The International Education Peacebuilding Nexus

By: David J. Smith, December 2, 2014

International Education Week (IEW),  jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, is an opportunity to promote global approaches to teaching and learning.  This year it was held November 17-21, 2014, though educational programs are often held before and after the official week.

This year I had the opportunity to visit several community colleges during IEW: Prince George’s Community (MD), Butte College (CA), Northwest Vista College (TX), and Northern Virginia Community College.   During my presentations and programs, I emphasized the benefits of using a peacebuilding frame in promoting global education.   Often international education efforts, though well-meaning, are unfocused, inconsistent, and not coordinated. As a result, it is difficult to measure whether strategies are actually resulting in increasing awareness of international affairs, developing a worldview, and building skills that can advance working in global environments.

The Lederach/Mansfield Strategic Peacebuilding Pathways framework is useful in providing a model of how peacebuilding relates to global work.

Strategic Peacebuilding Pathways (Lederach/Mansfield, University of Notre Dame)

 

The framework is helpful in that it identifies specific career paths that students can pursue in engaging in international work including humanitarian action, education, trauma healing, and restorative justice.  Though I use the model in global applications, I find it works well in thinking about more domestic oriented career opportunities.  This is important with community colleges in that most graduates will work and live in the same communities where they attended school.  In looking at humanitarian action, in a global context we might explore careers with international NGOs like the International Committee of the Red Cross  or Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.  But humanitarian work can be also be found in working for a local aid group such as Habitat for Humanity or the local American Red Cross chapter.

Working with students at Butte College

Working with students at Butte College

During my visit to Prince George’s Community College (11/14/14) I explored with students the notion of “soft skills” that are often conflict focused, and how they might be applied in employment situations that have “global” contexts such as in hiring new employees who are recent immigrants.  At Butte College (11/17/14), students were asked to consider their views of peace and conflict.   Through this exploration, students came to understand differences often based in culture in how conflict is considered.  In a workshop with faculty,  I shared with them how peacebuilding can be used to foster dialogic approaches to learning about each other and international issues.   In a faculty program at Northern Virginia Community College (11/18/14),  we considered how peacebuilding using the Lederach/Mansfield frame can achieve objectives including global awareness.   Finally, at Northwest Vista College (11/24/14), students considered specific professional and personal situations where conflict resolution strategies would be helpful, especially where those in conflict are from different cultures and backgrounds.

Faculty workshop at Butte College

Faculty workshop at Butte College

Call for Proposals: International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education – Human Rights and Conflict Resolution: Tension and Opportunities

By: David J. Smith, December 1, 2015

Deadline Extended to January 7th, 2015

June 17 – 22, 2015

Hosted by The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University,

 Arlington, Virginia, USA 

Wednesday and Thursday, June 17  – 18, 2015 Pre-Conference Trainings
Friday and Saturday, June 19– 20, 2015 Main Conference – Keynotes and Workshops
Sunday and Monday, June 21– 22, 2015 Seminar for Colleges and Universities Developing Peace and Conflict Studies Programs

Keynote Speakers (June 19 – 20, 2015)

  • Luis Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
  • Suraya Sadeed, Executive Director, Help the Afghan Children; Author, Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse
  • Dr. Hal Saunders, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State; Director of International Affairs, Kettering Foundation; Former President, International Institute for Sustained Dialogue
  • Invited, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Coordinates the work of the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Women

Pre-Conference Trainings (June 17 – 18, 2015, 9:00a.m.-5p.m.)

