Conflict occurs constantly ― in families, workplaces, communities, and throughout the world. Why do some conflicts erupt into violence and violations of human dignity, while other conflicts result in creative, positive solutions? How do we resolve our differences productively?
Undergraduates from colleges and universities challenge themselves and others to answer such questions at Grinnell’s Peace Studies Student Conference, March 2–3, sponsored by the Peace Studies Program.
The conference includes:
- A keynote panel on “Dilemmas over Dams,”
- Several student panels, and
- The insightful political comedy of Scott Blakeman and Dean Obeidallah.
Dilemmas over Dams
At Friday night’s keynote panel, “Dilemmas over Dams,” a scientist and an anthropologist will give their perspectives on the environmental and human rights dilemmas over big dam projects. The presentations include:
- David Campell, professor of biology and environmental studies at Grinnell, on “Three Dams on Three Rivers: the Xingu, the Narmada, and the Yangtze;” and
- Barbara Rose Johnston, senior research fellow at the Center for Political Ecology at University of California-Santa Cruz, on “Water and Human Rights: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures?”
StandUp for Peace
In “StandUp for Peace,” Blakeman and Obeidallah bring their unique blend of political humor to their “two-comedian solution to Middle East peace.” Obeidallah, a Palestinian American, and Blakeman, a Jewish American, are internationally-known comedians who teamed up to use comedy to help bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians. The event is co-sponsored by the Peace Studies Program, Chalutzim, and the Student Government Association.
The core of the biennial peace studies conferences is the student panels. This year’s panels cover topics such as law and conflict, genocide, hunger and disease, international conflicts, survivor-centered approaches to human rights, and embodied performance.
The panels create a space for students and faculty of different disciplines and interests to share ideas on the common themes of peace and conflict studies. The presentation panels are designed to give students an opportunity to present their ideas in a formal and professional setting, to receive constructive feedback from a faculty discussant, and to discuss those ideas with an audience of peers.
“The concept of sharing writing — something so personal — is terrifying,” explains Mona Ghadiri ’11, who presented at the 2010 conference. “I really loved the Peace Studies Conference because it was the perfect blend of strangers and friends. They were listening and critiquing, but I wasn't overly intimidated. It was also really great for later on, when I presented at formal conferences. It's like I had a leg up. I knew what to expect. I knew the format. That made me more comfortable.”
All events are open to the public. See the Peace Studies Conference schedule for times and locations.