FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2010
Office of College Communications
WENHAM, MA—From civil wars to domestic disputes, the daily news reveals what seems to be an increasingly violent world—and a growing need for peacemakers.
As many throughout the world observe the 28th International Day of Peace on Tuesday, September 21, Gordon College’s Department of Sociology and Social Work will launch its new Peace and Conflict Transformation minor to coincide with the global event.
As part of a two-day commemoration, Dr. David Steele, a leading scholar in peace studies and ordained minister who’s facilitated social transformation within situations of conflict in the Balkans, the Middle East, and South Asia, will speak on September 20 and 21 in a variety of settings across campus. On Tuesday, September 21, a new documentary film will be screened in the MacDonald Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The film “Little Town of Bethlehem” follows a Palestinian Christian, an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Muslim who seek to end the conflict in their area. Gordon is one of 100 colleges across the country hosting the film.
On Monday, September 20, Steele will speak on “Discipleship in an Insecure World” at 10:25 a.m. in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. Throughout the day, he will engage in student/faculty dialogues, visiting classes and participating in panel discussions on faith based approaches to conflict transformation. The “Launching Peacemakers” event—which introduces the new minor and will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Ken Olsen Science Center—will also feature Dr. Steele as he speaks on “The Vocation of Peacemaking and Conflict Transformation.” A reception will follow.
“This new minor in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies can equip students in any major to prevent, resolve and transform conflict in all areas of their lives: personal, social, organizational,” said Judith Oleson, associate professor of social work. “Violent conflict has escalated at community, national and global levels in the past decade, particularly among fundamentalist religious groups. It is crucial that a Christian college like Gordon provide leaders who can mediate options, diffuse violence, and facilitate partnerships around the globe towards a vision of Shalom.”
Several events are also planned for Tuesday, September 21, the Day of Peace—which include classroom discussions with Dr. Steele, a lunch with international students and students who have lived in conflict-ridden countries, and the film screening, which includes a panel response. The Jenks Library staff has also planned a weeklong exhibit of peace-related resources.
Dr. Steele’s lectures and the screening of “Little Town of Bethlehem” will be free and open to the public.