Community College Faculty and Global Public Health Experts Meet in Alexandria, VA

By: David J. Smith, April 13, 2015

Final day of the program

Final day of the program

During April 9-11, 2015  U.S. and Canadian community college faculty from a range of disciplines including nursing, political science, sociology, biology, Spanish, and public health met to consider approaches that can be implemented to advance global public health education.   They were joined by Humphrey Scholars from Rwanda and Cameroon, and a Fulbrighter-in-Residence from India currently teaching at George Mason University.  A complete list of those attending (participants) the seminar is found below.

Dan Barnett, MD from Johns Hopkins University

Dan Barnett, MD from Johns Hopkins University

The program, Global Health Crises, Pandemics, and Policy Challenges: Approaches to Teaching in Community Colleges, was sponsored by the Institute for Public Service  (IPS) at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, VA.  The program was part of the Institute’s efforts to develop professional development programs in the Washington, DC area that provide community colleges with access to national and international organizations and experts.

At the World Health Organization

At the World Health Organization

The program featured presentations by global public health experts from George Mason University (Kathryn Jacobsen, PhD), George Washington University (Richard Riegelman, MD, PhD), and Yale University (Richard Skolnik, MPA).   In addition, public health practitioners from Doctors Without Borders (Ansley Howe, MPH, MSN) and Johns Hopkins University (Dan Barnett, MD) provided insights and training as to best practices in public health.  Two site visits were held during the program: to the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization (Marcos A. Espinal, MD) and the U.S. Institute of Peace (Jeff Helsing, PhD).   The seminar had a strong curriculum development focus and included insights from colleges teaching public health, including Montgomery College (Lila Fleming, MS).  For a complete rundown on the program, see the agenda found below.

Listening to PAHO/WHO briefing

Listening to the WHO/PAHO briefing

The next faculty professional development seminar sponsored by the Institute for Public Service will be the 3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar scheduled for October 23-26, 2015.  If you have questions about this seminar or the IPS, contact Linda Rodriguez at  

At the U.S. Institute of Peace

At the U.S. Institute of Peace

Group photo at WHO/PAHO

Group photo at WHO/PAHO



Final Agenda – Global Health Crises, Pandemics, and Policy Challenges – Approaches to Teaching in Community Colleges


Independence Community College Establishes Conflict Resolution Program: Dwight D. Eisenhower Institute for Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution

By: David J. Smith, April 13, 2015

Independence Community College  (ICC) in Independence, KS recently established a certificate in conflict resolution.  In an email dated April 10, Konye Ori, associate professor of communications,  the program coordinator,  wrote “Independence Community College is set to begin its conflict resolution program in the fall of 2015…. We (will) have experts, dignitaries, and field agents lecture (and)  engage with our students.”  The program will be the cornerstone of ICC’s  Dwight D. Eisenhower Institute for Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution.

The program, as noted on the college website, is  “specifically designed for students and mid-career professionals to train them in conflict analysis and resolution theory, research, and practical techniques relevant to their focused area of study or work.”  To complete the certificate, students must complete 5 courses for a total of 15 credit hours. Courses include Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Conflict and Peacebuilding;  Conflict, Identity, and Culture; and 6 hours of conflict resolution electives.

In October 2014, Ori attended the 2nd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar sponsored by Northern Virginia Community College and held in Alexandria, VA. There, he met with conflict resolution and peacebuilding professionals and organizations. Upon his return to Kansas, I was invited to visit Independence Community College in February 2015  to help promote the college’s effort and raise the profile of peacebuilding and conflict resolution work.

ICC’s program joins the ranks of more than 40 U.S. and Canadian community colleges offering programs and initiatives that focus on a range of peacebuilding themes.

For more information on the ICC program, contact Konye Ori at

REGISTRATION OPEN: 3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar, October 23-26, 2015

By: David J. Smith, April 2, 2015

The 3rd Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar will be held October 23-26, 2015 at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, VA.   Registration is now open and can completed here.  Registration closes 9/28/15.

The seminar is designed to build capacity in community colleges for teaching about global peace, conflict, and violence.   The seminar deals not only with international issues, but also domestic notions of conflict.   Presenters at the 2014 seminar included experts from the U.S. Institute of Peace,  Student Peace Alliance, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, and Sustained Dialogue.   Site visits were held at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Organization of American States, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.   The agenda for this year’s program will be finalized early in the summer 2015, but will reflect much of the 2014 program.

Last year 35 faculty from 16 community colleges in 12 states attended the program.   This NOVA blog post describes the program.  In addition, these posts from this blog cover each day of the 2014 program.

If you have questions of the program, please contact me at

Using Music to Build an Intergenerational Peacebuilding Coalition: Peter Yarrow at Northampton Community College

By: David J. Smith, March 30, 2015

Peter Yarrow at singing on stage with NCC students

Peter Yarrow with NCC students

Northampton Community College (NCC) in Bethlehem, PA held its 5th Annual Peace and Justice Conference on March 26.   This year’s conference – sponsored by the Center for Peace, Justice, and Conflict Resolution –  featured folk legend and activist Peter Yarrow, formerly of the musicial group Peter, Paul and Mary.  Besides performing classics such as “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” Yarrow talked about the work of his not for profit, Operation Respect, which focuses on ending bullying. Before and after his talk and performance, I offered peacebuilding workshops for students, faculty, staff and community members.

