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“Teaching Global Conflict and Peacebuilding” Seminar for Community College Faculty at Montgomery College, Oct. 12-15


Montgomery College will host a four-day professional development workshop to provide faculty members in the area and across the country with the opportunity to learn from each other, to develop specific curricular projects and activities, and to discover the wealth of government and NGO resources available in the DC metropolitan area. The workshop takes place October 12-15 at the Montgomery College-Germantown Campus, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown, MD. In almost any field of study, today’s community college faculty encounter and address student questions related to fundamental elements of international and community conflict, global strife, ethnic unrest, violence and war. Consequently, there is an effort to seek peaceful relations, the resolution of conflict, and the building of nurturing and sustainable communities.

  • In a physics class, a student asks about verification of nuclear test bans or the impact of the use of chemical and biological weapons.
  • In a psychology class, a student asks about the Milgram experiments as well as the causes and remedies to post traumatic stress disorder.
  • In an English class, students find themselves writing about the economic and social justice debates surrounding conflict minerals and how they are used in technology.
  • In a mathematics class, students debate the fairness of competing methods used to count votes in elections in emerging democracies.
  • In an environmental biology class, students ask about the connection between desertification and the conflict in Darfur.
  • In a language class, students experience the challenges of understanding a new culture.
  • In a religion class, students seek to understand the multiple meanings of terms like reconciliation and jihad.
  • In a government class, students inquire about the role of the United Nations in resolving global conflict and role that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play in ameliorating the effects of war.
  • Political science and criminal justice students grapple with learning about local, national and international judicial mechanisms for addressing violations of international law.
  • Even when faculty members in these fields do not view themselves as teaching about global conflict and peacebuilding, their course content and desire to respond to student inquiries lead them to deal with the fields’ fundamental questions: What can we do to bring conflicted parties together and to find common goals? What personal, economic, political, and social transformations can help to prevent future conflicts?

Participating Organizations and Field Day: Presentations, site visits, and resources are expected from a range of Washington-based NGOs, government agencies, and educational groups including the American Red Cross, Organization of American States, and U.S. Institute of Peace. One day of the seminar is planned as a “field day” where participants can visit Capitol Hill and their congressional representatives.

During the 4-day seminar, participants will: a) receive training and information conducted by local resources, such as the American Red Cross’s International Humanitarian Law education program, b) participate in pedagogical workshops and discussions, conducted by a variety of groups, including the Montgomery College Peace and Justice Studies Community, c) develop a tangible project (such as an activity or lesson) that can be used upon return to the participant’s home institution, and d) attend meetings with representatives from government agencies (including the U.S. Institute of Peace), international groups and organizations (such as the Organization of American States) and NGOs in Washington, DC.

Participants will receive a copy of Peacebuilding in Community Colleges: A Teaching Resource edited by David J. Smith and published by the United States Institute of Peace Press.

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