion of secondary and entrance into college, which is not supported by the cultural structures.
  • Work with Thunderbird School for Global Initiatives’ Project Artemis for Afghan women entrepreneurs, designing the mentoring program, conducting cultural training for mentors, and working to financially support projects in line with mission of CommonWell International.
  • Collaborate with Afghan Ministry of Agriculture in planting approx. 20,000 fruit trees since 2004 on Afghan New Year’s day – March 21 annually.
  • Currently designing collaboration with new Women’s Resource Center on campus of American University of Afghanistan for ongoing programming
  • Supporting the efforts of drug education sponsored by DEA; designed and implemented by CommonWell Intl co-founder Dr. Sultana Parvanta. Program continues throughout the country with street plays, school exhibitions and many supportive activities with Afghan police, army, educators, and students.
  • Collaboration with Karuna Center for Peacebuilding on various international projects.

Main Activities in the Field of Conflict Transformation

CommonWell Institute International, Inc. main activities include:

  • Participation in ongoing efforts and projects of Karuna Center for Peacebuilding (see above);
  • Continued collaboration with Dr. Paula Green, School for International Training, for on-going projects in U.S. and internationally;
  • Peacebuilding efforts in Rwanda with field work in February 2012 and planned field visit in November 2013;
  • Upcoming “Bridges Southwest” peacebuilding week long convocation (described above) with continued follow up conversation about conflict transformation in multi-cultural regions of the U.S., beginning in Arizona, advancing to New Mexico and Southern California. Hoping to expand to the Southern U.S.

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