Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Judith McKay

Second Advisor

Claire M. Rice

Third Advisor

Toran Hansen


This study addressed a group of people called karma yogis who have been of service in the world. The population I analyzed are those assisting others in developing countries that are in communities that have been marginalized by war, political unrest, and unstable conditions. This study is an interpretative phenomenological analysis that illuminated the lived experience of karma yogis who volunteered in developing countries as peacebuilders. The research focused on understanding this group of international peacebuilders and their dedication to service which affected the social identity of the yogi. Exploring the experiences and what it meant to be an international karma yogi was at the core of this research. The theoretical underpinnings were based on Gandhian nonviolence, peace philosophies and human needs theory. A keen understanding of these international peacebuilders allowed for insight into why their philosophy is important within the field of peace studies. Three participants who are yogis were interviewed as to their experiences as peacebuilders in developing countries. The questions in this research were what is the lived experience of karma yogis as international peacebuilders? What does it mean to be an international karma yogi? What are the experiences of international karma yogis? What is the identity of the international karma yogi? Through conducting and analyzing the interviews this study revealed the lived experience of karma yogis as international peacebuilders. Defining the path of a peacebuilder, interpreting the impact of the international karma yogi, reviewing the life of service as an international karma yogi and reflecting on the identity of an international karma yogi were the main themes that addressed the questions being explored within this study.

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