Original Earth Day Proclamation Arrives on Campus in Time for This Year’s Celebration

From Swarthmore News and Events:

Original Earth Day Proclamation Arrives on Campus in Time for This Year’s Celebration

by Mariam Zakhary ’13

April 22, 2013

Earth Day Proclamation (image)
The original Earth Day proclamation, above, was donated by the family of Earth Day originator John McConnell.

The original 1970 Earth Day Proclamation, signed by 35 international dignitaries, is now a permanent part of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, thanks to a gift from the family of its author.

“John McConnell’s work for the last 50 years helped many to connect international peace with the need to preserve the environment,” says Wendy Chmielewski, the Collection’s George R. Cooley Curator, of the holiday’s founder. “McConnell reached many world leaders, as the Earth Day Proclamation shows, but his message also inspired ordinary people around the globe.”

In 1968, McConnell, a Presbyterian minister and peace activist from Iowa, designed the Earth Day flag showing planet Earth as seen from space. He proposed the idea of Earth Day the next year in order to celebrate a peaceful planet. McConnell also authored a second proclamation, the Star of Hope, with signatures from world scientists. That doucument, as well as a large collection ofMcConnell’s papers detailing his 50-plus years of work for world peace, is also part of the Collection.

The Earth Day proclamation is a poster-sized, hand-created, and hand-colored document. Among the 35 signators are anthropologist Margaret Mead, former Senator Eugene McCarthy, Nobel Prize-winning former President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Earth Day is now celebrated internationally on the Vernal Equinox.

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is one of the most extensive research libraries and archive collections in the country that focuses solely on movements for peace. The Collection’s holdings on the environmental movement span the papers and records of numerous peace organizations and activists who have worked for the benefit of the environment during the second half of the 20th-century and beyond.

New History courses may be counted toward Peace and Conflict Studies minor

Enrollment for fall courses is coming up on Monday, and we are happy to announce that, with the hire of a new faculty member in the History department, Rosie Bsheer, three new courses may be counted toward a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Please note that the last course listed below may only be counted with special permission. See more information about special-permission courses at http://www.swarthmore.edu/academics/peace-and-conflict-studies/academic-program/courses-by-semester.xml

HIST 001N. First-Year Seminar: Oil and Empire

This course examines the political and social history of oil since the late nineteenth century, looking at oil’s impact on the rise and fall of empires, the fates of nation-states, its role in war, as well as its varied impact on social and cultural life. This course addresses global trends and processes, from Venezuela to Indonesia and the Niger Delta, but the primary focus will be on the Middle East.

Writing course.

1 credit.

Fall 2013. Bsheer.

May be counted toward a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies

HIST 017. Social Movements in the Arab World

May be counted toward a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies

HIST 006B. The Making of the Modern Middle East*

This survey course is designed at once to introduce students to the broader historical narratives and historiographical debates associated with major local, regional, and global events and processes that have most profoundly affected the political, social, cultural, and intellectual realities, past and present, of the modern Middle East. We will draw on readings from various disciplinary areas, including history, anthropology, politics, and literature.

1 credit.

Spring 2014. Bsheer.

This course can be counted toward a Peace and Conflict Studies minor with special permission.  See more information about special-permission courses at http://www.swarthmore.edu/academics/peace-and-conflict-studies/academic-program/courses-by-semester.xml

Tahrir Square
Photo: Amobasher CC license

Nimesh Ghimire ’15 Receives Davis Project for Peace Award to Strengthen Efforts in Nepal

From Swarthmore College News and Events.  See the original story at http://www.swarthmore.edu/news-and-events/nimesh-ghimire-15-receives-davis-project-for-peace-award.xml
by Erin Kelly
April 12, 2013
Peace Innovation Lab
The Peace Innovation Lab in Sahilitar, a rural village in western Nepal.

Nimesh Ghimire ’15 is the recipient of a Davis Project for Peace Award that will allow him to direct, establish, and strengthen the recently launchedPeace Innovation Lab (PIL) at Shree Gyanodaya Higher Secondary School in Sahilitar, a rural village in western Nepal. The project also includes a weeklong Peace Innovation Camp.

