Category Archives: Peace and Conflict Studies

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Fixing the Jericho Road

By Lee Smithey

I hope everyone finds an opportunity to reflect and take some sort of action (or preparation for action) in pursuit of justice and peace on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

While the nation focuses on service, I am usually drawn on this day to Dr. King’s speech, “Beyond Vietnam.” Public schools are closed today, and I sit in my office at home listening to the speech with my daughter (11 yrs old). I am amazed and touched that we can listen to this together knowing that Alison had the opportunity to meet Dr. Vincent Harding (who wrote the speech for King) at Pendle Hill shortly before his death in 2014.

This speech at Riverside Church was one of King’s most important and controversial speeches because he spoke against the War in Vietnam, drawing the ire of nationalists and even allies, who felt King should remain focused on domestic racial injustices. This was the address during which King decried “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.”

It is with such activity that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.  

Let’s also remember that this year is the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination, exactly one year to the day after he delivered the Beyond Vietnam speech. (Stay tuned for announcements about commemorative events at the College this spring.) I hope to get a few minutes today to make a bit more progress through Michael K. Honey’s book, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign. On the night before he was killed, as he delivered another momentous speech about the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, King was again talking about both service (using the parable of the Good Samaritan and emphasizing fixing the dangerous Jericho Road itself.

What a humbling challenge. It is a privilege to share this day with you, and I look forward to the coming semester as we renew our work together.

 

Dialogue Across Differences in Faith and World View

From the Tri-Co Courageous Conversations Planning Committee:

We warmly invite you to an interfaith conference taking place at Bryn Mawr College on February 1 and 2, 2018:

“Courageous Conversations: Equipping Ourselves for Dialogue Across Differences in Faith and World View”

The conference will equip participants to frame useful questions that allow them to deeply listen, moving beyond “us vs. them” and hearing the personal fears, desires and experiences of others. A thoughtful speaker, case studies, and practical techniques will be part of the program.

The program includes a Thursday evening dinner and speaker, followed by Friday workshops. There will be a break for Jummah (Muslim prayers) and an optional Shabbat service at the end of the day on Friday. Staff and faculty are welcome to attend parts or all of the program. There is no cost. This is supported by InterFaith Youth Core, the organization that brought Eboo Patel to our campus in November.

If you plan on coming fill this out: https://brynmawr.wufoo.com/forms/courageous-conversations/

During the planning process, the committee was intentional about choosing a start that would make it convenient for Swat students, faculty and staff to attend (see schedule below) .

Tri-Co shuttle from Swat schedule.

  • Feb 1 at 4:50 (if you want good food at BM) or 6:40 (if you come for the keynote speaker)
  • Feb 2 at 8:30 AM (if you want a HOT breakfast and participate in workshops) or 1:05 PM (if you want to participate in afternoon workshops)

For more information, contact Eishna Ranganathan at erangan1 or Joyce Tompkins at jtompki1

NEW Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary course on refugees and art

As part of the College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Peace and Conflict Studies program will sponsor a related half-credit course in the spring.

  • In what ways can engaging with art inspire conversations, change perspectives, or increase empathy?

  • How might sharing personal experiences through the process of making art about migration, displacement or refuge increase our senses of belonging?

  • How might historic stories of displacement impact understandings of our current moment?

In this half-credit engaged scholarship course,  taught by College Librarian Peggy Seiden and Dr. Katie Price (Lang Center), students will (a) conduct primary and secondary research related to resettled individuals (refugees) living in Philadelphia, (b) conduct archival research related to questions of displacement, empathy, and belonging, and (c) conduct primary and secondary research on artists’ books. Additionally, students will be required to volunteer for at least one book artist workshop (taking place on Sundays in Philadelphia, exact dates and times TBD) during the term. This course is tied to Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary, a two-year project funded by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage that brings renowned book artists into conversation with Syrian and Iraqi individuals who have resettled to Philadelphia. Students will be working with and learning directly from project collaborators, and their work will be shared publicly on the Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary website and may also be published or exhibited in Spring 2019.

Seats are limited. If you are interested in taking this course, please email a short paragraph about why you are interested to kprice1 and pseiden1.

New Class of Lang Opportunity Scholars Announced for 2020

We want to extend our congratulations to the new 2020 class of Lang Opportunity Scholars!!