Two-Day Pre-conference Trainings, Wednesday, June 17 and Thursday, June 18, 2015

  • Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR): Breaking Cycles of Violence, Eastern Mennonite University
  • Toward a Healthier Campus Community Through Sustained Dialogue: A Training for College and University Faculty, Staff, Administrators and Students, Sustained Dialogue Campus Network

One-Day Pre-Conference Trainings, Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 OR Thursday, June 18th, 2015

  • Teaching Peace Resources for College and University Classrooms and Tour (Wednesday, June 17th, 2015)

United States Institute of Peace (This workshop will take place at the USIP offices)

  • Human Rights Education in the Classroom (Thursday, June 18th, 2015) Human Rights Education Associates
  • The Elements of Teaching Peace Studies: A Pedagogical Workshop for Peace Studies Faculty (Thursday, June 18th, 2015) Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Education, Judith Herb College of Education, The University of Toledo.
  • The Organization of American States and its role in the promotion of democracy, human rights, and peacebuilding in the Hemisphere. Tour of OAS historic building. Engaging the youth in negotiation and conflict resolution through the Model OAS General Assembly for students (Thursday, June 18, 2015) Organization of American States (This workshop will take place at the OAS offices).

            And more…Check the web site in mid – December for a complete listing www.CREducation.org

The 2015 conference builds upon prior conferences in 2004 – 2013 in Ohio, and 2014 in Virginia, which brought together government representatives from among the 50 states and around the globe and their non-governmental organization partners who have legislation or policies in place on topics such as conflict management, human rights,  social and emotional learning, peace education, democracy education, civics education, and multi-cultural/global education at the K-12 level and in colleges and universities. Conference and meeting publications from seven of the conferences are available by clicking on the options on the right hand side of the web page at: http://www.creducation.org/cre/global_cre

The International Conference on CRE is an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and research. Presentations will focus on innovations in the fields that are making broad impacts in local, state, national, and international communities.  Participants will exchange best practices, evaluation methodology, creation of policy implementation structures, consideration of obstacles to success, and new and innovative use of training, resources and technology. Conference participants will be drawn from the local, state, national, and international community.  College students and faculty are encouraged to attend and present their findings.

Audience:  Those interested in Culturally Inclusive Conflict Resolution Education, Human Rights, Civic Engagement, Global Education/Citizenship, Conflict Resolution Education (CRE)/Social and Emotional Learning(SEL)/Peace Education (PE), Restorative Justice, Democracy Education, and Citizenship Education, including policy makers, practitioners, researchers, educators, college and university faculty, staff, and students, K-12 educators, public health officials, gender based violence prevention practitioners, local, national, and international policy makers, and individuals who work with youth serving organizations.

 

Planning Committee:

Antioch University

Austin Community College

Case Western Reserve University, Mandel School of Applied Social Science

Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Winning Against Violent Environment Program (WAVE)

Cuyahoga Community College

Eastern Mennonite University, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

Fairfax County Public Schools

George Mason University

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC)

International Foundation for Electoral Services (IFES)

Kennesaw State University, Master of Science in Conflict Management Program

University of Maryland, Center for Dispute Resolution

Northwest Vista Community College

Ohio State University, Center for Slavic and East European Studies

Organization of American States

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Sinclair Community College

Sustained Dialogue Institute

University of Toledo

Virginia Tech University

 

Themes for proposals:

 

  1. Topics may include prevention and intervention strategies (domestic and international) in Human Rights and CRE initiatives or closely related topics including:
Arts, Media, and Technology Career Paths in Conflict Resolution and Peace Citizenship Education/Democracy Education
Citizenship Responsibility Conflict Resolution Education/Peace Education in K-12 Conflict Resolution Skills
Dialogue-based Processes Faith-based Initiatives Family Engagement & Juvenile Justice: Partnering to Prevent Delinquency
Gang Prevention Gender Based Violence Prevention Intercultural Understanding/Cultural Sensitivity/Ethnic-Race Relations
Mediation – Peer, School, University, Community Negotiation Other Traditional and Local Culturally Relevant Approaches
Parent/School/Community Partnerships Reconciliation Restorative Justice/ Peacemaking Circles
Social and Emotional Learning Social Justice Special Education Dispute Resolution Processes
Trauma and Mental-health Building Capacity in Civil Society Community Policing
Protecting Vulnerable Populations Based on Age (youth and seniors), Ability (mental and physical), Gender, Sexual Orientation, etc. Indigenous Peoples Human Trafficking

