From Local Student to Global Citizen: Matthew Hahm

First published in the Summer 2017 issue of the Massachusetts Peace Action newsletter

Matthew Hahm was accustomed to hearing about war and its inevitableness, but it wasn’t until he took a certain course during his junior year as an undergraduate at Boston College that he was offered an alternative. Through his learning, peace became a possibility to him.

“That course really helped me see that one of the biggest things that we need to do is just try to imagine peace,” said Hahm. “If you believe that it’s not possible, then it will never be possible.”

The following summer, Hahm – originally from Washington state – interned with Massachusetts Peace Action, hoping to help turn around the foreign policy he realized was “wicked” and “corrupt.” The internship gave him the opportunity to attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with MAPA executive director Cole Harrison. He also went to Washington, D.C. for the Climate March and sat on a student panel at a peace convention.

“MAPA has a lot of cool opportunities for students and interns,” said Hahm. “I think what I gained the most from MAPA was knowledge. The people that work for Peace Action are extremely knowledgeable and very aware of what is going on… they dig beneath the headlines.”

During his senior year at Boston College, Hahm started a MAPA student chapter. The club hosted a nuclear weapons educational event, which gathered a sizable crowd for a new organization. After graduating this spring, Hahm left the club to grow in the hands of two co-leaders while he pursues work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Belize. For the next two years, Hahm will help with pastoral ministry work in the parish of a Belize community.

“The idea of being a global citizen is connected to my faith,” said Hahm, a student of sociology and theology. “We shouldn’t see ourselves separate from another, and we need to see how one policy here can affect other people across the world. It’s not right if we infringe on somebody else’s rights so that we can gain more as a nation.”