 

New Class of Lang Opportunity Scholars Announced for 2020

“The Lang Scholar Class of 2020 is an extraordinary cohort who exemplifies vision, courage, and engaged scholarship,” says Lang Scholar Advisor Jennifer Magee. “Their projects span the domains of digital literacy in Egypt, human rights in Nepal, public health in Guatemala, social cohesion in New Zealand, and women’s empowerment from Jordan to Philadelphia and beyond. With the mentoring and resources available through the Lang Center, Lang Scholars gain the knowledge, connections, and skills needed to craft effective and innovative solutions to social problems.”

The Lang Scholar Class of 2020 includes:

Nancy AwadNancy Awad ’20 (Chantilly, Va.). In collaboration with the Hands Along the Nile Organization, Agents of Resilience (Nancy’s intended Lang Project) will address the lack of educational opportunities that orphaned and Coptic young women have access to in rural Upper Egypt. Agents of Resilience will be a digital literacy mentoring and certificate initiative for the young women at the Lillian Trasher Orphanage in Assuit, Egypt. Participants will train one other person or their mentee, thus ensuring that the project is sustained by the local community.

“Joining the LOS program means being a part of a supportive and socially-conscious community,” Awad says, “and finally having the structure, direction, and resources to design and implement a project that I’ve always wanted to do.”


Aayushi Dangol​Aayushi Dangol ’20 (Kathmandu, Nepal). Aayushi’s Lang Project, नव ज्योति [Nawa Jyoti, translated to “New Light”], will be a collaboration with an NGO in Kathmandu to shift from the paradigm of rescue, repatriation, and rehabilitation of those who have been trafficked to an approach that protects and promotes trafficking victims’ human rights. A component of Nawa Jyoti will be a web-based learning platform where the trafficking victims gain vocational and life skills training. It is hoped that through this training, Nawa Jyoti will empower the trafficking survivors and put an end to the uncertainty and passivity which the victims have to encounter. Dangol’s mantra: “Passion, patience, and persistence in all I do.”


Elizabeth ErlerElizabeth Erler ‘20 (Lexington, Mass.). Zone 3 of Guatemala City contains one of the largest garbage dumps in Central America. Elizabeth’s Lang Project, Alianza de salud de zona tres [Zone 3 Health Alliance], will build upon the existing network of neighborhood presidents to bring increased access to preventative and chronic healthcare to the residents of Zone 3. This network of health advocates will work to promote awareness about and treatment of preventable but deadly illnesses such as malnutrition and diarrheal illnesses which devastate these communities and establish long-term community plans to treat chronic diseases including asthma, diabetes, and addiction.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity the LOS Program gives me to return to Guatemala City and partner with the communities in Zone 3,” Erler says. “I am excited to use experiences and lessons from Swarthmore to develop and implement a plan to increase access to healthcare in this community.”


Layla HazainehLayla Hazaineh ‘20 (Amman, Jordan). As a women’s rights activist, Hazaineh strives to amplify the fight against the patriarchy. She has used Facebook as a platform to disseminate videos that address taboo topics and crimes related to misogyny in Jordan and, to date, has 26,388 followers on Facebook from all over the world. With her Lang Project, Hazaineh plans to strengthen her social media platform, elevate it, and create a professional, social, and academic space which will be utilized to fight the patriarchal system, thus empowering women across the Arab world.

“The LOS Program showed me that, when believed in, ideas can grow into projects and projects can turn into a changed and positive reality,” Hazaineh says. “Considering my financial limitations, this scholarship is the opportunity I’ve been hoping for. The LOS Program not only provides support, but also faith in the Lang Scholar, and those are the keys for making change.”


Seimi Park​Seimi Park ’20 (Virginia Beach, Va.). Press for Peace, Park’s intended Lang Project, is an initiative dedicated to promoting the education of women in journalism, media, and communications, with a defined focus on data and technology as platform for impact. Operating in several hubs in the greater Philadelphia area, Press for Peace aims to empower women to use their voices, with the long-term goals of: increased diversity in the fields of technology, media, and telecommunications; economic empowerment through relevant skills-based workshops and training programs; and development of an independent news platform. This model will equip women with the tools to thrive in this capacity, while driving academic and cultural discourse in a time plagued by a lack of productive and constructive dialogue.

“I am honored to be joining the LOS community,” Park says. “The LOS Program is truly one of a kind. It invests in social impact, big ideas, and most of all, students. I have already experienced an incredible amount of support and encouragement through this process and cannot wait to see what the future holds.”