 

 

 

  1. Proposals may highlight innovative education strategies in CRE:

 

Arts, Media, and Technology Building Democratic Classrooms Career Paths in Conflict Resolution and Peace
Community Development Curriculum Infusion/Integration Development of Peace and Conflict Studies Certificates/Programs at Colleges and Universities
Effective Family Engagement Strategies & Their Impact on School Climate Economic Fairness Faith-Based Initiatives
Family Engagement & Academic Outcomes Gender Dimensions Language – Bridging Gaps
Legislation/Policies/Standards Other Traditional and Local Culturally Relevant Approaches Race and Ethnicity
Service Learning Sexual Education and Violence Prevention Social Networks
Sports and Recreational Activities to Prevent Violence Strengthening Student-Teacher Relationships Student Clubs (Peace Clubs, International Clubs, Social Justice Clubs, etc)
Student Councils Whole School Approaches/Culture Change Youth Participation at a Local Level

 

  1. Research, policy, and evaluation on above themes:

Note - Presenters are asked to give emphasis to positive change strategies.  In addition, presenters are asked to begin their presentations by briefly providing the context for their work – to describe the challenge in the community briefly and then provide information on strategies used to address these challenges.  We invite proposals for organized panels, roundtable discussions, workshops and other creative contributions on the topics of:

  • Best practice program models for teaching and training at the national/regional/state/local level in K-12 and/or higher education;
  • Strategies for creating related policy/standards/legislation at the national/regional/state/local level;
  • Strategies for evaluating related programming;
  • Strategies for policy creation/implementation;
  • Some possible questions to address include:
    • What does scholarly research, across the disciplines, have to offer on the conference themes?
    • What political, social and economic structures best assist communities implementing conference themes and innovative policies and programs?
    • What case studies, negative and positive, can help us work through these issues?

 

Presentation Format Preferred (Select ONE):

  • Panel – You will be added to a panel and would have approximately 20 minutes to present, with 10 minutes for questions. You would be grouped with up to two other panelists.  If you want the 90 minutes, as you have 2+ people on your own panel, please make that notation so we know you do not need to be grouped with other presenters. 
  • Inter-active workshop – This is exactly as it sounds. You will have 90 minutes. 
  • Roundtable discussion – This would be a facilitative discussion for 90 minutes of the participants who come to your workshop, including your presenters.

 

Scheduling:  We will be scheduling workshops to balance content on Friday and Saturday. If you can only present on one of these days, please indicate that now as we cannot accommodate requests once the schedule has been set.

Priority will be given to proposals that share implementation of best practices in Human Rights and/or Conflict Resolution Education specifically at a local and/or global level in policies/standards/legislation and macro-level capacity building in states, regions, or countries.  Proposals should include how the policy or practice is culturally tailored to the demographics of the region in which it is being applied and what form of evaluation is being used in order to show effectiveness of the policy or practice. 

 

Criteria for Evaluation and Selection

  • Relevance and interest of topic
  • Demonstrated value and originality of topic
  • Appeal to varied categories of participants
  • Qualifications of presenter
  • Demonstrated experience and previous accomplishments
  • Creative mode of presentation (assuring varied modalities among the presentations).  Indication   of presentation methods which are suitable for the content
  •  Presentation of a well-thought-out argument
  • Topic of value to other policymakers/educators/researchers/prevention specialists working in the area of CRE and/or cultural inclusion

IMPORTANT: All presenters must register for the conference by April 10th, 2015 or that will signal to us that circumstances have changed and that you are no longer able to participate.   Special rates are available for those who register by April 10th, 2015.  Presenters registering before April 10, 2015, may register at a special reduced rate of $70 per day per person for the main conference June 19th – 20th (This includes lunch and is a discount of up to 60% off the general conference rate attendance rate), and $80 per day per person for any of the pre-conference trainings June 17th – 18th, 2015 (this includes lunch and is also discounted).  NOTE:  If a School District, College, or University is on the planning committee or chooses to be a sponsor, their students are able to register (with a valid student I.D.) for $30 per day for the main conference June 19th and 20th if they register by April 10th, 2015.  Sponsor forms are due December 7th, 2014.

