Nina Balmaceda joined the Center for Reconciliation (CFR) in May as a missional strategist. Beginning next month, she will co-lead The Berean Cohort, an advanced spiritual formation course for students interested in cultivating spiritual gifts, talents, and knowledge related to God’s ministry of reconciliation as a pilgrimage of pain and hope.  

What energizes you outside of work?
Walking by big bodies of water and gardening are two of my favorite activities. They help me relax and become renewed and energized, helping me feel close to God.

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
My family and I go for a long walk in the woods in the evening when weather permits. And although I am tone-deaf, I really love listening to music.  

What’s something you saw recently that made you smile?
A bat. My husband and I, and sometimes our son Bob, see a lot of bats during our evening walks. I enjoy seeing them fly in circles over our heads, as long as they don’t follow us home.

What’s something—big or small—that you’re really good at?
I understand the art of teaching as discovering with my students. I’ve found that I can work well with my students, not only to help them understand the curriculum I have designed for them, but especially to learn new things together as we tackle key issues related to peacebuilding, transformation, and reconciliation.   

What three words would your friends use to describe you?
Hardworking, enthusiastic, and a music-lover.

What book are you reading now?
I am reading a number of things as I am preparing my new course. In particular, I am enjoying my friend Daniel Philpott’s book Just and Unjust Peace.

What’s your favorite TV show? Which season is your favorite?
The West Wing.  Seasons 2 and 7.

Are you a dog person or a cat person (or neither)?
I am neither but I definitely see a cat in my future---my husband really wants one!

What’s your favorite place to eat around here?
I am new in Durham, and due to the pandemic I have not been eating at restaurants. However, my family loves to order takeout from Mi Peru Cuisine. I recommend ceviche (if you enjoy seafood dishes) and pollo a la brasa!

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Nina Balmaceda with PHI volunteers
Nina Balmaceda, center (holding laptop), with other PHI volunteers

I have the privilege of serving with Peace and Hope International, a Christian human rights organization from Peru, my home country, dedicated to preventing and resisting violence and other forms of injustice. Since its founding in 1996, Paz y Esperanza (as it is known in Latin America) has expanded its programs to eight other countries. If I won the lottery, I would use the money to expand the mission of PHI to as many countries as possible in the Americas.