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Turning Back the Hands of the Doomsday Clock

According to the Doomsday Clock, humanity is only 2 minutes away from the chaotic midnight hour. The hour of humanity’s apocalypse is very near. However, Mount St. Mary’s University hopes to help change the hands of time with a newly designed major intended to combat conflict and cultivate peace. The major will be introduced with a lecture being presented by George Lopez, Ph.D, a fervent peacemaker in the face of the chaos.

lopez-in-text.jpgLopez will lecture on “Challenges of the New Peacebuilding: At Home and Abroad” on Tuesday, September 10 at 4 p.m. in Knott Auditorium. The lecture will help students understand the structure of the Mount’s new major, Conflict, Peace, and Social Justice. Both the lecture and major will inform Mount students about the proper tools to cultivate peace within the world.

The Conflict, Peace,and Social Justice major, also known as CPSJ, intersects with some of the major themes of the lecture. According to Political Science Professor Kristen Urban, “the major allows students to live lives of significance and is grounded in the long history of Catholic Social Teaching.” The program educates students in the process of creating a more peaceful society through three main tracks: the global sphere, American society, and personal and interpersonal conflict or trauma. 

The founding director and professor at the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Lopez for 33 years has conducted on-the-ground negotiations in countries such as North Korea, El Salvador, and Iraq. Furthermore, he has developed peacebuilding education platforms at the collegiate level in Poland, Colombia and Ecuador. This steered him into serving as an advisor for the United Nations and various governments to tackle issues that cause humanitarian crises.

As a director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 2002, Lopez presided over moving the Doomsday Clock two minutes forward. Though the clock moved closer to midnight, Lopez remains a fervent peacemaker. He hopes the Mount is another stop on his journey to cultivate peace in America and internationally.

The lecture is focused on the challenges of peacebuilding facing all of humanity. The challenges will be discussed in the context of traditional Catholic social teaching. It will answer questions such as: How can we create a just peace at home? and How do we move from “states of violence” to peace?

Both Lopez, through his work, and the CPSJ major seek to form individuals who are instruments for peace.