General Hotel Information (Please note, all details will be provided on the conference web page in November to assist with booking):  For those needing hotel accommodation, a special rate of $149 per night plus applicable taxes (single/double room) is secured near the Arlington, Virginia Campus (a short metro ride away).

DEADLINES: All proposals are due by January 7th, 2015.  Submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail by January 7th, 2015 and all presenters will be notified as to whether they have been selected by January 8th, 2015.   If you do not hear from us by January 7th, 2015 and have submitted a proposal, please call us at 1-216-952-5609.   If you know that you can only attend the conference one day, either Friday or Saturday, please note this on your proposal. We will be scheduling workshops the day after acceptance letters are sent and we can not accommodate late requests to present on one day or the other. Late proposals will be reviewed, and may be accepted if there is space in the program.  Please return all proposals via e-mail to creconf@gmu.edu

Questions?  Call Jennifer Batton, Conference Coordinator, at 216-952-5609 or email her at creconf@gmu.edu

Does your organization want to be a partner or a sponsor?  Please contact Jennifer Batton, Conference Coordinator at 216-952-5609 or by email at creconf@gmu.edu for details.

Proposal Information Needed

Please send the following proposal information for consideration to Jennifer Batton at creconf@gmu.edu and be sure to address the four questions on the last page of the proposal.  All proposals are due by January 7th, 2015.  Additional conference details will be posted on the conference web page in early November at www.CREducation.org

 

Workshop Title:

Workshop Summary (no more than 200 words):

Presentation Format Preferred (Please circle ONE):  Panel – Roundtable Discussion – Inter-Active Workshop

Scheduling: Please note if you can ONLY present on Friday OR only on Saturday here.

Presenter Information:  We need details for EACH presenter.  If you need more room, please copy and paste.  We need to have emails for each person, in case we cannot reach the main contact at any stage.

  1. Presenter(s) Name: Presenter(s) Titles:

Organization/School/University:

Address where you would like correspondences sent:

Daytime Telephone Number:                                   Fax Number:

E-mail Address (required address):

Biographical Sketch – (no more than 200 words or we will not accept the proposal.  Please submit the summary in third person)

  1. Presenter(s) Name: Presenter(s) Titles:

Organization/School/University:

Address where you would like correspondences sent:

Daytime Telephone Number:                                   Fax Number:

E-mail Address (required address):

Biographical Sketch – (no more than 200 words or we will not accept the proposal.  Please submit the summary in third person)

  1. Please tell us how you see your proposal fitting with the Conference’s theme, “Human Rights and Conflict Resolution: Tensions and Opportunities”.
  • Legislation/policies/standards to deliver initiatives at the K-12  or Higher Education level
  • Legislation/policies/standards in colleges of teacher education or within other disciplines
  • Program best practices at the grassroots/community level, in government/non-profits, in primary/secondary schools, or in colleges/universities
  • Evaluation methodology
  • Innovations in use of media and technology
  • Creation of policy implementation structures
  • Consideration of obstacles to success
  1. Audience(s) for your presentation (Please circle all that apply):

College Administrators           College Faculty/Staff             College Students

K-12 Educators                                    Health Educators                    Gender Based Violence Prevention Practitioners

Public Policy Advocates         Social Workers                       Counselors

Safe School Centers                Departments of Education     Youth Serving Organizations

Juvenile Courts                                    Juvenile Detention Facilities Juvenile Prisons

Public Health Officials                        Policy Makers

  1. Briefly (one paragraph or less) share how the policy or practice is culturally tailored to the demographics of the region in which it is being applied.
  2. Briefly (one paragraph or less) share what form of evaluation is being used in order to show effectiveness of the policy or practice?

