All posts by Lee Smithey

Davis Project for Peace Grant Awarded to Two First-Year Students

by Stacey Kutish


(original release by Swarthmore College)

Swarthmore College first-year students Joshua Cockroft and Kimberly St. Julian have been awarded a Davis Project for Peace grant for their proposal to develop sanitation and hygiene practices in rural Madagascar. The $10,000 grant will enable them to travel to Madagascar this summer where they will work with a community to build pit latrines away from potable water sources, engage in a community education project about hygiene and sanitation practices, and conduct research on the culture of peace in Madagascar.

The Davis Project for Peace program, in its third year, is made possible by Kathryn Wasserman Davis, an accomplished internationalist and philanthropist. Mrs. Davis launched the program on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007. Designed to encourage and support motivated youth to create and implement their ideas for building peace throughout the world in the 21st century; each of the 100 projects selected received $10,000 in funding.

Joshua Cockroft '12Joshua Cockroft ’12

Joshua Cockroft of Lafayette, Colo. plans to major in political science and minor in peace and conflict studies and environmental studies. “This experience will give great insight into my academic interests,” he says. “As part of our grant, we will study the ethnically diverse culture of Madagascar that has predominantly managed to peacefully coexist for over a thousand years without much ethnic conflict. This grant will give us the opportunity to work in a culture entirely different from our own, doing something to help where the results of our work can be seen directly.”

Kimberly St. Julian '12Kimberly St. Julian ’12

Kimberly St. Julian from Dayton, Texas, plans to major in history, with minors in political science and peace and conflict studies. “Before Swarthmore, I never had the opportunity to really delve into my interests in social work and human rights and put them into action to benefit others,” she says. “This grant will afford me with the opportunity to put my passion for helping others into action. I have never been out of the country so this will be an eye-opening experience for me in every possible way.”

During their stay in Madagascar, Cockroft and St. Julian will live in the village where they will be working. The pair intends to write about their experiences with the Malagasy people and their culture, in particular studying how a community with so much ethnic diversity has managed to live in peace.

Conflict Education through Student Journalism

Emily Hagar ’10 has contributed an essay to the Harvard Educational Review about her experience as a War News Radio journalist. A brief excerpt follows below. You may read an adaptation of the essay on the Swarthmore College website.


It is one o’clock in the morning, and all I want to do is go to bed. I’ve been at War News Radio since 11:30 p.m., trying to get through to Afghanistan to do an interview with Shukria Barakzai, one of the first female Afghan politicians. But it’s Eid al-Fitr, a holiday, and all the working phone lines in Afghanistan are tied up with people calling their family and friends to celebrate. I dial the number on the phone card, wait, and dial the number I have for Ms. Barakzai.

Emily HagarFinally, the phone rings and she picks up. “Is this still an alright time for you to do the interview?” I ask. And from the other side of the world, she says yes. For her, it’s 10:30 a.m., a normal hour to work. As we talk, she tells me about her experiences as a politician and as a woman, her concerns about Afghanistan’s elections next year, her frustration with the corruption she sees in the Afghan government, and her hopes for the future of her country. In listening to her stories, all of my own frustrations-with the late hour, with the nonfunctional phone lines, with the recording equipment-melt away, and I remember why I am still here in the recording booth at War News Radio, even at one o’clock in the morning.? … Read more

Filmmaker Spiro shows tragic wounds of ‘War’

Last Friday at LPAC, the Film and Media Studies Department and War News Radio hosted Ellen Spiro and her documentary “Body of War.” “Body of War” is a documentary co-directed by Spiro and Phil Donahue that chronicles the story of Iraq-war veteran Tomas Young as he deals with his disability. After only five days in Iraq, Young suffered a shot through his collarbone and spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. The film juxtaposes the story of his life as a disabled person with the series of decisions that led to the war in Iraq. … Read the full story by Isaac Han in the April 16, 2009 edition of The Phoenix.

Swarthmore STAND to sponsor events on genocide

Several events sponsored by Swarthmore’s chapter of STAND are coming up!

April 9th – Swarthmore College will host French filmmaker Fabienne Le Houerou speak about “The impact of the decision of the International Court of Justice to arrest the Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir on the Darfurian refugees perspective” and see part of her documentary film from Darfur. Her website:

Stay tuned for more events…

April 14th – a panel on the ICC. DRP will also be airing some of their clips and serving Ethiopian food.

April 30th- some Lost Boys from the area will be coming to speak

May 1st – we are partnering with Hillel and Ruach for Holocaust Memorial Day.

5th Annual Tri-Co Peace Week: Refugees and issues of human rights during conflict

This year is the 5th annual Tri-Co Peace Week (April 8-11, 2009), bringing you events designed to inspire students at Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford, Colleges to think critically and in new ways about the struggles for and between violence and peace, about their personal relationship with these concepts, and about how they themselves can cause or promote change. The theme for this year is “refugees” and “issues of human rights during a conflict”.


