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Peace Studies at Manchester University | Plowshares | Indianapolis Peace Institute | Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace
  Volume 40  




Kiss In Photo Display


Kenapoc Coalition, United Sexualities, and the Office of Multicultural affiars teamed up this Valentine's Day to celebrate a diversity of relationships on campus.  Recognizing that Valentines Day often uplifts representation of same-race and heterosexual couples, the following photo display was created to uplift love and relationships whether they be interracial, LGBTQ or heterosexual, rather than diminishing them by keeping them hidden. 

The photos below were displayed in the entrance of the campus Union during meal times on Valentine's Day. Stickers with the message of, "Validate Love", were handed out as well. 

This kiss keeps qualified professors from teaching in some colleges and universities.

This kiss could keep this couple from entering public establishments when they travel internationally


It was not until 2000 that all 50 states legally recognized this kiss.

This kiss has never been forbidden by a government.

Until 2003 this kiss was illegal in 14 different states.

This kiss was illegal in Indiana until 1976.


Do you think twice about this kiss?



SOA Reflection--W. Kibler Hidalgo, Peace Studies Senior


Whitnee Hidalgo

I have gone to the SOA protest twice and, I must say, both trips created memories that will last a life time. As a Hispanic woman, I feel that being aware about what is happing in my community is extremely important, and educating myself about WHINSEC and the SOA Watch is good for my community. At the SOA Protest, I learned about the injustices that WHINSEC created for people in Central American, South American, and the Caribbean. I attended workshops that reflected my interests and helped to educate me on social justice issues outside of SOA and its graduates. Not only was this protest a learning event, it was an opportunity for me to create meaningful ties to other people with similar values and interests. 

My moral code consists of equality, justice, and education. These values were a common ground I shared with many of my peers who attended the trip, and also many of the people I met at the protest. I left this event with contact information from people from Canada, Palestine, and Columbia. Creating these connections is priceless to me.

I encourage students to attend this event; it is truly a worthy experience that fosters learning and growth.  

Note: The School of the Americas (SOA) is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2001, it was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). 

Since 1946, the SOA has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins. 

For more information about the SOA and the protest we attended, seehttp://www.soaw.org/index.php 



PJSA Reflection--Kay Guyer ('13)


In October, our group of six headed to Tufts University in Boston to attend the Peace and Justice Studies Association Annual Conference. The 2012 theme, “Anticipating Climate Disruption: Sustaining Justice, Greening Peace” explored key topics of social and environmental justice in the context of the escalating climate crisis. I benefited greatly from a weekend in which academics and activism met in pursuit of climate justice.

Already aware of the devastating effects of climate change, I eagerly took the invitation to learn from movements building justice in the midst of increased climate stress. Learning more about these movements gave me a concrete place to put my hope in a crisis which often feels overwhelming. For example, as supporting local agriculture gains momentum, the food sovereignty movement supports the right of people to define their own food systems. In addition, the increased frequency of natural disasters brings the disability rights movement to push for necessary measures in evacuation procedures. These were just two topics from dozens of sessions which offered a greater understanding of how justice is sought in the environmental movement.

Somewhat unexpectedly, I felt the PJSA experience was for me pulled together on the 13 hour van ride home. Three days of academic presentations gave our group more than enough material to talk out, and thankfully the mileage gave us more than enough time to do so. These conversations were for me very rich. They were not just a way to process and debate academic ideas, but a way to build on the experiences and perspectives of one another to a greater level of knowing. Having friends on this journey is invaluable!

To learn more about the Peace and Justice Studies Association, please visit http://www.peacejusticestudies.org/



Model Drone Visit – Padraic Wright, Peace Studies First Year

During September, I was able to work with other students and spread information about the use of drones in warfareas well as in domestic settings. When I first heard about the project, I didn’t know verymuch about drones so I was hesitant to take an active role in the demonstrations. But before the drone even arrived on campus, I was given enough information to let people know the reality of drone use.

When the drone arrived, I wanted to spend as much time with the other students working with it as I could. I wanted to do my part and shed light on the misconceptions about using drones as opposed to deploying soldiers into a war setting. I thought it was important to do my part in informing people that these drones being used are just as detrimental as they are effective. In addition to their enormous price tag, they are also nearly 98% inaccurate; meaning that only 2% of drone strikes kill only their intended targets, 98% cause collateral damages.

It felt good to be involved and to be letting people know what these drones really are. Many of the people I had talked to were ignorant of the reality of drone warfare, just as I very much was prior to participating in this project, and it felt good to be supplying people with facts and figures about the real cost of waging wars with drones. I felt that it was very important to have the drone on campus and hopefully get people talking and doing their own research about the use of drones so that they could have a more well-informed view on what’s happening.