NATIONAL WEEK of ACTION in SOLIDARITY with the People of Ferguson, St. Louis and Beyond

By: David J. Smith, December 1, 2014

The Peace and Justice Studies Association, Center for Education Equity, The Sophia Project, Code Pink, Hands Up Coalition – D.C., and Why We Can’t Wait-D.C.,  call on all people of conscience to participate in a week of action to bring awareness about ending police violence against all people, especially people of color. This week of action begins Monday, December 1, 2014 and continues until December 5, 2014. We do this to stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and the larger St. Louis area.

The National Week of Action can involve any or all of the following:

1) Observing 4.5 minutes of silence at 12 noon outside your high-school, college campus building, business, government office, or place of worship.  This length of time is symbolic of the 4.5 hours Michael Brown’s body lay in the street after he was killed on August 9th, 2014.  His parents have asked for such an observance; beginning at 12:00pm each day

2) Conducting human rights teach-ins about police brutality, racism and racial profiling, civic responsibility, and nonviolent action

3) Organizing dialogues in your community on race, legal reforms, and methods of citizen oversight of law enforcement

4) Organize vigils, reflections and prayers in communities around police violence, the targeting of minority communities, and the militarization of our society.

If you would like to facilitate a teach-in or dialogue and need resources and/or contacts, please see the attached document titled “Learning from Ferguson & Beyond”.

This conversation cannot end! We cannot conduct business as usual!  Black lives matter! All lives matter!

We encourage all to act at whatever level appropriate and comfortable for your setting, but please do something.

Every act helps, no matter how small. We can stop the violence. Thank you for your participation to end police brutality.

It would be wonderful if you record your event and upload to thetruthtellingproject.org

Please forward this email, facebook and tweet this message using hashtags:

#fourandahalf

#speaktruth

#blacklivesmatter

Visit the facebook event and spread here.

CONTACTS:

Dave Ragland:845-475-8205, Visiting Professor, Bucknell University, Lewisburg PA, and a native of St. Louis, MO,and Co-Director;The Truth Telling Project :thetruthtellingproject.org.

Cris Toffolo: crisetoffolo@gmail.com. Professor & Chair, Justice Studies Department, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago IL.

Barbara Wien: Faculty Member, American University, Washington, D.C.

Alex Bodkin: The Truth Telling Project, bodkin@slu.edu: thetruthtellingproject.org

Creating Spaces for Emerging Peacebuilders at the Community College Level

By: Katie Zanoni, November 14, 2014*

PJSA 2014

Questioning the dominant paradigm of thinking that has shaped the reality that we live in offers a powerful opportunity. When I zoom outside of my own reality, I recognize the myriad dichotomies that have shaped my positionality within these socially constructed boundaries. The dichotomy of peace and war is one duality that if given space and time to explore can inhabit discussions around everything in between: nonviolence, social justice, human rights, conflict transformation, sustainability and so much more. What would emerge if additional academic environments were available to consider what possibilities might be imagined between and beyond the false binary of peace and war? Would future peacebuilders discover a world that is neither utopian in nature nor bellicose in spirit? As a peace and human rights educator, I was invited to delve into similar questions through my role of co-creating a new Peace Studies (1) Associate degree at San Diego City College (SDCC), a community college that serves an estimated 16,000 students in southern California (Fact Book: City College, 2014). This experience allowed us to sow seeds of institutional change to advance a curriculum steeped in critical pedagogy to explore foundational concepts in Peace Studies and awaken our collective moral imagination to surpass our existing understanding of war and peace (Lederach, 2005). (2)

The germination of these seeds has resulted in two crucial accomplishments. The first is the creation of the only approved Peace Studies Associate Degree in California. The second is that Peace Studies is now a recognized discipline as authorized by the California Academic Senate for Community Colleges. According to research conducted by David Smith, author of Peacebuilding in Community Colleges (2013), SDCC is one of twenty-one campuses in the United States with a similar program. As Smith points out, there are close to 1,200 community colleges in this country. With almost ten percent of those colleges housed in the state of California, these achievements could serve as a viable path for other colleges to institute a similar initiative. To this end, I offer a brief summary of the process we took at SDCC and a summary of a recent visioning exercise that took place at the 2014 Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) conference. The following steps highlight how we gained campus, district and statewide support for our Peace Studies Associate Degree.

