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.

Lang Professor George Lakey Receives Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize

This announcement is belated but nonetheless exciting! This past summer, Prof. George Lakey was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize by the Fellowship of Reconiliation. Here is the college’s press release:

Lang Professor George Lakey

Receives Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize

by Alisa Giardinelli


Lifelong nonviolent activist and educator George Lakey is the recipient of the 2008 Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). For 50 years, Lakey has led social change campaigns on local, national, and international levels, and over 1500 workshops on five continents.

George LakeyGeorge Lakey

“Though I never met him personally, Dr. King was a mentor to me in a sense,” says Lakey, who will begin an unprecedented third year as the College’s Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change this fall. ?”I hung on his every word.”

Lakey will receive the award when he gives the keynote address at FOR’s 50th annual conference in Seabeck, Wash., on July 4. He will be honored at a second ceremony at FOR’s New York headquarters in September.

As Lang Professor, Lakey advises students, conducts research, and leads workshops at Swarthmore, as well as at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, the University of Pennsylvania, and in Chester, Pa. This year, he gave a campus-wide address as part of the College’s King Day celebration. Next spring, he will repeat his popular course, “Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism,” as part of the College’s offerings in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Lakey is the author of seven books and his work has been translated into at least six languages. His first arrest was for a civil rights sit-in in Chester and he co-authored A Manual for Direct Action, which was widely used in the South in the 1960s. Other titles include Powerful Peacemaking: A Strategy for a Living Revolution and Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times. He previously received the Paul Robeson Award for Social Justice from the Bread and Roses Community Fund and the national Giraffe Award for “sticking his neck out for the public good.” Two of his public talks,?Swarthmore’s 2008 Baccalaureate address and his lecture “Making Nonviolent Struggle More Powerful: Framing Strategies,” are available at

Since 1915, FOR, a national pacifist organization in which Dr. King was active, has conducted programs and educational projects concerned with domestic and international peace and justice, nonviolent alternatives to conflict, and the rights of conscience. A part of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, it established the King Peace Prize in 1979?to honor those who make a significant contribution to the furtherance of Dr. King’s non-violent approach to transforming racial, economic, and social injustices.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict sparks discussion

“When Students for a Free Palestine held a discussion last week about recent violence in Gaza, its members admitted that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a historically complicated issue, riddled with emotion and politics.

But the group’s leaders said that that was not what they wanted to talk about.

Although SFP is a pro-Palestine activist group, its members wanted to have a dialogue open to all students to discuss the recent violence in Gaza as well as what many see as severe human rights violations resulting from this violence…”

See the full story in The Phoenix

Zunes talk: After the Gaza War: Human Rights, International Law, and U.S. Policy toward Israel and Palestine

Dr. Stephen ZunesStephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco will deliver a talk, “After the Gaza War: Human Rights, International Law, and U.S. Policy toward Israel and Palestine,” on February 19, 2009 at 4:15 in Upper Tarble (Clothier). (flyer)

Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies. He serves as a senior policy analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, and chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. Zunes is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of the forthcoming Western Sahara: Nationalism, Conflict, and International Accountability (Syracuse University Press.) more information

Swarthmore Students for a Democratic Society attend the the annual vigil to close the School of the Americas

Father Roy Bourgeois, Dennis Kucinich and others at the School of Americas vigilIn November 2008, Swarthmore Students for a Democratic Society joined peace activists from across the country at the annual vigil to close the School of the Americas, a purported training academy for mercenary armies serving repressive regimes in Latin America, at Fort Benning, Ga. You can view a video covering their trip.

Peace and Conflict Studies lectures at Haverford College

Several upcoming talks at our sister college, Haverford, may be of interest:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jill Stauffer

??Human Rights:? What is in the Law, Who is the Subject???

4:30PM Gest Center 101

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Keith Brown

“The sum of tiny things: Fieldwork, democracy and The Ugly American in post-conflict Macedonia, 2001-2008”

4:30 pm Gest 101

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Leslie Dwyer

“Post-Traumatic Politics: Humanitarianism and the Negotiation of Political Subjectivity in Indonesia”

4:30 pm Gest 101

Tuesday, Feb 10

Rosellen Roche

“‘It keeps it peaceful, if ye know what I mean’: perceptions of paramilitary control in ‘post-conflict’ Northern Ireland”

Gest 101; 4:30 pm

Thursday, Feb 12

Elizabeth Drexler

“Securing the Insecure State: Corrupt Histories, Imagined Enemies and Impunity”

Gest 101; 4:30 pm

Prof. Ellen Ross, Quakers, and the Friends Historical Library

The following is excerpted from The Newsletter of the Swarthmore College Library. Spring 2009. Vol. 11, no. 2. Professor Ross’ course, “Living in the Light: Quakers Past and Present” (Religion 23) counts toward a Peace and Conflict Studies minor.

Ellen Ross: Living in the Light: Quakers Past and Present

Some assignments take advantage of the rich special collections available on campus. In Living in the Light: Quakers Past and Present (Religion 23), taught by Ellen Ross, students are invited to use the Friends Historical Library and the Peace Collection to complete their final research paper. The assignment is open-ended, on any topic related to the Quakers, and students work closely with Professor Ross to craft their topics and discover their sources. For example, when a student wrote about 19th century Quaker women and peace efforts, Professor Ross and the student deciphered the flowery script of letters from the Peace Collection written by Lucy Biddle Lewis, who was active in Quaker postwar relief work and was the national Chairman of the Women??s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Other students were immersing themselves in diaries and journals that bring the past to life or deriving inspiration from the experience of working in an archive. One student said, “After talking to the librarians in special collections, I changed my topic. It helped me to get more focused on what I like.”

This personal investment in the research process is one of Professor Ross’s goals for the assignment. Not only does it allow students to explore world-class collections, but it also entices many of them into the library to engage in research and writing on a topic that sparks their interest. As Professor Ross notes, “Some students never darken the doors of the library,” but the guest book at FHL is filled with her students’ names.