While I was met with hostility in a few encounters and a strangely gung-ho attitude in the bombing of Pakistan from one individual, I would definitely say that overall the model drone visit to campus was a success. Those prone to the “shoot first, ask later” approach were in the minority (thankfully) and many of the people I was able to talk to were interested in learning about the drones and having level-headed conversations about them. It felt good as a first year to get involved straight away in projects that, in my mind at least, are really very important. If I had the opportunity to do something like this again, I gladly would.



9/11 Reflections on Terrorism


For the anniversary of 9/11, the Peace Studies program put together a display that encouraged the Manchester University community to reflect on what terrorism is and how our lives have been impacted by terrorism. Here are some of the responses:

9/11 Attacks
“Terrorism has opened my eyes to the power of fear. Our fear of terrorism has led us to act in violent retaliation, further continuing and perpetuating a cycle of fear, threat, and harm.”  

“I have found myself too easily drawn into a sense of false patriotism when in reality I feel confused about what it means to be an American.”

“The governmental fear of terrorism has made me ashamed! Of my country, my government, and most importantly of who I was raised/socialized to be.”
  “Terrorism has made me (and my community) more skeptical of the world around us. It has also made me personally more aware of events happening around the globe.”

  “I see my community being more racist and fearful and it really angers and saddens me.”

Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima 
“9/11 impacted not only me, but my whole community. I arrived for work at the Country Club and could find no staff, no patrons…no one. I finally found them gathered in the bar area glued to the TV. As I arrived, the second plane hit the tower. We all remained glued to that TV for the entire day. The rest of the week we were empty with maybe five patrons total. Even though they are not close, terrorist actions still force people to stay huddled in their homes.”
“On 9/11 I was 11. I remember being in chapel at school when it happened. We had an extra prayer that day for it, but no one really understood until later in the day. All we did was watch the news and pray for the families that day. I know it changed my views on a lot of things. I thought a lot about how our relationships with other parts of the world were going to change. I’m still not sure we are doing it quite right, but with time we can make a change for the better!”

“Terrorism changed the way my community perceived others. Unfortunately, people in the community were not accepting towards other of any different race. This event brought my community together, but not always in positive ways."

"9/11 did not have a specific impact on me, but I noticed a change in the community. Not just the small town that I lived in, but a change in the United States as a whole. Everyone came together. A disaster provided unity that we needed. Through terror we found love."
Aerial napalm attack 
"Terrorism changed the way to think about war and peace. Terrorism is considered absolutely wrong, but not when it is used in war. Unfortunately, terrorism targets civilians as well as soldiers. People have to make a clear distinction between civilians and soldiers so that we can prevent killing innocent children and women when terrorism is used in war. We shouldn’t forget about the history of terrorism in the world. As long as we remember the sadness and fear from terrorism, we can make peace without violence."

SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2012


Bethany Seminary's Presidential Forum--Kay Guyer

Photo by Eric Landram
Gladys Muir, founder of the Peace Studies program at Manchester, wrote a paper titled, “The Place of Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership.” Peacemaking fueled by spiritual roots runs ages deep, yet I find myself grateful to be a part of the unique learning experience Muir imagined where spirituality and peacemaking combine.

For me, this combination was strengthened while attending Bethany Seminary's Presidential Forum in April. The theme of the forum, “Joy and Suffering in the Body: Turning Toward Each Other” explored the intersection of spirituality and sexuality.  Bethany's forum created a space where new medical, religious, and philosophical insight brought fresh questions to the table. Although I see inclusion and upliftment of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) friends as a stand for justice and basic human rights, I found myself refreshed to engage the complexities of sexuality as an expression of spirituality. 

Working together toward a sense of relevant understanding gave me hope for the Church of the Brethren I have only sensed glimmers of thus far.  Anabaptism holds a traditional thread of building relationships with a diversity of people before it was ever thought possible, let alone acceptable.  I have been wondering where this thread remains today, and I believe it is beginning to emerge in these very conversations.  A commitment to discipleship/peacemaking calls for honest conversation uninhibited by fear, and this is happening now.

A call that remains with me still was offered by Dr. Amy Bently Lamborn, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology at General Theological Seminary.  She stated, “I would call for the use of holy aggression among you.”  She encouraged us that while speaking truth in love, we must not lose sight of justice in the pursuit of unity.  Engaging in honest conversation is a beginning place for the Spirit to move, from which courage and persistence must be taken up in love.

I am grateful for the opportunity to step into the communities of Manchester and Bethany Seminary.  The space created to grow as peacemakers of spiritual rootedness is no small thing, for it leads to a path of courage.





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