Peace Studies Program at San Diego City College
Required courses from other disciplines: Issues in Environmental Biology; Introduction To Philosophy: Values; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Contemporary International Politics; and Introduction to Literature.

New Peace Studies courses (number of students enrolled from 2009-2014): Introduction to Peace Studies (389 students); Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution (261 students); Environmental Sustainability, Justice and Ethics (217); and Field Experience in Peace Studies.

(Data collected from San Diego City College records and from http://www.sdcity.edu/PeaceStudies

Step 1: Create an interdisciplinary Peace Studies Curriculum Advisory Committee.

Our team represented faculty from an Anthropological, Philosophical, Biological, Literary, and Peace Studies perspective. In 2001, the faculty initiated the development of this program and drew on the strength of an inter-departmental curriculum committee to establish institutional alliances among other faculty, administrators, and students on campus. In addition to creating the foundation for an authentically interdisciplinary program, our committee members supported this budding initiative during critical budget cuts. This unified voice was supported by the former campus President and resulted in a multilevel effort to launch the program.

Step 2: Survey existing courses at four-year institutions of higher education and community college campuses.

This process offers multiple outcomes including the establishment of sound curriculum, the creation of a network of peace educators, and a survey of where similar courses might articulate into four-year academic institutions. Articulation is vital to the success of a newly developed program at a community college. Our curriculum committee was advised that 80% of the courses in our proposed major should articulate with at least three four-year institutions. While all of the abovementioned outcomes are equally valued, the last point regarding articulation requires more discussion among educators in higher education to collaborate on the development of rising Peace Studies programs at the community college level.

The committee carefully considered existing courses and researched our own disciplines to engage in rich discussions about what would be included and what would be articulated. The campus curriculum committee advised us that the course focused on environmental sustainability was more appropriate as an upper division level and belonged to the four-year institutions. This led the committee to ask the critical question of what structural blockages exist in originating new and innovative curriculum as a community college. Infusing issues of ecology, sustainability, and environmental ethics was crucial to our committee and when this course was criticized based upon the premise that it may not articulate, we were faced with a difficult decision. Do we follow the academic trends of our receiving institutions or do we generate opportunities for our students to engage in relevant content? This conversation deserves more attention and is a area of exploration in connecting four-year institutions to community colleges to create more transfer pipelines and engage in a deeper pedagogical inquiry about generating new curriculum in higher education.

Step 3: Institutionalize the program, courses and the discipline.

Each semester our committee was presented with frightening statistics of classes being cut and concerns that our program might be scaled back. Our committee took great lengths at promoting our program among our student body, within our community, our campus and our state. However, a paradoxical issue arose that further threatened our program. According to some interpretations, one with a Masters Degree in Peace Studies was not eligible to teach Peace Studies due to the fact that it was not a recognized discipline as determined by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. In order to remedy this issue, our committee proposed a resolution in 2010 and in 2012 to the Academic Senate to have Peace Studies added to the discipline list to avoid further confusion. After the initial proposal was denied in 2010, we revised and resubmitted our proposal and received overwhelming support that resulted in the approval of the discipline in April of 2013.