Political science students and projects at NCC Peace Conference

Political science students and  their projects at NCC’s Peace Conference

A number of community colleges around the U.S. host annual peace and social justice conferences including Pasco Hernando State College (formerly Pasco Hernando Community College) (FL) and Lane Community College (OR).   Two-year institutions are well positioned to support community-based initiatives designed to advance community engagement and wellness, and allow local residents to learn about important peacebuilding related issues.

Often a program or event becomes an opportunity to create a cross-generational gathering and sharing about community needs.   Because the conference featured 1960s musical icon Yarrow, it drew many residents who had come of age during the civil rights and anti-war movement period. As one attendee said to me: “There were a lot of ‘white hairs’ in the room!”   But with these “white hairs” were as many younger NCC students (a few with pink and blue hair!).

In my sessions I focused on fostering an intergenerational discussion on issues of peace and social justice.   I drew on the wisdom and experience of the older attendees to inspire the younger ones. Likewise, the enthusiasm and spirit of younger students gave hope to the older ‘white hairs.’   Besides talking about impressions of peace and conflict, we talked about the use of social media in advancing social justice, current issues of violence including bullying, and ways to build on the passion rekindled during the gathering.

Prof. Vasiliki Anastasakos, who has been a champion of peace and social justice efforts at the college, organized the conference.   A number of her students displayed  poster projects they had developed as part of her honors political science course. Project topics included the stigma of mental illness, the problems of fracking, Islamophobia, and discrimination against people with disabilities.

photo 1-1 photo 4 photo 4-1 photo 2 photo 3

Waubonsee Community College Advancing Peace Studies Effort

By: David J. Smith, March 9, 2015

On March 5, 2015, I had the honor of visiting Waubonsee Community College (WCC) near Aurora, IL.   At the invitation of Ellen Lindeen, who leads the college’s peace and conflict effort, I spoke to students and faculty about approaches that community colleges can take to advance peacebuilding and conflict resolution education.   In the morning session we explored how conflict sensitive skills can be helpful personally and in careers. Teaching conflict resolution aptitudes should be a critical aspect of career education. This was followed by lunch with college leadership and faculty including WCC’s president Christine J. Sobek.


Speaking to about 150 students at Waubonsee Community College

Speaking to about 150 students at Waubonsee Community College

In the afternoon, I held a second session with students and faculty on peacebuilding. In this session, we also explored individual meanings of peace and conflict. Waubonsee Community College currently offers two peace studies courses: Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution and Human Rights and Social Justice. The college is looking to expand its offerings. For more information, contact Ellen Lindeen at

Harper College Conference Brings Together Chicago Area Peace Educators

By: David J. Smith, March 9, 2015

Harper College’s 5th Annual International Education Summit  held March 6, 2015 was an opportunity to focus on the linkages between global education and teaching about peace.   It featured Chicago area experts who have engaged in international applications of peacebuilding. I had the honor of being the opening keynoter for the conference.

David Smith presenting at Harper College

David Smith presenting at Harper College

In my talk, “Purposeful International Education: Using a Peacebuilding Frame to Advance Global Objectives in Community Colleges,” I urged community colleges to continue to advance global education objectives.  However, in my view efforts can be unfocused and often do not result in lasting impact for students. Some observations I made include:

  • Community colleges have made significant contributions responding to the country’s major challenges
  • Never before have community colleges received so much attention in the press and by policymakers
  • Global competency is more important than ever today
  • We live in a boundary-less world and we must recognize that
  • Community colleges have experienced important demographic change especially from increasing immigrant and military populations
  • As educators, we must use this new found attention to bring focus to international education efforts
  • Internationalization needs to be infused throughout education. The strategy of “global education” as a separate category is unsustainable  in the long term
  • Community colleges are looking for creative ways of contributing to improving community life, both locally and globally
  • Often approaches that community colleges use are cursory and do not result in meaningful student change
  • Giving global education a peacebuilding focus makes for better outcomes and provides students with an understanding on how internationalization can bring about change
  • Peacebuilding approaches in areas such as dialogue, volunteerism, and education provide an  important “means” to peace, rather than an “ends.”

My talk was followed by several breakout sessions:

  • Susan Russell from Northern Illinois University presented on “Global Peace and Conflict Studies: Making Non-violence Relevant for American College Students.” Russell discussed, among other things, her work with youth in the Philippines.
NIU's Susan Russell talks about peacebuilding

NIU’s Susan Russell talks about peacebuilding

  • Mary Trujillo from North Park University talked on “Transformative Teaching: Peace Studies Meets General Education.” She shared approaches that can be used in the classroom to engage students in exploring controversial issues.
North Park University's Mary Tujillo

North Park University’s Mary Trujillo

  • Andrea Molnar from Northern Illinois University presented on “The Role of Peace Education in Conflict Transformation and Peace Building.” She focused on her work in southern Thailand.
Andrea Molnar from NIU

Andrea Molnar from NIU

  • Cris Toffolo from Northeastern Illinois University presented on  “Teaching Human Rights.” Toffolo explored a range of approaches that can be used in looking at human rights including those based in philosophy, law, and activism.
A human rights presentation by Cris Toffolo from NEIU

A human rights presentation by Cris Toffolo from NEIU

The conference was organized by the International Studies and Programs department at Harper College.   The director is Richard Johnson, and he can be reached at