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UTS Faculty Attend Kroc Summer Institute for International Peace Studies

Six UTS faculty and faculty-administrators attended a three-day virtual Summer Institute sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame from June 14-16. Attendees were Drs. Thomas Ward, Michael Mickler, Keisuke Noda, Andrew Wilson, Dryssa Kone and UTS Registrar and Assistant Academic Dean Ute Delaney. UTS co-founder, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s has expressed interest in UTS moving forward in the field of international peace studies.

The Kroc Institute is one of the world’s leading centers for the study of the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace. Its Summer Institute brings together teams of academics interested in launching peace studies programs or strengthening established programs The institute has hosted 400+ attendees from over 100 different institutions across six continents. Applications are required and UTS was pleased to receive notice of acceptance.

Prior to the event, UTS attendees were given access to a suite of course materials that included pre-recorded lectures, PowerPoints, and an array of online text, video and audio resources. The Summer Institute, itself, included morning and afternoon sessions as well as late afternoon online “Happy Hours” and open discussion. The program roughly divided into three general categories of two sessions each. The first dealt with nuts and bolts of setting up a peace studies program. The second dealt with specific issues of conflict resolution and enabled attendees to see first-hand how peace researchers from the Kroc Institute faculty approach peace problems. The third dealt with contemporary hot button questions of “colonization” and racism from the standpoint of peace activists. All of the sessions were interactive with Q&A and breakout groups.

UTS attendees were particularly interested in the session devoted to “Building a Successful Program.” George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies and Director of the Institute, spoke on “Starting and Surviving” and noted that historically successful programs stand on two legs: a clear understanding of the program’s purposes and academic niche; and consistency with the institutional mission. Additional topics covered in the session were curriculum content, options for practical experience, building a vibrant community, preparing peace professionals and communicating to wider audiences. An added bonus was the opportunity for UTS attendees to engage George Lopez in a breakout session.

Peace Studies is an interdisciplinary field drawing on political science, sociology, history, anthropology, theology, psychology, philosophy, and other fields. It was clear from the sessions that numerous peace researchers and activists come to the field as a second discipline or combine it with work in a related area. Many come to the field from religious studies. The first institutions to offer peace studies were religiously-based colleges and though increasingly scientific and empirical, peace studies remains deeply influenced by religious traditions. In concert with the Seminary’s existing M.A. concentration in “Interfaith Peacebuilding” and in coordination with peace initiatives initiated by the sponsoring church, UTS attendees came away encouraged and inspired by the direction the Seminary is heading.