FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2009
Office of College Communication
WENHAM, MA—Amidst concerns of escalating conflicts abroad and polarizing debates at home, many academic and religious communities have begun wondering how best to respond.
“For years, military colleges have prepared young people for the possibility of war, but today some colleges are encouraging students to think about and work toward peace,” said Daniel Johnson, associate professor of sociology. “We believe Gordon is uniquely positioned to address issues of peace and reconciliation because of both our commitment to the liberal arts and our multi-denominational Christian heritage.”
In hopes of addressing such issues, an anonymous friend of Gordon College has recently made a major financial commitment to help launch a unique program geared toward studying peace and reconciliation. An initial $200,000 gift—along with a partnership with the College to raise an additional $200,000 over the next three years—will endow the Initiative for the Study and Practice of Peace, which will include several components set to begin by the fall of 2010.
The first aspect of the Initiative will provide grant opportunities for faculty and students at Gordon who are engaged in scholarship or interdisciplinary projects related to issues of peace, justice and reconciliation. The second program in the Initiative will fund an annual “Peace Lecture” series to bring noteworthy scholars and practitioners of peace to campus to discuss some of the work they’ve done to secure peace in places of conflict. The third component of the Initiative is earmarked for library resources around the issues of peace and reconciliation.
An advisory board consisting of two members of the Gordon faculty, Gordon’s Provost Dr. Mark Sargent, and two other members drawn from outside the College community will oversee these activities of the Initiative. They will also work to procure additional gifts for the College, with the aim of endowing a visiting professorship that would allow outside peace scholars to spend an entire semester at Gordon.
The activities of the Initiative will also complement an academic minor in peace and conflict studies, which a separate group of Gordon faculty are currently working to put together. The minor would offer new courses and internship opportunities for students working for peace.
“The gospel of Jesus is one of peace, and the ministry of Jesus is one of reconciliation,” said Johnson. “This Initiative for the Study and Practice of Peace is one way to begin putting some academic legs to these aspects of what we perceive is the gospel mandate. Such work demands an active engagement in the practices that make for peace, but part of our hope is also that people would see the role Gordon College is playing in promoting informed, thoughtful discussion about how to bring peace to our world.”