Students who have taken Prof. Atshan’s courses talk about radical dehumanization.
Students who have taken Prof. Atshan’s courses talk about radical dehumanization.
Congratulations to Peace and Conflict Studies student Jasmine Rashid ’18 on the successful printing of the third edition of VISIBILITY Magazine.
“A Peace and Conflict Studies special major from Oyster Bay, N.Y., Rashid started the e-zine and magazine three years ago hoping to build a creative platform for underrepresented communities across campus. ‘Creating and running VISIBILITY has been synonymous with carving out a space for collective creativity,’ she says.”
“Available for free online, VISIBILITY is supported through the Swarthmore Intercultural Center (IC) and the President’s Office’s Andrew Mellon grant, which also contributed to printing 415 free copies.”
“‘What’s most important to me is that I think the content of this issue is really reflective of the moment, which is what we aim to curate—especially in terms of centering the voices, creations, and experiences of people whose identities are traditionally marginalized in media,’ says Rashid.”
Article credit: Kate Campbell, Swarthmore College Office of Communications
The Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Swarthmore College is elated to announce the naming of Ruby Bantariza ’20 and Ariba Naqvi ‘20 to the new class of Mellon Mays Fellows.
The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program aims to increase the number of minority students and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities pursuing Ph.D. programs in core fields in the arts and sciences.
The program provides fellows with a faculty mentor, term and summer stipends, access to MMUF programming, including an annual regional conference, and additional benefits if they enter a Ph.D. program within 39 months of graduation. The fellowship was established in 1988 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and initially involved eight charter members, including Swarthmore.
Article credit: Mark Anskis, Swarthmore College Office of Communications
We want to extend our congratulations to the new 2020 class of Lang Opportunity Scholars!!
“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 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 ’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 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 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 ’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 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.
Posted by Anna Weber ’19 January 21, 2016 on her Voices of Youth blog (Reprinted with permission)
I walked into my Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies class unsure. I was unsure if I had any of the answers to the conflicts we would study, unsure of the conflicts in my own life, unsure if this class would help me or leave me to continue to spin towards answers I couldn’t name. But the most eminent question once I walked into the class was where I was going to sit—front and invoke the possibility of having to speak or back and hide from the questions.
I changed my seat three times that day. The truth, however, was that it didn’t matter where I sat. Professor Atshan would have reached me all the way in the back corner because his passion is limitless. He quickly walked in the room, a smile spreading across his face, books and laptop in hand, spouting a metaphor about how this class was an airport and once it starts it is as if the plane has taken off. Trust me, you want to be on that plane.
Professor Atshan lives a life of incessant learning. He started college in the same place as me, Swarthmore College. He then graduated from Harvard University for his Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies. Next, he taught at Brown University as a post-doctoral fellow. Now, he is back at Swarthmore teaching students like me. Within his studies, Atshan has won multiple awards and fellowships including the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Social Science Research Council, the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, and a Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace. But really beyond his awards, it is kind of inexplicable to detail the impact Professor Atshan has on students. I can’t name it, but he stirs up some notion that tells us to partake in activism for human rights of all kinds; even if we are not personally affected, we have the power to lift the voices of those who are.
So, without further ado, I present you Professor Atshan and perhaps I’m also presenting a passion that he will bring out in yourself.
What do you do, and perhaps more importantly, why do you do it?
I am a professor of Peace and Conflict Studies. I love working with young people and supporting them in thinking about how to make the world less violent and more just.
In the first day of your Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies class, you asked students to tell the class what they are tokens for, what they are often asked to explain or represent. What are you a token for?
I often have to explain what it means to be gay, to be Palestinian, to be Quaker, and am often met with a generosity of spirit, but every now and then I have to deal with all sorts of prejudices. But I do my best to remain patient and compassionate.
Can you explain where you come from and where you are going? This can be literal or metaphorical if you’d like.
I have always been a bookworm. But I try to escape the protective shell of libraries and to be engaged in activism in the real world. I hope to help build bridges between theory and practice.
As a Peace and Conflict studies Professor, can you tell us what the word “peace” means to you?
Peace is not only about the absence of physical violence—it is also about addressing structural violence. Positive peace, in its truest sense, takes intersectionality into account—understanding how all forms of oppression are interlinked.
What is one thing you hope your students will take away from your class, whatever the class may be?
I hope that they find their unique voice. That they recognize their value and their ability to make a difference in whatever domains they are passionate about. That they are the future—and that they give us hope.
As a student at Swarthmore, you scheduled every minute of your day to maximize studying. You then went to Harvard University and then taught at Brown University. How did you find the motivation to accomplish all of this, study so much, achieve success at some of the best institutions for learning in the United States?
I feel so privileged to have had access to these institutions and resources. With this comes a responsibility to help give voice to those who are voiceless. I try to ensure that my pursuit of knowledge is as ethical as possible and that it helps enact change in the world.
What advice do you have for your students beyond college?
I think it’s tremendously important to be true to yourself. Follow your heart, follow your gut, don’t be afraid to be fabulous, treat others with compassion, and recognize your own gifts and power.
