Community Colleges Give Peace Studies a Chance

Monday, March 12, 2018
 

By Michael C. Bingham

 
 

Event Schedule

Peace Building Institutes 

The Peace Building Institutes at Connecticut Community Colleges will host Dr. Amada Benavides de Perez, president of the Bogata, Colombia-headquartered Schools of Peace, for four events spanning three days at Gateway, Norwalk and Housatonic Community Colleges. 
All events are free and open to the public. To learn more contact cbrutza@gatewayct.edu or cbedoya-rose@gwcc.commnet.edu. 


  • April 3 — “However Long It Takes” (lecture). Benavides de Perez will discuss the prolonged Colombian civil war, negotiations with the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and associated peace agreements, challenges between hope and fear and the continuing development of cultures of peace with a strong local vision. Lecture followed by Q&A conducted in English and Spanish for students, faculty, staff and community members. 10:45 a.m.-noon in Room S211, Gateway. Contact cbrutza@gatewayct.edu, cbedoya-rose@gwcc.commnet.edu.
  • April 3 — “Creating Curriculum and Training Teachers K-University in Peace-Building.” Discussion / workshop for faculty, staff and community educators sponsored by Center for Teaching. 1:45-3 p.m. in Room N301, Gateway. Contact/RSVP erusso@gwcc.commnet.edu. 

  • April 4 — “Creative Leadership for Peace” (panel discussion). 9 a.m.-noon (panel discussion, keynote address), 2-4 p.m. (workshops) at Norwalk Community College. Contact Hmoeckel-rieke@norwalk.edu; aaluma- Cazorla@norwalk.edu.
  • April 5 —Creating Curriculum and Training Teachers K-University in Peace-Building.” Discussion/ workshop for faculty, staff and community educators sponsored by Center for Teaching. 2-3:30 p.m. at Housatonic Community College. Contact smark@hcc.commnet.edu. 


Dr. Amada Benavides de Perez, president of the Bogata, Colombia-headquartered Schools of Peace, will be the featured speaker at the 2018 Peace Building Institutes at Connecticut Community Colleges. The noted international peacemaker will keynote an interdisciplinary conference on building bridges that foster and facilitate understanding and cooperation that transcend national borders. The event, which includes lectures, workshops and a panel discussion, will take place April 3-5 at Gateway, Housatonic and Norwalk Community Colleges. 

The events are sponsored in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Peace, Collaboration and Conflict (IPCC) Certificate program at Gateway Community College. The initiative promotes knowledge and skills to help students build and sustain a culture of non-violence in their communities. 

Director of the Fundacion Escuelas de Paz in Bogata, Dr. Benavides de Perez is also an officer in the Geneva, Switzerland-based High Commission on Human Rights and a member of the Advisory Board Global Campaign on Peace Education, the Hague Appeal for Peace. 

Gateway humanities and social-science professor Carol Brutza helped to organize both the school’s Interdisciplinary Peace, Collaboration and Conflict (IPCC) Certificate and the 2018 Peace Building Institutes programs. The 15-credit IPCC curriculum spans academic departments including humanities, philosophy, anthropology and human services. Required courses include Introduction to Peace & Conflict Studies (HUM 125), Mediation (HSE 212) and Ethics (PHL 111). 

“We’ve been involved in the peace-education business for quite a while — about seven years,” Brutza explains. Many students involved in the certificate program are majoring in human services, anthropology and social work, she adds. 

The April event “is part of a larger network of peace-education groups around the world sponsoring conferences and hosting institutes” such as next month’s community-college event, Brutza adds.  

Keynoter Benavides de Perez has been an active observer and participant in her native Colombia’s protracted civil war, as well as an advocate for peace education in her native country and the United States. “Amada has been very influential in building up a whole peace curriculum in [kindergarten] through 12 schools around the country and at the university level,” Brutza explains.  

Under her guidance Gateway has assumed a leading role in advancing peace studies and developing an interdisciplinary academic approach in Connecticut and beyond. At Gateway, “We have a thriving group of people, faculty and staff, who are doing a lot of work toward peace education, peace sustainability, conflict resolution and workplace conflict,” she says. And that work will be on display next month for conference attendees and participants. 

All events are free and open to the public. For additional information contact Carol Brutza at cbrutza@gatewayct.edu or phone (203) 285-2109.