This step represents a significant success for several reasons. In 2012, there were at least seventeen colleges in California offering courses with the term “peace” included in the title. With a new Peace Studies discipline, faculty can hire academics with a graduate degree in Peace Studies or the equivalent to teach these courses. The benefit of this development is that the creation of a new discipline does not preclude a college from hiring a Political Scientist to teach a Peace Studies course housed in the Political Science department. In the contrary, it offers the freedom to increase the hiring pool to include professors with a Peace Studies graduate degree. A second benefit is that community colleges hoping to design similar initiatives can lean on the credibility that comes with establishing a stand-alone discipline. Graduates from Peace Studies can continue to be recognized as experts in the field thus resulting in a broader range of peace educators in the academy.

Step 4: Create a preferred future for the Peace Studies program at SDCC.

Drawing from the work of Elise Boulding, a visioning workshop was presented at the 2014 PJSA conference to identify how the degree program could be expanded, further institutionalized, and duplicated. The visioning exercise was co-facilitated to address limitations and invite new recommendations for Peace Studies programming in California. The visioning exercise was organized around the following inquiry: What strategies can be used to increase awareness and build community to strengthen Peace Studies programming within higher education in California?  Participants brainstormed ideas in small groups using the backcasting model to “create a preferred image of the state of Peace Studies at the college level in California in 2050” (Bodinet & Zanoni, 2014). The conversations resulted in ideas that included, 1) the need to institutionalize Peace Studies within formal schooling in the United States from kindergarten through to the collegiate level, 2) the recommendation to gain support on a national, state, and district wide policy level to recognize Peace Studies as a viable and necessary component to our educational system (3), and 3) the desire to integrate topics related to Peace Studies within existing disciplines in the formal educational system in the United States. Indeed, this is just the beginning of a larger conversation that we wish to open up to all stakeholders invested in creating educational spaces where our minds and hearts are opened to invite social action toward transformation to consider a world where sustainable positive peace is possible.

Notes:

(1) For the purpose of this article, Peace Studies is the discipline referred to throughout and encompasses all related programs within the umbrella of Peace and Conflict Studies.
(2) According to John Paul Lederach (2005), the moral imagination is the “capacity to imagine something rooted in the challenges of the real world yet capable of giving birth to that which does not yet exist” (p. ix).
(3) Examples from the Philippines, Costa Rica, and Kenya can be drawn from to review national policy that have included language on peace education.

References:

-  Bodinet, J. & Zanoni, K. (2014). “Institutionalizing Peace Studies at San Diego Community College”. Workshop at the Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference on “Courageous Presence”, San Diego, CA.
–  Fact Book: City College. (2014). Retrieved from http://research.sdccd.edu/docs/Research Reports/College and District Fact Books/2014/Fact_Book_City_2014.pdf
–  Lederach, J. P. (2005). The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. Oxford, MA: Oxford University Press.
–  Smith, D. (2013). Peacebuilding in Community Colleges: A Teaching Resource. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.

About the Author:

Katie Zanoni served as the Peace Studies Curriculum Advisory Chair at San Diego City College from 2007-2013 and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree at the University of San Francisco in International and Multicultural Education with a concentration in Human Rights Education. For more information about the SDCC Peace Studies program or to join the conversation to envision the further institutionalization of Peace Studies in formal educational settings at the Community College, please contact Katiezanoni@gmail.com.

Portions of this article appeared in the Peace and Justice Studies Association Newsletter (Winter 2014) under the title, “Community Colleges: A Home for Future Peacebuilders” by Katie Zanoni and were edited and updated for this publication.

*This piece originally appeared in the Global Campaign for Peace Education Newsletter #115, November 2014

Ebola-Fragility Tandem: From Epidemic to Instability…

David J. Smith:

An important analysis of the conflict implications of Eloba.

Originally posted on African Praxis:

The Ebola virus has started a vicious journey in each of the countries at the epicenter of the epidemic: Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. A journey that most likely began in the forest of the Mano river region; resulting in multiple deaths, destruction of families and communities and inexorably destabilizing existing fragile systems (health, education, economic, domestic and cross border trade), as well as state institutions.