Last year, two Stanford students, Cole Manley and Jocelyn Lee interviewed members of the Peace and Conflict Studies Committee at Swarthmore as well as faculty at many other college and universities. They produced this video as part of their campaign to start a peace studies program at their university.
We are thrilled to announce that Elowyn Corby, class of 2013, has been awarded the 2013 Undergraduate Student Thesis Award by the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) for her honors thesis titled “Training for Change: Moving from Theory to Practice in Adult Education for Empowerment.”
The PJSA is a professional association for scholars, K-12 teachers, and grassroots activists in the field of peace, conflict, conflict resolution, and justice studies, and it is the North-American affiliate of the International Peace Research Association.
Here is the abstract from her thesis:
This research examines the possibility of using adult activism training to facilitate the development of participatory skills. It considers the impacts and pedagogy of Training for Change, a social action training collective in Philadelphia. As well as surveying the major democratic theory on participation and the educational theory dealing with education for empowerment, the research includes a qualitative and quantitative analysis of Training for Change’s work. Based on a survey of past-participants, Training for Change tends to increase participatory skills among trainees, as well as identification with social change maker identities like ‘leader’ and ‘organizer’ and the frequency and intensity with which trainees participate in social change work. These effects were disproportionately pronounced among participants of color. This finding counteracts the effects of more traditional skill-development institutions such as the workplace or non-political organizations, which disproportionately increase participatory skills among the most privileged members of society. At the same time, people of color were slightly less likely to report that they felt the training was designed to be helpful for people like them, indicating that TFC has a complex relationship with questions of cultural relevance in the training space.
The award will be presented to Elowyn at the Awards Banquet during the association’s annual meeting October17-19, 2013. The meeting will be held in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and it will be hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University Department of Global Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, and the University of Waterloo Peace and Conflict Studies Program. Elowyn will have the opportunity to present her research at the conference.
We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Elowyn. That her work was recognized as exemplary by a committee of peace scholars and educators is a testament to her hard and careful work.
Prof. Lee Smithey and Prof. Diane Anderson, who co-advised Elowyn’s thesis and submitted it to the competition, report that they are excited that Elowyn has been honored in this way and that the award is fitting, not just with regard to the final thesis but for the way Elowyn executed the research for more than a year.
The rain that was predicted during our end-of-year lunch yesterday did not materialize, and we enjoyed a beautiful lunch on the front lawn of the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. As always, it was wonderful to catch up with one another.
We also took the opportunity to congratulate and say farewell to our seniors! (Though we encourage all of our alumni to stay in touch with us. We need you to help fulfill our academic mission.)
PEACE & CONFLICT STUDIES STUDENTS FROM THE CLASS OF 2013
Classes have ended, and we know students are preparing for exams. Best wishes for good health, inspired studying, and an exciting and rejuvenating summer. We’ll see most of you back here in the Fall!
Over 200 people from 70 student campaigns nationwide are coming to Swarthmore for a Fossil Fuel Student Convergence organized by Swarthmore Mountain Justice. Guests include speakers from communities fighting extraction, socially responsible investment funds, and programs focused on intersectionality and environment. There are several events open to the wider community, and the organizers are excited to invite people from all different perspectives to participate.
Here’s a schedule of the weekend:
Silent Solidarity March// Location and time tbd
Swarthmore students, faculty, staff, and alumni will join together for a march through campus during the Board of Managers meetings to urge powerful action on climate change through fossil fuel divestment.
(For more information, contact email@example.com)
“Before Rachel Carson: Workers and the Origins of Environmentalism in the United States”
Sci. 181 // 9:30 & 10:30 AM
Chad Montrie is a Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell, and author of To Save the Land and the People, Making a Living, and A People’s History of the Environment. His talk confronts mainstream visions of environmentalism, focusing instead on working class resistance to extraction. (Sponsored by Environmental Studies & History Dept.)
“Resisting Fossil Fuels: Voices from the Frontlines” – Panel Discussion
Crystal Lameman, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, tar sands resistance, Canada
Yudith Nieto, Tar Sands Blockade, TX
Junior Walk, Coal River Mountain Watch, WV
Deirdre, anti-fracking organizer, PA
Michael Bagdes-Canning, Marcellus Outreach Butler, PA
“Growing Stronger: From Divestment to Climate Justice” – Keynote
Crystal Lameman, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, tar sands resistance, Canada
Aura Bogado, The Nation, NY
Ellen Dorsey, Wallace Global Fund, Washington DC
Divest the Nation Action
1PM // Meet in Front of Parrish
Join students from across the country in a monumental show of support for the national divestment movement, frontline communities, and international action for climate justice!
“What We Can Learn from Economic and Immigrant Justice Work”
Location TBA // 9:30 & 10:30
Chris Hicks (Jobs with Justice)
Unite Here! Organizer
Erika Nuñez (DREAMer and Bryn Mawr Student)
(personal outreach only at this point) “Environmental Justice in Chester” Panel –
Location TBA // 9:30 & 10:30 AM
Speakers: Ciara Williams (Swarthmore student), Desire Grover (community media maker and organizer), Mike Ewall (Energy Justice Network)
If you have questions about the weekend or the events, feel free to send an email to Swarthmore Mountain Justice at firstname.lastname@example.org