Gateway Community College’s (GCC) Library and Learning Commons recently received $2,000 in funding support from the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to establish a new Peace Studies Special Collection which will serve as a resource center for educators, youth and families on topics related to nonviolence, justice and peacemaking.
As a part of the grant, the Library, in collaboration with GCC’s Social Science and Humanities departments, will host a discussion series, “Nonviolent Conflict Resolution: From the Personal to Communal, Local to Global,” to begin with a March 7 film screening and a discussion led by scholars in the field. GCC will also host April 22 a Big Read, a community-wide shared reading experience and book discussion.
“We have placed the Peace Studies Collection in our Library because of its truly collaborative learning environment. We are a Learning Commons, a gathering place where people can come together and learn from one another,” said Dr. Clara Ogbaa, GCC Library and Learning Commons director. “We want to take on issues that concern not only our students but the larger New Haven community such as finding non-violent solutions to resolving conflict.”
Gateway’s special collection will feature books, media sources and access to databases, focusing on nonviolent communication and international conflict resolution. Dr. Ogbaa, Carol Brutza, GCC Social Science professor of peace studies and language literacy, and Martha Hayes, Humanities professor, are building the collection and will facilitate the discussion series.
Gateway offers courses in peace and conflict studies and the college embeds civic action, mediation, health responses to violence, nonviolent communication and collaborative conflict resolution into its interdisciplinary curriculum. Violent conflict is one of the most serious problems in the world today and New Haven directly attempts to address community violence. The Gateway community is actively involved with many organizations that seek to understand the causes of this conflict and to examine ways to transform the culture to one of building a peaceful society.
The USIP is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. USIP works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security. USIP is headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Baghdad, Iraq, and Kabul, Afghanistan.
“USIP is pleased to support organizations like Gateway Community College and their contribution to the national conversation around international conflict – and methods for resolving those conflicts nonviolently,” commented USIP President Jim Marshall.
As part of its congressional mandate, USIP devotes a portion of its budget to support organizations that will advance the field of conflict management by developing new techniques, establishing best practices, and professionalizing the field through education and training. The Public Education for Peacebuilding Support is a program of USIP administered by the Institute of International Education.