PSI Year Review
Samantha Carwile, Peace Studies Coordinator
The Peace Studies Institute had an eventful year 2010-2011, full of guest speakers, student actions campaigns, service trips, community building, and more. In September, PSI hosted Kathy Kelly, three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and renowned peace activist working as an ally with Middle Eastern civilians and families to end U.S. militarization and war. Kelly spoke in convocation with an audience of over 300 people, sharing her experiences of the conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the dangerous effects of drone warfare on civilians. A satellite event to Kelly’s convocation was the AFSC “Eyes Wide Open” held on the Manchester University mall. Eyes Wide Open is a moving exhibit displaying fallen soldier boots with the intention sharing the costs of war. The exhibit was displayed all day leading up to Kathy Kelly’s convocation.
Fall break was full of service and adventure, Chicago-style. Peace Studies Coordinator, Samantha Carwile, and five students, Elena Bohlander, Katelyn Carothers, Kay Guyer, Kristen Hoffman, and Andrew Miller had a CPT themed break. First, the group volunteered at the CPT fundraiser gala in Goshen, helping with door sales, bake sale, silent auction, and clean up. Then the group drove to Chicago to begin work projects at the new CPT house, which serves as offices and temporary lodging. Projects included roof tarring, painting, laying linoleum, installing door handles, and more. The group was also able to attend an “End the Wars and Occupation” rally as well as some social justice sight-seeing including touring the ethnic districts of Pilsen and Chinatown, visiting Su Casa Catholic Worker House, and the Shedd Aquarium.
During homecoming, PSI celebrated the contributions of Archbishop Oscar Romero and added his name to the honorary peace wall in the Muir Peace Garden. Professor of Sociology and Social Work, Brad Yoder, shared a brief message about Romero along with student reflections from Kay Guyer and Julia Largent. A reception was held in the Peace House following. Veterans Day brought a memorial by Kenapoc students. 1,000 crosses filled the mall to remember the soldiers and civilians lost in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
MU Peace Studies’ traditional witness at the School of Americas Watch rally and vigil in November was rewarding on many levels. A group of eighteen—four faculty/staff and fourteen students enjoyed workshops, nonviolence trainings, peace actions, concerts, films, as well as the traditional Saturday rally and Sunday memorial funeral march.
During January interterm, Professor Katy Gray Brown taught PEAC333 Peace Issues: an experiential learning course entitled “Utopian Experiments, Intentional Living Communities, and Countercultural Movements.” Eleven students plus Peace Studies Coordinator, Samantha Carwile, joined Katy on touring intentional communities throughout the states, ranging from historic communities to living communities, religious communities and secular communities, a catholic worker farm to a queer artist community. The communities included the Harmonists and Owenists at New Harmony, IN, The Shakers at Shaker Village, KY, Little Flower Catholic Worker Farm near D.C., Twin Oaks and Acorn in VA, Koinonia and Jubilee Partners in GA, and Idyll Dandy Acres (IDA), TN. The group became guests in some of the communities where work projects, chores, meal sharing, and worship were a daily practice. The group was also able to attend a “20 Years in Iraq” anti-war march and teach-in in D.C. Additionally, they were able to tour the Habitat for Humanity headquarters and global village in GA, and even meet former president Jimmy Carter at his home church in Plains, Georgia! The group left with inspiration for community and conscientious living.
In March, Manchester hosted Discussion Days with the theme of “Food for Thought.” The week was full of panels, guest speakers, films, and more on food ethics, sustainability, and hunger issues. PSI hosted Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet and the 12 Myths of Hunger and director of the national grassroots Small Planet Institute, for a convocation kicking off the week. Kenapoc members shared a community dinner with Lappe before her convocation later that evening. Lappe also stayed late to offer a talk-back session after her speech on hunger.
Yet another service experiential learning trip gave way during Spring Break, as Peace Studies Coordinator, Sam Carwile, organized a trip to Harrisonburg, VA to work with New Community Project in efforts of sustainability and eco-justice. Working with Tom Benevento and his staff, the MU group of eight helped renovate the NCP house, garden, serve at a bike co-op, and served meals at a homeless day shelter. The spring breakers were awakened by presentations on permaculture, a local campaign to increase bike and walking paths, Bridgewater College Brethren student meetings, and Eastern Mennonite University professor of peace studies, Lisa Shirck, lecture on human security vs. national security. A service day at Camp Brethren Woods nearby involved more work projects, a lunch meal, and tour of the campgrounds. The group ended their trip by hiking High Knob at George Washington National Forest.
The campus celebrated Peace Week in April. With the theme “Express Yourself,” the week’s celebration centered on peacemaking through the arts. Ted & Co. Mennonite theatre group kicked off the week with a fantastic peace and justice production. Concert on the Mall was held indoors due to weather, but showcased peace musicians including N. Manchester’s own Yurtfolk, Grooveside, Jo & the Young Switzers, and Bluffton University’s peace band, Anabaptist Bestiary Project. PSI sponsored a social justice art exhibit “Not Toy Soldiers” on the Invisible Children in Uganda to go along with the concert festivities. During Peace Week there were “activist art” sessions led by students, a storytelling through art session with Professor of Art, Jena Oke, Peace House movie nights, and more. New Community Project director, David Radcliff, provided great sessions on photography and social justice and great discussions with the MU Simply Brethren and Chapel groups.
As the end of the year approached, the Graduation Pledge Alliance campaign began, giving seniors an opportunity to consider their social impact after Manchester University. We celebrate the graduation of four majors, Erin Cartwright, Julia Largent, Abdulaziz Moburuk, Zach Washington and one Peace Studies minor, Katy McFadden. As we bask in the many opportunities and accomplishments of our busy year, may we uplift the life and lessons of Ken Brown who provided not only an invaluable contribution to our program but also immense inspiration and love to our community. Thank you, Ken!