My Statement of Purpose for a full scholarship I'm applying for.

This scholarship will be to get my MA in Ethnic Conflict Resolution at Queens University, School of Politics, Philosphy and International Studies, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

To whom it may concern.

I am honored and happy for the opportunity to apply for this MA
scholarship in Comparative Ethnic Conflict at Queens University Belfast
(QUB). I feel everything over the last 10-15 years has led me to become
a perfect candidate for this scholarship.

I read many years ago, Columbia University President, Levine's comment
to Soka University of America (SUA) founder, Daisaku Ikeda, that
“Education is the slowest means to social change, but the only means.”
Because of this quote and others, from Dr. Ikeda's dialogues, I decided
at age 30, after 10 years of studying in junior colleges, to start all
over again as a freshman at SUA, in 2001. There, I constantly asked
myself, as the founder recommends, “for what purpose am I learning, for
what purpose will my education serve.” Though I believe education is an
end in itself, one who will affect the world in a positive way must
constantly ponder how one puts one's education into practice. To cement
in my commitment, every year at SUA I sent my writings in book form to
the founder. After I graduated from SUA, my writings there amounted to
over 1,000 pages.

Upon graduating SUA, I moved directly to Japan, began teaching English
in junior high schools, and got married. In my spare time, I continued
editing my 1,000 pages of writings and a semi-autobiographical novel I
wrote shortly before entering SUA, “Myth Shattering.” I published all
of these writings in 5 books, and slowly released them to the public
each year over the past 5 years. With the release of these books, I
founded a publishing company, Second American Renaissance Press, which
will publish the writings of other SUA students and SUA graduates.

The 3 volumes of my “Selected Writings From Soka University of America”
deal with issues I care deeply about, issues I feel must be addressed if
we are to create a peaceful world, free of ethnic conflict. The first
issue, addressed in volume I, “Speaking Truth to Power,” is social
justice. As peace activists often say, “No justice; no peace.” This is
more than just a slogan; injustice (real or perceived) is at the root
of much ethnic conflict. In volume II, “Getting Philosophical,” in a
Socratic way, I examined the philosophical frameworks influencing the
world, from which many world problems stem. As the final teachings of
Buddhism, contained in the Lotus Sutra, teach, all people, “with no
distinctions” are complete equals; all people are in fact Buddhas
(according to the Lotus Sutra). This egalitarian understanding of the
unlimited potential within each person, whether propagated by Buddhists
or people of other religions (or people of no religion) is the only
fully evolved consciousness that will help everyone in the world
transcend their perceived differences. In Volume III, “Questioning
Orthodoxy,” I dissected the outmoded stereotypes and the misconception
in modern cultures that cause, among other things, so much
self-deprecation of individuals and offered views that can help people
escape from diminishing their own self worth and their boundless
potential - to become the “super [people]” that Nietzsche saw humanity
evolving into.

With the challenges of being in an international marriage and being a
junior high school teacher in Japan, for the last 5 years, my goal to be
both a full time writer and a singer/song writer has not yet been fully
actualized. For this reason, in 2007 I started a podcast, the “Peace
From the Far East Podcast.” On this podcast, I introduce my writings,
both songs and essays, to the world and have empowering conversations
with people around the world who are creating a new consciousness for a
more peaceful world.

During the 4 years of my international marriage, I harbored the
unfulfilled goal of continuing my post graduate studies. However, I
feel now that my ex-wife and I have decided to go our separate ways,
that the time has now arose for me to arise to the next level in my
life-time educational journey.

I was happy that a long time friend of mine, the director of the Toda
Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research, Olivier Urbain, gave me a
book a few years ago, which he edited for the institute called, “Music
and Conflict Transformation, Harmonies and Dissonances in Geopolitics.”
Olivier and I were in a band together many years ago, and he was
pleased, after not seeing me for many years, that I have never, despite
many challenges, given up on my dreams in music. As this book shows,
music is a powerful tool for resolving ethic conflict - as the founder
of SUA wrote many years ago, “music is a language common to the entire
world.” This book is a solid set of case studies and testimonies to the
incredible power music has in creating a peaceful world. This has been
my life goal in music, which I developed from reading the writings of
the founder of SUA back in my junior high school days, back at a time
when “Band Aid” and “USA for Africa” (and many other large musical
events) were using music as a powerful force for positive change.

I know with my writings, with my music, and with my podcast, I will be
able to add fresh new perspectives to the research on Comparative Ethnic
Conflicts at QUB. I will not only read the research that is housed in
libraries, but I will also interview many of the people (on my podcast,
via skype) who are leaders in this field. I also hope to get in touch
with my Irish ancestry for the first time and perhaps get a better
understanding of how and why two of my favorite bands, U2 and the
Cranberries, have been able to use some of the conflicts in Ireland to
write many inspiring songs of peace and human understanding.

Thank you, Timothy VanCampen

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