"Building a Culture of Peace" featured a panel discussion, video from the frontline of wars and workshops on peace-building strategies.
“Building a Culture of Peace,” a well-attended program at Adelphi University’s Manhattan Center campus, featured a panel discussion, video footage from the frontline of wars and workshops on peace-building strategies. The February 7, 2015 event was part of Adelphi’s yearlong series, The Changing Nature of War and Peace.
“The planning committee was concerned that so much of the programming this year emphasized the aspects of war and conflict without offering ways to address them or prevent them from happening,” said Devin Thornburg, Ph.D., a professor in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education and coordinator of the four-hour event. “The forum allowed for that focus by providing a panel and workshops with very wise and experienced peace educators and helping professionals.”
Solutions to war and conflict were offered throughout the panel discussion.
“Social justice would obviate the need for war—an emphasis on social justice, love and hope is part of what I call organic peace,” said Betty Reardon, Ed.D., founder and director of the Peace Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. “The values of war are embedded in patriarchy. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to accept and perpetuate those values.”
“Professors should incorporate peace studies into their curricula no matter what subjects they teach,” added panelist Cora Weiss, president of the Hague Appeal for Peace and former president and current United Nations representative for the International Peace Bureau.
Paraphrasing Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani education activist and youngest Noble Prize laureate, Weiss said, “Instead of guns, bring books. Instead of bombs, bring pens. Instead of soldiers, bring teachers.”
Weiss praised Adelphi for offering a minor in peace studies. “A culture of peace will be achieved,” she said, “when citizens truly understand global problems.”
Veteran journalist and filmmaker Jon Alpert aided the audience’s understanding by showing videos he shot on the frontline of wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Iraq and Afghanistan. The videos graphically displayed the human casualties of war while also emphasizing such root causes as poverty, lack of education and ethnic and gender discrimination.
Workshop topics included strategies for peace building; gendered perspectives on trauma in times of war; intergenerational repetition in the reproduction of family conflict; multiple routes for coexistence, reconciliation and peace; and Project Common Bond, an international program for children touched by terrorism.
Rita Agyapong and Karrine Samuels, graduate students in Adelphi’s School of Social Work, attended the Project Common Bond workshop.
“It’s helpful to have so many people coming together to offer solutions to world problems,” said Agyapong, a native of Far Rockaway, New York.
“I’m glad there are organizations working to help people locally, nationally and internationally,” added Samuels, a Jamaica, New York, resident.
One such organization is Global Kids. Kevin Murungi, director of human rights and foreign policy, was a panelist. “By teaching young people to become leaders on issues ranging from police misconduct to climate change and environmental justice, we’re working to end the violence against people and our planet,” he said.
Carole Artigiani, a former Sarah Lawrence College professor of history and women’s studies and the wife of Robert A. Scott, president of Adelphi, founded Global Kids in 1989. She and Dr. Scott attended the Manhattan Center program.
“Peace is not simply the absence of war, but also a positive context for treating each other with respect and fostering fairness, equity and opportunity,” Dr. Scott said. “Those are the positive aspects of a society that can indeed be peaceful.”
Events in The Changing Nature of War and Peace series are scheduled through May.
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