Nancy YuanNancy Yuan ’20 (Auckland, New Zealand) Yuan will explore how to create social cohesion in New Zealand through the integration of indigenous Maori, immigrant, and refugee populations.

“Becoming a Lang Scholar means that I can access mentorship and financial resources needed to develop and implement a project to have a positive impact on my community,” Yuan says. “Through the LOS program, I hope to gain experiences which lay the groundwork for me to continue to pursue my passion for development and public policy even beyond my time at Swarthmore.”

The Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Scholarship Program each year selects up to six members of Swarthmore’s sophomore class as Lang Scholars. Selection criteria include distinguished academic and extra-curricular achievement, leadership qualities, and demonstrated commitment to civic and social responsibility. As its central feature, the program offers each scholar the opportunity and related funding to conceive, design, and carry out an opportunity project that creates a needed social resource and/or effects a significant social change or improved condition of a community in the United States or abroad. In addition, it offers each Scholar a diverse succession of undergraduate and graduate financial and other benefits. The program was conceived and endowed by Eugene M. Lang ’38.

Writing from the Wound: Literature and Disenchantment in Postwar Central America

“Writing from the Wound: Literature and Disenchantment in Postwar Central America”

Nanci Buiza, Assistant Professor of Spanish

Tuesday, December 12th, 4:15 PM
McCabe Library Atrium
Open to the Public

Professor Buiza will examine how contemporary Central American writers have made literary art out of a heritage of violence, trauma, and social disaffection.

Prof Nanci Buiza
Prof. Nanci Buiza

Torn by decades of civil war and political terror, and more recently by the depredations of neoliberalism and urban violence, Central America has been unkind to the artistic enterprise. And yet despite the adversity, its writers have in recent years managed to put Central America on the literary map. They have made a virtue of their situation by submitting their disillusionments, traumas, and dislocations to the discipline of art and have produced works of high literary achievement.

Of special interest in this presentation is the way in which these writers contend with the senseless modernity that radically remade Central American society after the era of civil wars had come to an end in the 1990s. The “culture of peace” as a code of conduct promoted by market-oriented postwar reconstruction projects; the unresolved wartime traumas that have devastated the social fabric; the disenchantment that took root after the dreams for social utopia had been dashed by the failed revolutions and by the forces of neoliberalism—all these features of the postwar experience are central concerns of these writers, but they also pose problems for what it means to make art. How contemporary Central American literature registers and resists these problems is the focus of this presentation.

Infographic Session – Climate Disruption Class

Please join the students in Climate Disruption, Conflict, and Peacemaking (PEAC 055 / ENVS 031) for an infographic session (similar to a poster session) on Monday morning December 11 at 10:30 a.m. in Shane Student Lounge.

Refreshments provided.  This is a zero waste event.

Global-Carbon-Budget-emissions-from-fossil-fuels-2015_12

 

With thanks for support from the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility

Events Near Swarthmore This Weekend, 12/1/2017-12/3-2017

This weekend, December 1-2, Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat center on the other side of Crum Wood is holding a one-day (and one evening) workshop:

Right to Refuse: When Community Rights and Corporate Rights Conflict and What to Do Next
Featuring: Chad Nicholson, Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck, Dianne Herrin, and Paula Kline
https://pendlehill.org/events/right-refuse-community-rights-corporate-rights-conflict-next/

Whether it is a pipeline, a fracked gas well, or an incinerator, there are countless examples of corporations moving projects forward despite community resistance and environmental impact. Why? How has law evolved to protect corporate interests and what are a community’s options? What is a Home Rule campaign and why is it necessary? Explore these questions and more with a weekend with front-line organizers from across Pennsylvania. This is a workshop for those engaged in protecting their community from environmental threats for education and strategic planning.

Right to Refuse - Pendle Hill

On Sunday, December 3 at 11:45 AM in Whittier Room,  George Alexander will speak on The Mariner East 2 pipeline: how it came to be, why it is so bad, and what we can do about it. 

Perhaps you have heard about the Mariner East 2 pipeline, which is under construction in Delaware and Chester Counties. In full operation, this would be by far the most dangerous pipeline in the state of Pennsylvania. A rupture and explosion would destroy structures thousands of feet away and, depending on where it happened, could kill hundreds of people. How was this permitted to happen, and what can we do about it now? George Alexander will present background on the pipeline and outline what can be done. Rich and Claudia Aldred will speak about their experience as homeowners in the “blast zone” of the pipeline.

