STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 12/05/2013

Studying Swords and Plowshares

Gordon’s newest global education offering, the Balkans Semester, is an interdisciplinary, humanities-based program exploring war and peace. An estimated 14 students will form the first cohort in the spring of 2014, along with Gordon College sociology and philosophy faculty. Guest lectures will be given by faculty from the Universities of Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Pristina and other institutions, and by notable political, religious and literary figures.

For the first two months, students will live in Zagreb (the capital of Croatia) and take day and weekend trips to areas that were ravaged by war in the 1990s—and are still recovering. In early April the students
will leave Zagreb for a 10-day sojourn through the Balkans. They will spend the final three weeks on the Croatian coast in Dubrovnik, a medieval walled city with rich history, which was shelled in the 1990s by Montenegrin-Serbian forces.

Students will ponder questions such as: What is the essence of peace? What events and attitudes lead to war? How can a society recovering from war hope to establish lasting peace? What is a Christian response to war? And how might we formulate a distinctively Christian understanding of reconciliation? They will gain a broad foundation and range of tools for understanding and dealing with conflict and for promoting peace, whether in their daily lives or through more specialized fieldwork.