News from the Manchester University
Peace Studies Institute
The 2008-2009 academic year has been full of peace studies-sponsored events, trips, and speakers. From our weekly Kenapoc discussions and movie nights to once-a-semester protests and rallies, students, faculty, and staff of the Peace Studies Institute have been busy as agents of change.
Peace Studies Retreat
We kicked off the year with a retreat for majors, minors, and friends of Peace Studies at Manchester’s Koinonia Nature Preserve. The annual overnight group-building retreat serves as a generator for ideas and actions for the new school year, from brainstorming sessions to presentations by seasoned activists, with the hope that students will get fired up about some issue and come together to effect positive change.
Our weekly Kenapocomoco Coalition meetings have included several interesting topics and guest speakers. During the fall semester, we had two separate series events: Going Organic and Israel/Palestine, both with dynamic guest facilitators and stimulating group discussion. January term is often slow for the Kenapoc group, as many Peace Studies students are traveling and taking intensive courses. This year, our students took classes in a wide variety of disciplines, from a theatre course in China to Experiencing the Arts in Italy to Religions and War here on Manchester’s campus. So far this spring, we’ve had many more great Kenapoc sessions, including a visit by the Discussion Days keynote speaker, Paul Roberts, and executive director of Indiana Coalition Acting to Suspend Executions, Will McAuliffe. Both offered exceptional overviews of their current projects, and spent time with students in a question and answer format. Upcoming topics include green/sustainable initiatives on campus, a recap of President Obama’s first 100 days in office, and our once-a-semester Finals Study Breakfast.
A few of the special events we attended or hosted included a visit to Indianapolis to attend a lecture by the “Father of Peace Studies,” Johan Galtung; a special partnership with the Political Science club to host Rock the Vote last fall; our annual pilgrimage to Fort Benning, Georgia, to protest the School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation; and a trip to Washington DC to attend the Department of Peace Conference, sponsored by The Peace Alliance and the Student Peace Alliance. A very generous donation brought Professor Ronald Glossop to campus to address issues of war as a Convocation speaker. In February, Stephen Zunes, noted author and political science essayist, lent his expertise as part of our week-long concentration on the Iraq War and the new Obama Administration.
Manchester’s annual Peace Week, co-sponsored by Peace Studies and the Campus Interfaith Board, took place April 20-25, with a theme of “Love your Mother Earth,” an effort to raise awareness about the issues our planet is facing. Special events for the week included lectures and discussions with experts in the fields of environmental science, religion, and literature. A poetry workshop and reading was held as well. Each Peace Week concludes with the Concert on the Mall, a free live music event open to all.
New Peace Studies Lectureship
Friend of Peace Studies and Manchester University alumna Betty Refior established the Dr. Everett Refior Lectureship in honor of her late husband, which will fund a lecture annually by
a prominent peacemaker. Mrs. Refior generously sponsored a visit last fall by Dr. Ron Glossop
on international cooperation, as well. We look forward to the experts we can bring to Manchester to enrich the minds and lives of our campus community.
Goodbyes to Beloved Friends
We were deeply saddened by the deaths of three beloved friends of peace studies this past winter
and spring: Louie Baldwin and Phil Rieman, and Jim Garber. Louie and Phil's children have
created the Baldwin Rieman peacemaker Fund at Manchester University. Jim's family generously
requested that donations in his name go to the Gladdys Muir Endowed Peace Studies Department
Chair. We are humbled by and grateful for these generous gifts.
Retirement of Peace Studies Professor
Longtime peace studies professor Gary Zimmerman has retired. Gary taught the conflict
resolution courses in the peace studies curriculum for many years. His patient and caring tutelage
produced a long line of students with excellent mediation skills and an energetic commitment to
interpersonal conflict resolution. Gary's departure leaves a significant gap in our curriculum, and
it is not yet clear how we will fill it.
MU Peace Studies Team on Kiva
The Manchester Peace Studies program has also become active as a “team” with Kiva, a micro-lending organization. As a member of the team, one can keep track of personal donations as well as tally the amount the entire group has raised for those in need of microloans to open or maintain a business. Find and join the Manchester Peace Studies Team here.