Wednesday, April 8

Die-in Demonstration

A Die In is a form of protest in which participants simulate being dead by lying still on the ground. Peace Week is hosting this type of demonstration to represent the refugees of Bhutan, Palestine, Darfur, and the Congo who will die if the international community does not take immediate action to help them. This demonstration will help spread awareness of global conflicts that have left millions of innocent people displaced and at serious risk.

VENUE: Swarthmore College, Parrish Walk Way 12:30 p.m.


Gandhi – Richard Attenborough – 1982 – 188 min

This film describes the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political leader who managed to free his country from the British rule using peaceful means and thus giving hope and inspiration for generations to come. Refreshments will be provided at the screening.

VENUE: Bryn Mawr College – Thomas 110 7:30 pm


The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo – Lisa Jackson (76 minutes)

Shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this extraordinary film sensitively yet unflinchingly brings to light the plight of women and girls caught in that country’s intractable conflicts. A survivor of rape herself, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why.

The film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians, and even the indifferent rapists. But the most remarkable moments of the film come as survivors recount their personal stories, inspiring examples of resilience, resistance, courage and grace. The Greatest Silence won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.

Professor Niklas Hultin will moderate a discussion after the movie.

VENUE: Swarthmore College, Science Center 199, Wednesday April 8th, 8:00 PM


Thursday, April 9

Through the Human Right’s Watch Film Festival, two documentaries will be screened at Swarthmore and the director of one will be speaking as well.

The Sari Soldiers -Julie Bridgham 2008 (90m)

Filmed over three years during the most historic and pivotal time in Nepal’s modern history, The Sari Soldiers is an extraordinary story of six women’s courageous efforts to shape Nepal’s future in the midst of an escalating civil war against Maoist insurgents, and the King’s crackdown on civil liberties. When Devi, other of a 15-year-old girl, witnesses her niece being tortured and murdered by the Royal Nepal Army, she speaks publicly about the atrocity. The army abducts her daughter in retaliation, and Devi embarks on a three-year struggle to uncover her daughter’s fate and see justice done. The Sari Soldiers follows her and five other brave women, including a Maoist Commander, Royal Nepal Army Officer; a monarchist from a rural community who leads a rebellion against the Maoists; a human rights lawyer; and a young student activist organizing the protests to establish democracy. The Sari Soldiers intimately delves into the extraordinary journey of these women on all sides of the conflict, through the democratic revolution that reshapes the country’s future.

Julie Bridgham, director and producer of the documentary, The Sari Soldiers will give a talk followed by questions and answers after the screening. Professor Niklas Hultin will moderate a discussion with Julie Bridgham.

VENUE: Swarthmore College, LPAC Cinema, Thursday April 9th, 7:30 PM


Friday, April 10

Activist filmmaker Ellen Spiro will be visiting campus with the film she made with Phil Donahue, Body of War (, named best documentary by the National Board of Review in 2007.

Body of War is an intimate feature documentary about the true face of war. Tomas Young, 25 years old, was paralyzed from a bullet to his spine – wounded after serving in Iraq for less than a week. Body of War is Tomas’ coming home story as he comes to terms with his disability and finds his own unique and passionate voice against the war. The film is produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, and features two original songs by Pear Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

Body of War was named Best Documentary by the National Board of Review, and John Anderston, writing in the Washington Post, calls it “Architecturally sound, emotionally ravaging… a ferocious film.”

Ellen Spiro is a long-time video activist whose works including? DiAna’s Hair Ego (about DiAna, an AIDS-educator and hairdresser), Greetings From Out Here (lesbian and gay culture in the South), and Troop 1500 (about a Girl Scout troop that unites daughters with mothers who are serving time for serious crimes, made with Karen Bernstein) and, now, Body of War (with Phil Donahue). Spiro, Associate Professor at the University of Texas in Austin, is the recipient of a Guggenheim and two Rockefeller Fellowships and numerous other distinctions.

This event is presented by Swarthmore’s Program in Film and Media Studies and cosponsored by War News Radio, and made possible by the Department of English Literature’s Owen Moon Fund.

VENUE: Swarthmore College, LPAC Cinema, Friday, April 10th, 7:00 pm


A Cappella Concert

Impact!, Bryn Mawr’s student organization for socially responsible and sustainable business, joins with Peace Week to present a benefit concert by 4 of the Bi-Co’s a cappella groups: Counterpoint, Lavender’s Blue, Humtones, and the Night Owls.

(Donations in a sum of your choice will be requested at the door. Proceeds will go to an organization TBD).

VENUE: Bryn Mawr College – Pembroke West Dance Studio 8:00 pm


Thursday & Friday April 9-10

Handicraft fair – Shop for earrings, scarves, bags, …. etc from which proceeds will help to sponsor education of children and widows displaced by the conflict in Nepal. *1 year’s education for a child costs only $15! Everything sold in the fair will cost $15 or less. More than 50,000 children and widows have been displaced due to the conflict.


