Monday, November 2, 2015

Peacebuilding celebrated in Kansas City
We're doing more here in Kansas City than celebrating our WORLD CHAMPION KANSAS CITY ROYALS. (Sorry, the caps lock must be stuck). Last weekend, representatives from Park University and several other area educational institutions got together to discuss the role of education as an essential peacebuilding tool.

The two day event started with academic presentations on Friday at Park University. Presenters discussed peacebuilding vis-a-vis philosophy, education, and teaching empathy.

On Saturday at Johnson County Community College, Park students Taylor Miller and Michael Dean (pictured) informed the 100 or so gathered about a project titled, "Reporting Syrian Refugees: Building Communities of Understanding in Turkey." The keynote speaker was David Smith (see his excellent blog about the event). He discussed “Peacebuilding and Education:  A Critical Nexus to Ensuring 21st Century Prosperity, Engagement, and a Better World”. Attendees also heard a fascinating presentation via Skype from Jamil Simon (Spectrum Media-Boston) about his film, "Fragile Islands of Peace (in Burundi)." The event was adeptly emceed by Rockhurst University's Bill Kriege, who closed the festivities with a fascinating introspective exercise.

As peace journalists, we must recognize the value of getting together with like-minded individuals and organizations dedicated to peacebuilding, and seize opportunities to leverage our networking, logistical, and financial assets. I've usually found that peace journalism/peace media is an excellent complement to projects across a wide spectrum of peacebuilding endeavors, include those involving education, health care, women's rights, the environment, etc.

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