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Peace Education at the Mount

Mount St. Mary's University recently placed a spotlight on its new conflict, peace and social justice major by bringing fervent peacemaker George Lopez, Ph.D., to campus. Over the course of two days, Lopez spoke in nine classes, had discussions with student organizations and staff and gave a university lecture that was also open to the public. He congratulated the Mount for implementing this new major into its liberal arts curriculum and opined that the program can help in the fight for the development of a peaceful world order.

lopez-in-text.jpgLopez's visit to the Mount was another stop on his journey to cultivate peace in America and internationally. In presenting the lecture, titled “Challenges of the New Peacebuilding: At Home and Abroad," Lopez discussed challenges in the context of traditional Catholic social teaching. Lopez provided answers to questions about how we can we create a just peace at home and move from “states of violence” to peace. The answers acknowledged the importance of peace education, and its long-term effects on society. As the founding director and professor at the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, Lopez has developed peacebuilding education platforms at the collegiate level in Poland, Colombia and Ecuador.

“After listening to everything that Dr.Lopez had to say, I truly believe in the importance of having an education grounded in peace,” said Katie Smith, C’22, a conflict, peace and social justice (CPSJ) major. “Peace does not happen overnight but having an education in the matter is a start and is something that no one should take for granted.” The lecture gave her a tangible example of how the new major will play out in today’s society as well as hope that the program can help push humanity in a more positive direction.

“The major allows students to live lives of significance and is grounded in the long history of Catholic social teaching,” said Political Science Professor Kristen Urban. The CPSJ major educates students in the process of creating a more peaceful society through three main tracks of their choice: the global sphere, American society, and personal and interpersonal conflict or trauma. 

 The CPSJ major is a reflection of the Mount’s Catholic liberal arts identity. The program has three main objectives: providing students with an understanding of social justice in a global community, understanding of the Catholic vision of the human person, and living a life of significance. The major's partnership with the Mount’s Office of Social Justice provides students with the needed internships and practical experience to advance their careers in conflict resolution in any professional or community setting. Students are given hands-on experience to enhance their skills and find solutions to problems facing humanity.