Swarthmore College, LPAC Cinema, Thursday, April 9th, 7:30- 10:00 pm

Swarthmore College, Parrish Beach, Friday April 10th, 4:00-6:00pm


Saturday, April 11

Walk For Hunger

Join Bryn Mawr’s Saturday of Service for a trip to this year’s Walk for Hunger in Philadelphia. The Walk Against Hunger is a 6-mile walk beginning and ending at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with the goal of raising money to help struggling families meet their most basic need — food. The funds raised at the Walk Against Hunger are distributed to food cupboards and soup kitchens in our region, which are run by volunteers who work tirelessly to provide food for those in need. The Bryn Mawr College team will bring together students, faculty, and staff to raise money for food cupboards at two of the college’s partner agencies in Norristown. The walk lasts from around 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

VENUE: Philadelphia (Bryn Mawr College / Haverford College) – 8:00 am to around 1:00 pm


Sneha Shrestha email sshrest1*at*

Aaron Zimmerman azimmer2*at*


Bryn Mawr: President’s Office, Dean’s Office, Department of Sociology, Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

Swarthmore: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Peace and Conflict Studies Program, Intercultural Center, Dean’s Office, Political Science Department, SBC Account [I dont know what this is], French and Francophone Studies (Department of Modern Languages and Literatures), President’s Office, Film and Media Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies,? Islamic Studies Program.

And African Studies Consortium (U Penn, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford).

Aaron David Miller Offers Obama Advice On Israel

Aaron David Miller, author and former adviser to six Secretaries of State, from George Shultz under Reagan to Colin Powell under Bush, came to Swarthmore on Wednesday [March 18, 2009] to offer President Obama some expert advice on how he can best on deal with Israel during his administration.

Aaron Brecher ’10 raised funds and sponsorship from a variety of organizations in order to have Miller appear — Sofi, the College Dems, FFFS, the President’s Office, Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Science Department, and outside grants from Legacy Heritage as well as the Israel on Campus Coalition.? Read the full story by Lauren Stokes in The Daily Gazette.

Afghan women’s rights activist Suraya Pakzad to speak at Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse

Afghan women’s rights activist Suraya Pakzad to speak at Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse, Monday, March 23, 7:00 pm

Suraya PakzadFor over a decade — beginning in the darkest days of Taliban oppression– Afghan activist Suraya Pakzad and her organization, Voice of Women, has worked to protect girls and women from the abuses of tribal marital customs and of Islamist extremism. Under the most dangerous and hostile of circumstances, Pakzad has tirelessly provided girls and women with education, physical safe-havens, and paid employment. Crucially, Pakzad has also enriched awareness within Afghanistan of the depth of its human rights injustices, allowing the society to heal from within. Through Voice of Women, Pakzad has begun to build a social infrastructure that will go a long way toward achieving regional strength and stability.

We are fortunate to be able to meet Suraya Pakzad on her first return to the United States after her acceptance last year of the rare honor of the U.S. State Department’s International Women of Courage award.

Please join us to hear Suraya Pakzad. Learn more about her human rights work, and consider what can be done to help.

This talk is free and open to the public.

Monday, March 23, 7:00 pm

Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse, 12 Whittier Place

Swarthmore, PA, 19081

More information is available at

Activism shapes student life at Swarthmore

PhotoActivism shapes student life at Swarthmore

BY HANNAH PURKEY In print | March 5, 2009

“During her time at Swarthmore, Miriam Feingold Real ’63 was no stranger to the county jails. An ardent activist who was involved in organizing many of the demonstrations against segregation in Chester, Pennsylvania and Cambridge, Maryland, Real believed that sometimes sacrifices had to be made in the name of social justice. ‘Some of the activities we were involved in ended up with us being arrested,’ Real said. ‘I remember spending several days in jail with my school books from Swarthmore, attempting to do my homework and study.’

“Real is only one of many students in the history of the college who have translated their concern with social justice into explicit activism. This dual dedication to academics and social change has been a mark of Swarthmore’s reputation for years, but few have questioned to what extent it is a part of the College’s history….” see the full story in The Phoenix.

International Author and Peace Activist John Dear to Lecture at Chestnut Hill College


John Dear, S.J.,

John Dear, SJPeace activist, lecturer, and author of A Persistent Peace: One Man’s Struggle for a Non Violent World

This event serves as the Inaugural lecture for the Institute for Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7 p.m.

Social Room, Fournier Hall


For more information, contact Catherine Nerney, SSJ, Ph.D.

at 215.248.7099 or e-mail

See the press release

Gullivers Troubles: the Obama Administration and the Arab-Israeli Conflict – A lecture by Aaron David Miller

Gulliver’s Troubles: the Obama Administration and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

A Lecture by Aaron David Miller

Wednesday, March 18, 4:15-6:30 in Sci 101

Come hear the author of The Much Too Promised Land, an advisor to six secretaries of State on Arab-Israeli issues, and a twenty-year veteran of the State Department talk about America’s role in brokering Middle East peace.

Aaron David MillerAaron David Miller is a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a former president of Seeds of Peace, and an experienced negotiator who served with the State Department from 1978 to 2003. He is the author of The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.

Sponsored By: Swarthmore Organization for Israel, College Democrates, Forum for Free Speech, the President’s Office, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Political Science.