Israel/Palestine Film Series – Fall Semester 2015

The Peace and Conflict Studies program invites you to an Israel/Palestine Film Series this semester.

All six screenings will be held on Wednesdays at 4:15pm in the Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC) Cinema. (Directions)

The screenings are open to the public and faculty, staff, administrators, students, and local community members are welcome to attend. A brief moderated discussion will follow each film.

A trailer for each film is available below.

IsraelPalestine Film Series Fall 2015

September 16

Frontiers of Dreams and Fears

Palestinian filmmaker traces the pen-pal relationship between Palestinian teenage girls in Bethlehem and Beirut refugee camps.

September 23

The Flat

Israeli filmmaker discovers the history of his grandparents who previously had a relationship with a high ranking Nazi officer.

September 30

The War Around Us

American filmmaker follows the only two international journalists who covered the 2009 Israel-Hamas War in Gaza.

October 7


Israeli filmmaker documents a group of Israeli and Palestinian children meeting for the first time in and around Jerusalem.

October 21

Paradise Now

Palestinian filmmaker produces this Academy Award-nominated fiction film examining the final hours before two Palestinian friends prepare to commit acts of violence in Tel Aviv.

November 4

Eyes Wide Open

Israeli filmmaker produces this breathtaking fiction film examining a love affair between two Orthodox Jewish men in Jerusalem.

Sponsored by Swarthmore Peace and Conflict Studies

Historic marker placed in memory of Mildred Scott Olmsted

by Wendy Chmielewski, Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

On September 13, 2015, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission unveiled a historic marker in nearby Rose Valley, PA to honor Mildred Scott Olmsted.


Mildred Scott Olmsted, who lived most of her long life in Delaware County, was a leading figure in twentieth century social reform movements-women’s rights, civil rights, birth control, and especially the peace movement.  Olmsted (1890-1990), was best remembered as the leading voice of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in the U.S. for over forty years, leading that organization through the years of the creation of the United Nations, the Cold War, the civil rights movement, fears over the spread of Communism,  protests against atomic weapons and civil defense, protests against the Vietnam war, and the rise of the women rights movement.

Mildred Scott Olmsted
[Swarthmore College Peace Collection.]

As a young woman, fresh out of Smith College, in 1912, Mildred Scott entered the new field of social work.  She volunteered with the YMCA, the Red Cross, and the  American Friends Service Committee providing relief services in France and Germany in the aftermath of World War I Europe to assist in .  The devastation and suffering she found in Europe convinced Mildred to become a life-long pacifist and active worker for the cause of peace.  In 1922, Olmsted became Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She assumed additional responsibilities in 1934 when she became National Organization Secretary of WILPF, U.S. Section. In 1946, Olmsted became National Administrative Secretary and she held that position until her “retirement” in 1966. She remained Executive Director Emerita of WILPF and was active almost to the very end of her life at 99.

Olmsted with Joan Baez, about 1975.

While she was best known for her leadership in WILPF, Mildred Scott Olmsted served many organizations. She was on the Board of Philadelphia SANE-against nuclear weapons, Promoting Enduring Peace, the Upland Institute of Crozer Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, vice-chairman of the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union, and representative to the United Nations Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, among others.  An early leader in the birth control movement, Olmsted helped set up the first clinic in the Philadelphia area. She championed the causes of women’s suffrage, civil liberties, the protection of animals, and conservation of natural resources. Her hobbies included gardening, travel, antiques, and historic preservation.

In 1987 Swarthmore College presented Olmsted with an honorary doctorate degree, as several other institutions, including her alma mater Smith. She was honored on numerous occasions by WILPF and received its first Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986.

Olmsted resided for most of her life in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. She was a member of the Society of Friends and attended the Providence (Media, PA) Meeting where she served as clerk. She was a member of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Committee on Reorganization in 1973 and 1974 and also served on the Executive Committee of the Peace Education Committee of the American Friends Service Committee.