Spring 2018 Course Offerings

The Peace and Conflict Studies program at Swarthmore College is happy to share its course offerings for the Spring 2018 semester.

21 courses are eligible for program credit, including 4 courses taught within the Peace and Conflict Studies program and 17 cross-listed courses.

Click here to download the list of eligible courses.

More information on Peace and Conflict Studies Courses:

PEAC 003: Crisis Resolution in the Middle East

PEAC 003

PEAC 043: Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change

PEAC 043

PEAC 049: Be the Change! Social Entrepreneurship in Principle and PracticePEAC 049

PEAC 135/SOCI 135: Social Movements & Nonviolent Power

PEAC 135

Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary Launch Event

Our friends in the Swarthmore College Library and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility invite you to join them on Sunday, Nov. 19th from 1:00-4:00 at the Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to learn more about Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project.

At the event, you can meet the book artists working on the project, connect with potential collaborators, and celebrate the project’s launch with tea, snacks, and art-making.
Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary flyer

Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary will bring together book artists and Syrian and Iraqi individuals who have resettled to Philadelphia. Driven by questions about displacement and refuge, history and experience, the project explores art’s capacity to build empathy and create a deeper sense of belonging.

Working in partnership with the immigrant and refugee service organization Nationalities Service Center, Swarthmore will invite a group of collaborators to work with renowned book artists and participate in multi-day workshops designed to provide access to new creative tools, and to explore various aspects of visual storytelling, artistic expression, and craft. Swarthmore’s library collections—including the Friends Historical Library and the “Peace Collection,” the largest archive of peace-related material in the U.S.—will be made available to book artists to inform their commissioned works, and to collaborators, with materials translated into Arabic.

Both the workshop collaborators and the book artists will create books that highlight the relationship between historical and contemporary stories of displacement. The project will culminate in a series of programs, exhibitions, and an exhibition catalogue that will focus on how archival, academic, and community knowledges can come together to address contemporary issues.

Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and is a collaboration between Swarthmore Libraries and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

UPCOMING WORKSHOP — Weaving the Threads: Intersectionality, Sustainability & Environmental Justice

How do we identify and address intersectional concerns (e.g. from racism, to poverty, to militarism, to homelessness, and more) in our sustainability work and activism? How do we connect our various initiatives within a framework of environmental justice? How do we communicate these visions with others?
On Monday, November 20, join Peace and Conflict Studies and Environmental Studies for a workshop with Prof. Randall Amster, former Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.Workshop Flyer

Weaving the Threads: Intersectionality, Sustainability & Environmental Justice

The confluence of contemporary crises represents a direct threat to human existence, yet also a remarkable opportunity to implement alternatives and cultivate visions for a more just and sustainable world. The framework of “climate justice” increasingly subsumes many of these issues and possibilities, providing a basis for transforming our thinking and acting in relation to essential resources including food, water, and energy production. Likewise, critical issues of equity, access, and distribution are brought to the fore, with the nexus of environmental justice and peacebuilding offering potential avenues for change. What theories and actions are informing current movements and responses? How can policymaking and the lived experiences of people and communities equally inform the discourse? How can we promote an ethos of responsibility in both senses of the word, as a form of accountability and a locus of empowerment? Drawing upon examples from local to global scales, this session will seek to spark a collaborative dialogue for cultivating resilient responses to today’s most pressing challenges.

Randall Amster

Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., is Director and Teaching Professor in the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. He serves as Editor-in- Chief of the Contemporary Justice Review. He teaches and publishes widely on subjects including peace and nonviolence, social and environmental justice, political theory and movements, and the impacts of emerging technologies. His recent books include Peace Ecology (Routledge, 2015), Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012), Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness (LFB, 2008); and the co-edited volume Exploring the Power of Nonviolence: Peace, Politics, and Practice (Syracuse University Press, 2013). His current research interests include environmental peacebuilding, climate justice, intersectionality and ecology, community and sustainability, and the justice implications of contemporary technology.

 

Peace Ecology Book Cover

The workshop begins at 4:15 pm and will take place in Kohlberg Hall, Room 116.

This event is sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies, Environmental Studies, the Provost’s Office, the President’s Office, and the Office of Sustainability.