My friend Addy had to go for her Peace and Justice First Year Seminar and my friend Colleen was taking part in it, so I decided to go too! One thing I have tried really hard to do this year is to have all of my homework done before dinner. This enables me to go to all the club meetings and presentations I want to attend without having to rush home to get back to homework. So far, it's been mostly successful.
|The schedule in the program|
I was a little unsure of what to expect at the Peace Pledge Ceremony, but it was actually pretty cool! First there was an introduction by Laurie Gagne. She's a professor and the Director of the Edmundite Center for Peace and Justice. She set the tone for the ceremony by talking about all the terrible, violent things we hear about on the news and all the peaceful things that get left out.
Ten people then read the Assissi Peace Pledge. Five Muslims and Five Christians read it this year. My friend, Colleen, read the sixth part of the pledge, which read:
We commit ourselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort both to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.
|Colleen reading from the Peace Pledge|
Then we read the Prayer of St. Francis. It's one of my favorites because we said it every day before my Calculus class last year, so it makes me remember my high school and my awesome math teacher. It's a really beautiful, peaceful prayer.
Colman McCarthy was this year's keynote speaker. He was a fantastic speaker. He has written for the Washington Post and The New Yorker, among other great newspapers, and he is currently a professor at Georgetown. He told us that he does not have any tests or papers in his class, that he believes in the idea of 'free learning', without the constraint of evaluation. It's definitely an interesting idea. I could tell from listening to him speak that he cared a lot about peace and peace studies.
His main theme was that we were not being taught enough about peace and conflict resolution. He demonstrated this by getting us involved. He gave us a little "quiz", offering $100 to anyone who could answer all six questions correctly. The first three questions were identifying people who were involved in conflicts, like Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. Most people in the audience knew who they were. Then he named people like Jeannette Renkin and Barbara Lee. No one had any clue who they were. They were people who worked for peace. It was a really great way to show us that we don't know much about peace studies.
Behind Colman McCarthy, you can see the yellow GOT S.K.I.L.L.S.? banner. GOT S.K.I.L.L.S. is the campaign for Dignity and Diversity on campus. They bring a ton of really cool speakers to campus. Last month, I watched the documentary Without A Home and the film maker, Rachel Fleischer, was there for a Q&A. And two weeks ago, River Huston, spoke about "Surviving the Weekend". Another cool thing about GOT S.K.I.L.L.S. is that every time you go to an event, you fill out a survey at the end. This survey puts you in a raffle for prizes. If you get 10 tickets in the raffle, you get entered into a special drawing for one of the top three housing lottery numbers in your grade. That would be an awesome prize.