Carmel man advocates for peace-minded leadership


By Desiree Williams

Konye Obaji Ori spends his time investigating, analyzing and offering solutions to social and political conflicts around the world. Through his work, Obaji wants to encourage others to become peace agents or problem-solvers.

“My hope is that you can see things differently, think differently and recognize your capacity and agency to contribute to resolution,” he said.

Obaji said he was always interested in social and political conflicts, and he wanted to understand why conflict occurs. While studying at the University of Indianapolis campus in Athens, Greece, Obaji received a speech and debate scholarship that brought him to the home campus in Indianapolis in 2010. He competed on the speech and debate team there while studying political science and communication. Obaji pursued a master’s degree in rhetoric from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

“I began to study communications, because I came to understand that we can talk ourselves into war, so it stands to reason that we can also talk ourselves out of war,” he said.

After graduating, Obaji became a professor at Independence Community College in Kansas and director of the Eisenhower Institute for Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. As director, he teaches students how to use critical thinking and analysis to resolve issues peacefully. Obaji teaches online classes and returns to Kansas once a month for directorship duties.

He also co-leads The Obaji Group, a coaching and consulting firm helps corporate leaders facilitate projects and innovate when dealing with diversity.

“If you have a peace-minded approach to looking at things, you see solutions when it’s difficult,” he said. “You see breakthroughs when it seems to be a blockage.”

In the future, Obaji said he wants to help Carmel host to an annual international summit that fosters peaceful dialogue among diverse individuals.

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Get to know Konye

Age: 32

Birthplace: Nigeria

Favorite hobby:  Playing and watching soccer

Favorite local restaurant: Fresh Indian Grill

Favorite vacation spot: Greek Islands

Favorite piece of advice: Be kind


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