The Mildred Scott Olmsted Papers and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section Records are available at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Peace symbol atop Parrish Hall?

By Christopher Densmore, Curator, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College.

The weather vane atop Parrish Hall is in the shape of a feather.

People with sharp eyes may have noticed that the feather has been
fashioned into a quill pen. This is easier to see in the old Parrish
Hall weathervane mounted on the wall on the center staircase of Parrish Hall between the first and second floor.

Weathervane in Parrish Hall

This earlier weathervane was replaced by another (maybe the current version) in the 1930s. For an institution of higher learning, a quill pen seems quite appropriate. However, there is a possible additional reference. It may be a reference to William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. If this is the case, it is also a peace symbol, referencing William Penn’s treaties with the Indians.

The following is from a 1798 letter to the Six Nations (the

“To our Indians Brethren of the six Nations Brothers; We rejoice that you are now at peace and we pray to the Good Spirit that he may continue to preserve you from the miseries of war, We have always had your welfare at heart, ever since our Grandfather, Onas came into this country; and the present time appears to us to be a favourable one, again, to manifest our unalterable friendship for you We cannot forget the harmony that subsisted between our forefathers and the Indians during the first settlement of this country.”

The Haudenosaunee referred to William Penn as Onas, their word for feather, and by extension, a feather quill pen.

At least this is more likely than the story appearing in the Phoenix in
1941, claiming that the feather was from the golden phoenix, dropped when that bird took flight from Swarthmore following his/her rebirth in fire.

Ethical Loneliness – New Book by Jill Stauffer

Congratulations to our colleague, Dr. Jill Stauffer, Director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at Haverford College on the publication of her new book!

Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard

Ethical_LonelinessEthical loneliness is the experience of being abandoned by humanity, compounded by the cruelty of wrongs not being heard. It is the result of multiple lapses on the part of human beings and political institutions that, in failing to listen well to survivors, deny them redress by negating their testimony and thwarting their claims for justice.

Jill Stauffer examines the root causes of ethical loneliness and how those in power revise history to serve their own ends rather than the needs of the abandoned. Out of this discussion, difficult truths about the desire and potential for political forgiveness, transitional justice, and political reconciliation emerge. Moving beyond a singular focus on truth commissions and legal trials, she considers more closely what is lost in the wake of oppression and violence, how selves and worlds are built and demolished, and who is responsible for re-creating lives after they are destroyed.

Jill StaufferStauffer boldly argues that rebuilding worlds and just institutions after violence is a broad obligation and that those who care about justice must first confront their own assumptions about autonomy, liberty, and responsibility before an effective response to violence can take place. In building her claims, Stauffer draws on the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Améry, Eve Sedgwick, and Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as concrete cases of justice and injustice across the world.

Jill Stauffer is associate professor of philosophy and director of the concentration in peace, justice, and human rights at Haverford College. She is the coeditor (with Bettina Bergo) of Nietzsche and Levinas: “After the Death of a Certain God” and has published widely on issues of responsibility within and beyond legality.


Celebrating Peace Day with Northern Ireland

It has become our tradition in Peace and Conflict Studies to join Peace Day Philly and celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21 each year.

This year, we will celebrate with Northern Ireland as they hold a gala event in Belfast City Hall. The youth organization, Public Achievement, have organized a stellar night of bands and speakers that they will broadcast live via the internet from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. EST.

As you buy a coffee or pass through Kohlberg Coffee Bar on Friday September 21, stop by the Peace Day table to watch the broadcast (or stop back by this blog post, where we hope to embed the livestream).

You will have the opportunity to tweet a selfie with a message about what peace means to you, some of which will appear on a large screen in Belfast City Hall during the event. (In fact, you can do that anytime! Print this out, and tweet a photo using #peacedayni)

Peace Day Northern Ireland poster

We have sent a brief video greeting to the organizers.

International Day of Peace 2015 – Video message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


You can follow an aggregated Twitter feed containing all tweets that include #peacedayni, #peacedayphilly, @peacedayphilly, or @peacefestni

peacefestni greeting peaceday 2015

Follow #peaceday on tagboard!

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, to speak at Swarthmore College

“Women in Peace and Conflict:  Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”

A panel discussion with Jody Williams (1997 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative), and Wendy E. Chmielewski, George R. Cooley Curator, Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Moderated by Marjorie Murphy, James C. Hormel Professor in Social Justice

Date: September 28, 2015
Place:  Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College (Directions)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Open to the public, Reception to follow

Jody WilliamsJody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year. At that time, she became the 10th woman – and third American woman – in its almost 100-year history to receive the Prize.  Since her protests of the Vietnam War, she has been a life-long advocate of freedom, self-determination and human and civil rights.

Williams chairs the Nobel Women’s Initiative and from 1992 she oversaw the growth of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines to over 1,300 organizations in 95 countries working to eliminate antipersonnel landmines. In an unprecedented cooperative effort with governments, UN bodies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, she served as a chief strategist and spokesperson for the ICBL as it dramatically achieved its goal of an international treaty banning antipersonnel landmines during a diplomatic conference held in Oslo in September 1997. Since 1998, Williams has also served as a Campaign Ambassador for the ICBL.

She holds the Sam and Cele Keeper Endowed Professorship in Peace and Social Justice at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston where she has been teaching since 2003.  In academic year 2012-2013, she became the inaugural Jane Addams Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Social Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Her memoir on life as a grassroots activist, My Name is Jody Williams:  A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize was released by the University of California Press in early 2013.

Wendy ChmielewskiWendy E.  Chmielewski is the George R. Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, a position she has held sine 1988.  Trained as a historian, she has specialized in the history of women, social movements, and social reform.  Chmielewski received her Phd in American History from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1989, and her dissertation explored issues of feminism and women’s roles in U.S. communal societies and utopian literature of the nineteenth century.    Parts of this work were published in a volume she co-edited Women in Spiritual and Communitarian Societies in the United States, Syracuse University Press, 1993. Chmielewski has since published several articles, essays, and books on the history of women, peace, and communal societies, with her most recent publication being a co-edited volume on Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Jane Addams: Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy, edited by Marilyn Fischer, Carol Nackenoff, and Wendy Chmielewski, University of Illinois Press, 2009.

Chmielewski’s most recent projects include work on  the role women played in both the in the nineteenth century British and American peace movement.   She is also one of the founders and directors of “Her Hat Was in the Ring:  U.S. Women Elected to Political Office Before 1920,” <>, a digital humanities project tracing over 5,000 women who campaigned for elective office before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote.  For her work on this continuing project Chmielewski received two fellowships in 2013-2014 from the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center on Women and Politics at Iowa State University.

Chmielewski has worked on the board of several institutions, including the Archives Committee of the American Friends Service Committee, the Communal Studies Association, the Centre for Peace History at the University of Sheffield, and the Peace History Society.  From 2002-2004 she was the president of the PHS.    In 2014 Chmielewski was invited to join the Advisory Council for the American Museum for Peace.  She has also served on the board of her local public library in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.

Marjorie MurphyMarjorie Murphy teaches courses on U.S. history, especially in the fields of working-class history, women and gender, and foreign affairs. Her other scholarly interest are in the history of the teachers union and educational reform.

Murphy earned her Ph.D. in History at the University in California at Davis in 1981, under the guidance of David Brody. She taught at Loyola College and Bryn Mawr College before coming to Swarthmore in 1983. Professor Murphy’s book, Blackboard Unions, came out in 1991.

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Peace and Conflict Studies, Swarthmore College
President’s Office, Swarthmore College

(Williams’ bio was adapted from the website of the Nobel Women’s Initiative.)

Welcoming Professors Buiza and Levin

We extend hearty welcomes to Prof. Nanci Buiza in the Spanish program, who is joining the Peace and Conflict Studies steering committee AND Prof. Andrew Levin in the Department of Political Science.

Prof. Levin is teaching POLS 004 International Politics and POLS 052 International Conflict Resolution: Prospects and Pitfalls.

If you see Prof. Buiza or Prof. Levin on campus (or in class!), welcome them!

Visiting Lang Professor Denise Crossan Touts Social Entrepreneurship

By Ryan Dougherty
September 9th, 2015
Swarthmore College website

Dr. Denise CrossanIs social entrepreneurship an oxymoron?

It has been for many philanthropists, who worry that building a business model will compromise their mission, and for businesspersons who deem the social part too “touchy feely.” But that’s changing, says Denise Crossan.

“Increasingly, I have students and community members coming to me saying, ‘I have this great business idea, and it’s also going to address a societal problem,’” she says. “There’s definitely space for both.”

Crossan will navigate students through that space as the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change this year, responding to a budding interest in doing well and doing good.

“There’s real appetite from students here who want to be engaged in giving back to society through sustainable enterprise,” she says. “It’s about building an organization that makes money that can be reinvested into social purpose or impact.”

Crossan is offering two courses this year through the Peace and Conflict Studies program. This fall, she is teaching a class on what social entrepreneurship is and how to engage in it. In the spring, she will teach a course she calls “finding your inner social entrepreneur,” targeting students who have identified a social issue to which they would like to apply a business model.

“It’s about giving them the space to convert their idea into a viable, sustainable enterprise that creates measurable social change,” says Crossan, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

“If anyone wants to have a conversation about their research or interests or work that might potentially spin out into social entrepreneurship and wants to come talk with me, I’d be delighted,” she says.

Crossan comes to Swarthmore from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Business, where she was appointed assistant professor of social entrepreneurship — the first post of its kind in Ireland — in 2009. However, it was her background as community business advisor for the European Union Program for Peace & Reconciliation that helped pave her way to Swarthmore.

John Van Til ’61, professor emeritus of urban studies and community planning at Rutgers University, Camden, was one of Crossan’s external examiners for her Ph.D. Noting her deep knowledge of community organizations in Northern Ireland, he mentioned that Swarthmore was looking for someone to set up a study abroad program there. Crossan’s discussions with Steven Piker, former professor of anthropology and advisor to the Off-Campus Study Office, and Rosa Bernard, assistant director of the Off-Campus Study Office, yielded a successful Northern Ireland Program based in Derry and Belfast that has sent 12 Swarthmore students to study peace and reconciliation with Trinity College students since 2005.

Visiting Swarthmore’s campus each year, Crossan developed admiration for the people and purpose of the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility.

“I thought, ‘We need the Lang Center in Ireland,’” she says. “They inspired me to work toward setting up the Trinity Centre for Social Engagement [pdf], which will foster social innovation and entrepreneurial action and help us to understand meaningful engagement in society.”

Crossan also sits on a panel of experts in social entrepreneurship for the European Commission, whose responsibilities include advising the commission on the development of the Social Business Initiative across the European Union. She is creating a digital map of social enterprise and eager to engage Swarthmore students in mapping social entrepreneurship in Philadelphia and beyond.

Before she could outline her academic plans for the coming year, though, Crossan had to overcome what she called the “information overload” of re-locating to the U.S.: “new house, new job, new car, new I.D.”

But since she was born and spent the first 10 years of her life in Ohio, it’s not all new.

“Things that I remember from when I was little are coming back to me,” she says. “It’s the small things, like the sounds of people cutting their grass at night or the bugs in the trees.”

And she already feels at home in the Swarthmore community.

“They’re just the most engaged and incredibly deep-thinking group of individuals you could possibly meet,” she says. “Even better, it comes without judgment. It’s an incredible institution with fabulous thinkers, which is also very humble, open to new thoughts and people and contributions. That, I absolutely love.”