The rising human toll of more than 2 700 deaths according to the World Health Organization is worrisome; and the predictions from health officials to contain this virus are not encouraging at the moment. According to most health experts and specialized institutions, the situation in West Africa will deteriorate before getting better (hopefully). Unfortunately, the death toll and to some extent the economic impact are just the visible tip of the iceberg. Currently, the institutional and social impacts of the Ebola epidemic are yet…

View original 587 more words

Soft Skills, Conflict Resolution, and Workforce Preparation

By: David J. Smith, November 3, 2014

I have previously written about the need for career education, particularly at the community college level, to emphasis “soft skills” as part of vocational preparation.  Programs often focus significant attention on technical skills without recognizing that it is often soft skills which make the difference in a new employee succeeding at work.   Fields where interpersonal interaction is a significant part of the work environment must especially give equal attention to preparing  new employees to deal with conflict, cultural diversity, working in teams,  sorting out competing priorities, and other situations where soft skills are demanded.

A good example is nursing, where young nurses can find themselves in situations where they are dealing with hostile co-workers and supervisors.  Lena Choudhary of Anne Arundel Community College (MD) in “Lateral Violence in Healthcare Environments: Anne Arundel Community College’s Approach to Teaching Conflict Management Skills” (page 14), published in the May 2014 edition of Nevada RNFormation, addresses approaches to preparing entry level nurses for dealing with conflict.   Other career education fields would be wise to consider developing similar instructional strategies.

On October  30, 2014 at Cuyahoga Community Community in Cleveland, OH I offered a workshop for students titled “Peace, Conflict and Careers: How Can I Become a Professional Peacebuilder?”  The objective of the 90 minute session was to have students reflect on ways in which their careers can benefit from applying soft skills. I was hosted by the Global Issues Resource Collaborative.

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I shared statistics from  Consulting Psychologists Press which points to the need to focus on negotiation and conflict sensitive skills.   For instance, the average worker spends 2.8 hours a week dealing with conflict in the office. And 42% of employees felt that their employers needed to do a better job of addressing personal conflicts in the workplace. “Chronic unresolved conflict” is the deciding factor in 50% of cases where an employee decides to leave his job, and is one of the primary reasons cited in 90% of terminations.

Working on a list of skills

Working on a list of skills

Next, I asked students to consider 3 soft skills/abilities and how they might be used in the workplace.  This was done in groups.  Students responded with skills/abilities such as listening, negotiating, taking leadership, and cultural sensitivity.  The lists were then posted around the room.

Students running their skit

Students running their skit

Finally, working again in groups (but reconfigured), I had students consider scenarios where employees were faced with conflict at work.  Students were asked to pick the necessary skills they might apply from the lists, and finally present a short skit on how the situation might run if the skills were used.  Scenarios  included a new nurse facing hostility from a supervisor because of her ethnicity, a young staff accountant dealing with an angry client, and a  volunteer firefighter standing up to his fellow firefighters who are bullying a new member because of her sexual identity.  They are attached below.

"Acting out" the solution

“Acting out” the solution

I find that students on career paths can identify the soft skills needed in dealing with others, resolving conflict, and promoting cultural differences at work. However, faculty infrequently provide opportunities for students to work on these skills.

THE NEW NURSE PDF David J. Smith 10.2014

TROUBLES DURING TAX SEASON PDF David J. Smith 10.2014

THE NEW VOLUNTEER AT THE FIRE STATION PDF David J. Smith 10.2014

“A Year of Social Justice” at Anne Arundel Community College

By: David J. Smith, October 21, 2014

In these two short interviews, I talk about my presentation at Anne Arundel Community College and the meaning of social justice.

Interview at Anne Arundel Community College on social justice, October 1, 2014

Interview at Anne Arundel Community College on social justice, October 1, 2014

 

David Smith defines social justice at AACC, October 1, 2014

David Smith defines social justice at AACC, October 1, 2014