The award will help build on the Peace Innovation Lab model and take it to its next level, according to Ghimire.

“The Peace Innovation Lab is a creative space for young people in rural communities to come together to design, prototype, and implement interesting projects that contribute to local peace-building and grassroots innovation efforts,” says Ghimire, who is collaborating with Mahabir Pun, winner of the Ramon Magasaysay Award (commonly called the Asian Nobel Prize), to set up a wireless internet network needed to establish the peace-building projects.

According to Ghimire, the PIL will strive to encourage continued participation in Nepali peace-building affairs and assist with the rebuilding of Nepal’s public education system. One of the outcomes of the weeklong Peace Innovation Camp is that the students will come up with at least five projects for implementation in their local village over the following months.

“During the decade-long civil war, a lot of young students in rural Nepali communities were directly involved,” Ghimere says. “After the active war ended in 2006, these young students have very little or no involvement in the peace building process. PIL’s vision is to engage young people into the peace building process and leverage their creative insight into solving local (peace building) challenges.”

Ghimire adds that a complicating factor is Nepal’s “broken” public education system. “There is too much focus on rote learning and not much emphasis on innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and impact,” he says. “PIL’s vision is to promote itself as an innovation hub, integrated into the local public school, allowing young students to use the space as a place to create, tinker, explore, and connect.”

The Davis Projects for Peace awards more than $1.2 million in $10,000 grants to students who submit proposals for 2013 summer projects. The grant is named for philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis and funds projects that address conflict resolution and reconciliation, foster understanding, provide opportunity, and build community.

“This project will allow us to connect this rural corner of Nepal and the students to the global village,” Ghimiere says, “make different online resources available to the entire village as well as introduce a couple of revenue models – an internet cafe and a basic telemedicine hub – to generate some money for the Lab’s resource requirements. I want to help people launch some initiatives that will bring new energy and ideas to the prospects of peace in the world.”

The project is further supported with seed funding from Global Changemakers, a program managed by the British Council.

Swarthmore alum and Peace and Conflict Studies lecturer, Sa’ed Atshan ’06 to speak on campus

Tel-Aviv nightclubs and West Bank checkpoints: The politics of being fabulous in the Holy Land

A lecture and discussion with Sa’ed Atshan ’06, about sexuality and LGBT rights in Israel/Palestine.

Friday April 19, 2013

4:30 PM

Kohlberg 116

Swarthmore College

Sa'ed Atshan
Sa’ed Atshan and Lee Smithey at the 2012 Peace and Justice Studies Association meetings at Tufts University, where Sa’ed teaches Peace and Conflict Studies

Sa’ed Atshan is a Swarthmore Alum class of 2006, he received an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2008, and is now a lecturer of Peace and Conflict studies at Tufts University, and a joint PhD candidate in Anthropology and Middle-Eastern Studies at Harvard University. His dissertation research is on the politics of humanitarian aid provision in Palestine.





Hosted by Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine SPJP (sfpatswat@gmail.com).

Funded by the Forum for Free Speech FFS.

Roth ’84 Lecture on Human Rights and International Law

The presentation by Prof. Brad Roth ’84 that was postponed last semester is back on!

COMING TO TERMS WITH RUTHLESSNESS: Human Rights Violations, Moral Outrage, and the Role of International Law

Prof. Brad Roth '84Brad Roth ‘84

Professor of Law, Wayne State University

Thursday April 18, 2013

4:30 PM

Bond Memorial Hall

Maps and directions

The norm of non-intervention is often ignored when the U.S. and other world powers claim that respect for Sovereignty should not be a shield to protect governments that are massacring their people. But there is a danger when the norm of non-intervention that has undergirded international law is put aside: an erosion of this norm licenses the strong to pursue justice as they unilaterally understand it. An over-emphasis on international criminal justice similarly undermines the nonintervention presumption. A potential result is a “ruthlessness to end all ruthlessness,” with moralistic outrage against wrongdoers being invoked to rationalize the infliction of what can turn out to be even greater human costs.

