Watch: Theresa Williamson ’97 Offers a Glimpse into Rio’s Favelas

From Swarthmore College News and Information
August 17, 2016

Today: Santa Marta: Matt Lauer tours of one of Rio de Janeiro’s oldest favelas

The 2016 summer Olympics has turned the world’s attention to life in Rio de Janeiro. The city is surrounded by over 1,000 favela communities, which have come to be synonymous with poverty and crime. However, Theresa Williamson ’97 says that while education, health, and sanitation remain to be the top three demands of the people in favelas, the favelas provide a vibrant community for those who live there.

Williamson founded and serves as executive director for Catalytic Communities, a nonprofit organization that is working to destigmatize Rio de Janeiro’s favela communities and integrate them into the wider society. Since its founding in 2000, Catalytic Communities has provided communications, networking, and training support to leaders in the favela communities.

Williamson graduated from Swarthmore with a special major in biological anthropology and a minor in peace and conflict studies. She received her Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Enforced Disappearance and Ayotzinapa Testimonials

From our friends at Haverford College:

Talk: “Enforced Disappearance and Ayotzinapa Testimonials” By Paula Mónaco Felipe and John Gibler

Tuesday, October 4

Multicultural Center (Stokes Hall 106)

From dozens of books already published about Ayotzinapa’s disappeared students, John Gibler’s An Oral History of Infamy. The attacks against Ayotzinapa student’s (Spanish) and Paula Mónaco’s Ayotzinapa: Eternal Hours (Spanish) are by far the more accurate, mindful and committed to human rights. Writers will be addressing issues of violations of human rights, ethics and journalism in Latin America and Mexico. Live streaming 4:30PM (EST).

Paula Mónaco Felipe, journalist and writer, joined at a very young age the organization HIJOS (Sons and Daughters for Identity, Justice and Against Oblivion and Silence). As a daughter of disappeared people in Argentina under the dictatorship, Mónaco has been an activist for human rights in Argentina and Mexico. Her recent book Las horas eternas (2015) recovers the identity of 43 disappeared students, their families and their lives before they were taken away by the state. She has collaborated with different journals in Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, as well as she has been correspondent for TeleSur. She also has participated in audiovisual productions for Al Jazeera, TeleSur and Encuentro Channel in Argentina.

John Gibler, journalist and writer, has been reporting last decades about social movements and politics in Mexico. His major non fiction works are: Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt (2009), To Die in Mexico: Dispatches From Inside the Drug War (2011), Tzompantle La fuga de un guerrillero (2014), and his last book Una historia oral de la infamia (2016). Gibler has been working in human rights and social justice organizations in California, Peru and Mexico, he has taught in Hampshire College and University of California at San Diego (La Jolla), as well as he has delivered talks in various universities in US, Canada, Colombia, and Mexico.

For info on both events, contact Assistant Professor of Spanish at Haverford College, Aurelia Gómez Unamuno

Sponsored by Department of Spanish, Distinguished Visitors Program, and the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship.

Visit our blog:

On Anti-Semitism – Rabbi Alex Weissman

Rabbi Alex-WeismanThe Peace and Conflict Studies program will host Rabbi Alex Weissman to speak on Anti-Semitism here at Swarthmore next week.

“On Anti-Semitism”

Rabbi Alex Weissman
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Tuesday, September 27
Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema

Sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies, History, the Intercultural Center, the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Philosophy, Religion, and Sociology/Anthropology

Swarthmore to ring bells on International Day of Peace

In celebration of Peace Day 2016, International Day of Peace, at noon on Wednesday, September 21st, Swarthmore College bells will ring in solidarity with the ringing of bells for peace worldwide.

The United Nations Association of Australia Peace Program initiated the ringing of the peace bells worldwide last year on Peace Day. Bells around the world will sound alongside of bells of Sydney University, St Jones Cathedral located in Brisbane Australia and St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney CBD.

There is strength in unity and the sound of peace bells ringing throughout the world will focus on the importance of peace in our lives.

Swarthmore Bell Tower

Peace Day, also known as International Day of Peace, was brought into being by the United Nations Resolutions in 1981 and 2001. Millions of people worldwide and thousands of organizations across the globe now actively observe Peace Day on and around September 21. For more local events see

Choose Peace Concert

Listen to and Sing Songs of Peace

Also, on Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 7:30-9:00 p.m., a “Choose Peace Concert” will be held at the Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse on the Swarthmore College campus.
This event is free and open to the public.

What is visionary peace and what are the choices we can make to live our lives into such a possibility? We are invited to explore linking the cultivation of personal peace to identifying innovative steps toward global peace through song with Rev. Rhetta Morgan, singer, songwriter, interfaith minister, and activist. These events are sponsored by the Swarthmore College Peace and Conflict Studies Program. Please contact Ellen Ross, Coordinator, Peace and Conflict Studies, eross1, if you have any questions.

Off Campus Study: HECUA Democracy and Social Change in Northern Ireland

Information Session

Monday, October 3
Sharples Room 208
Noon – 1pm

Meet Resident Director Nigel Glenny, and HECUA Director of Operations, Patrick Mulvihill

This study abroad program is offered in both fall and spring semesters.

Swarthmore deadline for spring semester applicants: October 7
Deadline for fall semester applicants: February 20

hecua_2016Program Description:  In 1969, society in Northern Ireland was torn by violent conflict that erupted from issues relating to civic, social, and political differences. Today, Northern Ireland offers an example of the vast dimensions of transition from conflict to democracy. Students in this study abroad program examine the historical, political and religious roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the prospects for peace, and the progress being made. Through readings, lectures, discussions, internships, group and independent study projects and field experiences this program invites interaction with people involved in social change. The program explores theoretical approaches to understanding conflict and its transformation as well as the processes underway in Northern Ireland to create a sustainable democracy.

Field seminars focus on human rights, equality, conflict transformation, and education for democracy, and help students see in action the tools used to transform conflict. A seven-week, nearly full-time internship in Londonderry/Derry allows students to participate directly in efforts toward a peaceful future. Diverse perspectives at the internship help students understand the progress of peace and analyze the cultural strengths, traditions, and resources available for building a sustainable and inclusive democracy. Internship sites ultimately provide an opportunity to do meaningful work that makes a difference. Some organizations are grassroots with a local focus, while others are international in scope. Finally, each student carries out an independent study project on a topic of her/his choice, which includes field research.

HECUA partners with the University of Ulster, which has campuses throughout the country. Classes are held at the University of Ulster at Magee with field study and internships in selected regions of Northern Ireland. The program is affiliated with INCORE, the International Conflict Research Institute on the University’s Magee campus in Londonderry/Derry.

Students spend the first five weeks taking core seminars at the University of Ulster at Magee. All students will be provided with a private room during this initial program module. During the seven-week internship at the center of the semester, students will live in a student village in Derry/Londonderry and share living/common space with other students.

Swarthmore is a member of the HECUA Consortium. HECUA

Choose Peace Concert

Celebrate the International Day of Peace

Choose Peace Concert

September 21, 2016, Wednesday, 7:30-9:00 pm
Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse
Swarthmore College (directions)

What is visionary peace and what are the choices we can make to live our lives into such a possibility? We are invited to explore linking the cultivation of personal peace to identifying innovative steps toward global peace through song and writings with Rev. Rhetta Morgan, singer, songwriter, interfaith minister, and activist.

Rev. Rhetta Morgan

There will be a time for some audience members to read a quotation about peace that has deepened the meaning of peace for you, that has changed your life, or that has opened or broadened your thinking about or experience of peace. Or you may like to share a poem about peace or a brief paragraph about peace that you have written.  To help with the planning, please send your name and what you’d like to read to Ellen Ross at eross1, by September 16th so that we can arrange the reading order.  Many thanks!

Rev. Rhetta Morgan is Founder of the While We Wait Project sponsored by a Leeway Art for Change grant. The Project provides spiritual and emotional support to loved ones of incarcerated individuals. She has facilitated conversations on race and healing for the Interfaith Peace Walk and other organizations. She recently performed for the Leeway + Bread and Roses Town Hall on Incarceration and Gender, using her voice to create inclusive sacred space. Rev. Rhetta performs and works with Girls Rock Philadelphia, an organization that supports and empowers girls and young women. She has worked with Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Philly Thrive as both musical leader and spiritual anchor. Rev. Rhetta mentors and counsels activist leaders in our area, encouraging self-care and what she calls a spiritual tool box to aid against despair, overwhelm and depression. A leader in the Philadelphia area, Rev. Rhetta uses music she writes and sings to inspire and heal.

Sponsored by Peace & Conflict Studies

For other International Peace Day Events in the Philadelphia area, see Peace Day Philly.



Memorial to the Lost

The Memorial to the Lost will be displayed on the lower part of Parrish lawn on the  Swarthmore campus from September 18 – October 2.

Memorial to the LostThe Memorial is a T-shirt display that represents gun deaths right here in Delaware County from 2011-2015. There are 153 T-shirts, each bearing the name of an individual killed by gun violence, the date of death, and their age when they died.

Members of the college community are invited to help install the Memorial on Sunday, September 18, beginning at 4 pm. All are encouraged to walk by the Memorial at any time,  read the names, hold them in memory, and reflect on the toll that gun violence takes in innocent lives every day.

The Memorial is sponsored by Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence,  a faith-based and grassroots movement. Headquartered in Philadelphia with chapters in Pennsylvania and neighboring states, Heeding seeks to bring faithful and public pressure to end gun violence in our homes, communities and nation.

Co-sponsored by Swarthmore Students for Sensible Gun Policy, the Interfaith Center, and the President’s Office.

Peter Singer on Effective Altruism and Ethics (at Haverford)

Peter Singer on Effective Altruism and Ethics (at Haverford)

From our friends at Haverford College:

On Thursday, September 15, at 7:30 pm in Founders Great Hall (note this change of venue) at Haverford College, Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, will present a talk about Effective Altruism and its present development. Effective Altruism is a philosophical and social movement which applies evidence and reason to determine the most effective ways to improve the world..

**Students and faculty who wish to have priority seating at the main event are encouraged to fill out this form. A limited amount of seating is available.**

Peter Singer

On Friday, September 16, at 4:30 PM in Stokes Auditorium (Stokes 131) at Haverford College, there will be a panel on “Ethics and the Ethicist: Perspectives on Peter Singer” featuring the following guests and short talks, with time for open conversation to follow. You do *not* have to have attended Singer’s talk to enjoy this panel (and vice versa).

“The Nonhuman Life You Could Save: A Critical Engagement with Peter Singer’s Support of Humane Meat”: Vasile Stanescu, Assistant Professor of Communication and Theater Arts, Mercer University

“Lives Not Worth Saving? Singer, Disability, and the Limits of Logic”: Kristin Lindgren, Director of College Writing Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing, Haverford

“Competing Ethical Claims: Singer, Global Poverty, and a Defense of Local Food”: Samantha Noll, Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace, Justice, and Human Rights, Haverford

“Effective Altruism, Ineffective Imagination? Education, Social Change, and ‘Making a Difference’”: Eric Hartman, Director of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, Haverford

The panel is open to the public. Sponsored by the Concentration in Peace, Justice, and Human Rights.
For more information, contact Professor Adam Rosenblatt,