Sunday, February 22, 2015

East Africa inspires Arizona faculty to internationalize

(Tempe, AZ)--Peace journalism isn’t just for journalists.

That was my message on Friday at a Global Forum held at Maricopa Community Colleges conference center in Tempe, Arizona. The forum, titled, “East Africa—Conflict, Peace, and Reconciliation,” brought together about 50 faculty members from several MCC campuses along with a handful of students.

During my presentation, we talked about the need in East Africa (and elsewhere) for more responsible media that consider the consequences of their reporting while eschewing sensationalism and inflammatory language. One astute colleague pointed out during the Q&A that the term “peace” is itself weighed down with all kinds of meaning, and can lead to assumptions about PJ practitioners having an agenda. I agreed, noting that it is indeed ironic that the word peace is itself inflammatory.

My session followed several informative morning presentations about the geography of East Africa and the history of conflicts in East Africa, and an excellent afternoon panel of teachers who gave examples of how they internationalize their curricula. One great example is an annual Genocide Awareness Week held at MCC’s Scottsdale Community College campus.

The goal for all the presenters was not just to inform faculty about East Africa, but to give faculty ideas about how they might infuse content about the region, about peace media, or about genocide awareness into the courses they teach. Based on our vibrant discussion at the conclusion of the forum, I’m confident MCC students will soon be enjoying even more internationalized courses.

NEXT WEEK: Reports from "Gather +962", a meeting of peacemakers at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

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