Professor Brad Roth, Swarthmore Class of 1984, teaches political theory and international law at Wayne State University. His recent book, Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement (Oxford University Press, 2011), applies principles of political morality to the relationship between international and domestic legal authority.

Sponsored by Departments of Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, and History

Fighting Billionaires and Corrupt Officials

From our friends at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility:

Come learn how to defeat corporations with your barehands!

Next Monday, April 15, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Daniel Hunter, a training elder with Training for Change (the group that leads the Organizing Skills Institute), will join us in the Keith Room @ the Lang Center to discuss his new book “Strategy & Soul: A Campaigner’s Tale of Fighting Billionaires, Corrupt Officials and Philadelphia Casinos.”

Please RSVP for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/TheLangCenter/events. Pizza will be provided; please indicate your pizza preference when you RSVP.


FYI – From Amazon.com: “When Daniel Hunter and Jethro Heiko began planning at a kitchen table, they knew that their movement would be outspent by hundreds of millions of dollars. They were up against powerful elected officials, private investigators, hired thugs, and the state supreme court. Even before they started, newspapers concluded the movement had no chance. This riveting David versus Goliath story is a rare first-person narrative, giving unparalled access to the behind-the-scenes of campaigns: the fervent worrying in late-night meetings, yelling matches behind church benches, and last-minute action planning outside judges? chambers. It?s in the heat of these moments that the nuances of strategy come to life, showing what it takes to overpower billionaires for a cause you believe in. Written by an experienced and unusually self-reflective direct action organizer, this book might be the most enjoyable way you?ve ever empowered yourself to change the world.”

Prof. George Lakey to begin week-long fast over coal mining

As I write this, Visiting Lang Professor, George Lakey has begun a week-long fast (with only water) from April 7-13 for the people of Appalachia, with a concern for PNC Bank’s funding of mountaintop removal coal mining. This is part of a 40-day fast conducted by Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), leading up to the annual shareholders meeting in Pittsburgh.

The students of Peace Studies and Action (PEAC 077) will hold class on Tuesday at 2:45 with Professor Lakey

George Lakey EQAT

A Fast for the People of Appalachia,

with a concern for PNC Bank’s funding of mountaintop removal coal mining

 George Lakey

Week-long fast with only water, April 7-13

A Message from Professor Lakey: 

On April 7 I expect to start a week-long fast on behalf of the people of Appalachia who continue to suffer from the relentless actions that destroy their mountains, livelihoods, health, and culture.  The mining also contributes to climate change, which hurts us all.

The fast will largely be conducted at my workplace, Swarthmore College, with public opportunities to engage with students, faculty, and staff


  •  The first public event will be Monday at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 11.30-1pm.
  • The last event will be at the Swarthmore PNC Bank branch on Saturday, 10.45-12.
  • In between I will be on the first floor of Parrish each day for some period of time. Classes of students will visit me during that time as well as the
  • Swarthmore Gospel Choir singing at 8pm Thursday.

For the latest schedule email: glakey1@swarthmore.edu


This is part of a 40-day fast conducted by Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), leading up to the annual shareholders meeting in Pittsburgh.  The fast is a tool for spiritual preparation and outreach. EQAT has for three years been in dialogue with PNC Bank as well as nonviolent action which shines the light on the bank’s role as a leading funder for blowing up mountains.  EQAT plus allies will take action at the shareholders meeting.


  •  Green your money: if you bank at PNC, move it to a community bank or credit union and tell EQAT.org.  Over $3 million has already been moved.
  • Join the fast by skipping one meal or many, and tell EQAT.org.
  • Come to Pittsburgh to shine the light on PNC’s board of directors.
  • Join EQAT’s project of shadowing PNC board members when they make public appearances.
  • Research on PNC and the health effects of mountaintop removal available at EQAT.org.