The passing of Art Gish

Art Gish

Swatties will recognize this 2003 picture, which appears in our program’s promotional materials.  Some students in the program will recall reading Art Gish’s book, Hebron Journal.

Sadly, Art Gish perished in a farming accident on Wednesday.  Gish is a life-long peace activist who had an insatiable intellectual curiosity and was deeply humble, committed, and authentic about the pursuit of peace.

Both Art and his wife, Peggy, have been involved in nonviolent peacebuilding and third-party nonviolent intervention in the Middle East. In fact, Peggy is currently in Iraq.  Art began working with Christian Peacemaker Teams in 1995, and in Hebron Journal, Gish describes his personal experiences in trying to use nonviolent tactics to “get in the way” (to use CPT’s slogan) and stand with Palestinians while building relationships with settlers, police, and others across deep political, psychological, and emotional divides.

Our thoughts go out to Peggy Gish and the rest of Art’s family and friends.

John Paul Lederach interviewed on Speaking of Faith radio program

John Paul LederachSwarthmore PCS students will be familiar with the name John Paul Lederach. He is Professor of International Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame, and he is the founding director of Eastern Mennonite University’s Conflict Transformation Program and its associated Institute for Justice and Peacebuilding. Dr. Lederach has extensive experience as a peacebuilding practitioner, trainer and consultant throughout Latin America, Africa and the U.S. He has pioneered the development of elicitive methods of conflict resolution training and practice, and is a widely published theorist in both English and Spanish. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado (see bio).

Prof. Lederach was interviewed this week on the weekly radio program, Speaking of Faith.

Students who have studied in Northern Ireland or who are interested in the Northern Ireland semester will be interested to hear him address peacebuilding there at 38:30 in the interview.


The extended unedited interview is also available (recommended):


You can read Prof. Lee Smithey’s review of Lederach’s book, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, in Mennonite Quarterly Review.

Lee Smithey offers webinar on Nonviolent Strategy, Tactics, and Collective Identity

Back in March, Assistant Professor Lee Smithey offered a live internet webinar on “Nonviolent Strategy, Tactics, and Collective Identity” for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, where he is an academic advisor.  He looks at how tactical choices and their execution are closely related to the construction of collective identities in social movements. Studying collective identity has helped social movement scholars understand why people participate in collective action, but less attention has been paid to the relationships between tactical choices and collective identity. Strategies and tactics can reflect, reaffirm, or challenge collective identities. Innovative nonviolent methods can create tension as activists work to resolve what they do with who they feel they are. However, much of the power of nonviolent action lies in the ways tactics and methods leverage culture by tapping into identities that demarcate or crosscut movements, opponents, allies, and by-standing publics.

Nonviolent Strategy, Tactics, and Collective Identity – Lee Smithey (Webinar) from ICNC on Vimeo.

Peace Collection Wins Film Preservation Grant

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection was recently awarded a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation that will support the copying and preservation of five films documenting mid-20th century nonviolent movements. Created by members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), the oldest religious, pacifist organization in the U.S., the films examine the philosophy on nonviolence, present different examples of successful nonviolent resistance, and contain footage of anti-nuclear demonstrations in 1959 and 1960.

Read the full story by Alex Weintraub ’11

FOR leader AJ Muste (in hat) on July 1, 1959, at the Mead Misslie Base as part of the Omaha Action, a series of civil disobedience events to protest above ground testing of atomic and hydrogen bombs.