Peace Studies Conference focuses on challenges facing Africans today

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September 10, 2012

The 25th annual Peace Studies Conference will be held Monday, Sept. 17, in room 204, Gorecki Dining and Conference Center, College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn. The sessions begin at 1 p.m.  The theme of the conference is, "Challenges Facing Africans Today." 

Major events are as follows:

  • Ernest Harsch, journalist and editor, speaks on "An African Spring in the Making? Challenging the State in Sub-Saharan Africa," at 1 p.m.  Harsch has spent over three decades writing about Africa. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York City, taught at Columbia University in New York City and currently is a research scholar affiliated with Columbia University's Institute of African Studies. Harsch has various publications, including monographs, book chapters and journal articles, as well as books focused on the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the Angolan War of Independence.
  • Hiwote Bekele, CSB/SJU United African Students' Association member, moderates an African Students' Forum on "Challenges Facing Africans Today," from 2:40 to 3:50 p.m. Student presenters during this time include CSB sophomore Hiwote Bekele, CSB junior Victoria Adofoli, CSB senior Hudda Ibrahim and SJU senior Seyi Alabi.
  • Hudda Ibrahim, CSB senior and director of the Women's Health and Advancement Programs at Community Grassroot Solutions (CGS), leads a panel entitled "Challenges Facing the St. Cloud Somali Community," from 4:20 to 5:30 p.m.  There will also be various presentations throughout this time, including topics such as "Housing" by Abdul Kulane of CGS, "Health and Culture" by Salmaan Mustafa of the American Refugee Committee, "Education" by Jama Alimad, director of CGS, and "Women," presented by Ibrahim.
  • Patricia Mische, CSB alumna, presents "Women, Peace-building and Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Kenyan Case Study," at 7 p.m. Mische graduated from CSB in 1961 and joined Teachers for East Africa, a program intended to advance educational development in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Mische holds her doctorate in international educational development from the Columbia University Teacher's College in New York City and was the Lloyd Professor of Peace Studies and World Law at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She has given more than 1,000 workshops, presentations, and courses related to peace and global education in over 50 countries. 

Mische also established the Mische Peace Studies scholarship. During the conference, the first SJU recipient of the Mische Peace Studies scholarship, Reynaldo Ortega, a senior peace studies and sociology major will be announced. Ibrahim will be the third CSB student to receive the scholarship. Kathy Parker, director of the CSB/SJU libraries, will publicly thank Mische for the donation of her book collection to Clemens library at CSB.

Over the past 25 years, a variety of topics have been covered, ranging from homelessness and the death penalty to the legitimation of violence. Past speakers include Rajmohan Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson; Nancy Giles, journalist, actor and comedian and Jim Northrup, author and journalist. This conference has been supported over the years by a generous donation from Robert and Lorraine Breitenbucher, Edina, Minn.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Ron Pagnucco at rpagnucco@csbsju.edu. The Peace Studies Conference is co-sponsored by the CSB/SJU Department of Peace Studies, CSB/SJU Center for Global Education, CSB/SJU Peace Studies Club, CSB Campus Ministry, Sister Nancy Hynes Institute for Women's Leadership, CSB/SJU United African Student Association, CSB/SJU Intercultural Center and CSB/SJU Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement.