Saint Mary’s Univer­sity Arts

The Norther Ire­land Peace Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram’s in­ter­na­tional am­bi­tion

The Coast - Career Minded - - PAID CONTENT -

For the thir­teenth con­sec­u­tive year, Saint Mary’s Univer­sity stu­dents have proudly rep­re­sented their re­spec­tive prov­inces and coun­tries of ori­gin as ac­tive and en­gaged par­tic­i­pants in the North­ern Ire­land Peace Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram—a long-stand­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion between Saint Mary’s Univer­sity and Peace­ful Schools In­ter­na­tional.

The lat­est con­tin­gent of pro­gram par­tic­i­pants is Saint Mary’s largest to date. There are 28 SMU stu­dents who col­lec­tively demon­strated ex­cel­lence in the pro­mo­tion and fa­cil­i­ta­tion of peace ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives in the univer­sity’s home town of Hal­i­fax, and in Belfast, North­ern Ire­land.

“These univer­sity stu­dents de­serve our deep­est ad­mi­ra­tion for all they have done lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally in the name of teach­ing con­flict res­o­lu­tion skills to younger gen­er­a­tions. It is with­out ques­tion, with the cur­rent state of world af­fairs, any ef­forts to pro­mote peace ed-

uca­tion among younger gen­er­a­tions can only be viewed as highly ben­e­fi­cial,” says Brid­get Brown­low, Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion Ad­vi­sor and a pro­fes­sor in Po­lit­i­cal Science, Ir­ish Stud­ies and Ed­u­ca­tion at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity.

“The Saint Mary’s Univer­sity North­ern Ire­land Pro­gram would not be pos­si­ble with­out the long-term gen­eros­ity of many in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions. We are es­pe­cially grate­ful to the Don­a­hoe fam­ily, who are trustees for the es­tate of Pa­trick Power, and to the Char­i­ta­ble Ir­ish So­ci­ety of Hal­i­fax,” she says.

Not only has this ini­tia­tive in­spired a new mi­nor in Peace and Con­flict Stud­ies within the Fac­ulty of Arts at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity, it has ad­di­tion­ally pre­sented a unique op­por­tu­nity to de­sign and de­velop a sec­ond in­ter­na­tional course in North­ern Ire­land.

In that course, Saint Mary’s stu­dents will con­cen­trate on learn­ing about the events and chal­lenges con­nected to the an­nual com­mem­o­ra­tive pro­ceed­ings sur­round­ing the im­pact of events di­rectly as­so­ci­ated with the 1690 Bat­tle of the Boyne in North­ern Ire­land.

“Our aim with this sec­ond aca­demic pro­gram is to ex­pand upon ex­ist­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­pe­ri­en­tial and ser­vice learn­ing, while up­hold­ing ex­cel­lence in aca­demic stan­dards,” says Brown­low.

In the North­ern Ire­land Pro­gram, Saint Mary’s stu­dents vol­un­teer to create peace ed­u­ca­tion and con­flict res­o­lu­tion work­shops. The stu­dents use the work­shops in Hal­i­fax ele­men­tary schools, then take them over­seas to schools in Belfast.

Pa­trick Guerra, who is cur­rently en­rolled in the mi­nor of Peace and Con­flict Stud­ies, says, “The great­est thing about the pro­gram is the pos­si­bil­ity to give back to the com­mu­nity and the idea of in­spir­ing the chil­dren, show­ing them that is pos­si­ble to be who­ever they want to be.”

Guerra says that Peace and Con­flict Stud­ies, along with his ma­jors in Eco­nom­ics and In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment, have given him a good base to un­der­stand how the world works and what he can do to help.

Michaela Peters, a fourth-year An­thro­pol­ogy and In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies stu­dent, says SMU’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Peace­ful Schools In­ter­na­tional not only in­spired her Hon­ours The­sis topic— The Cul­ture of Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion in Hal­i­fax Ele­men­tary Schools—but also what she would want to do in the fu­ture. Peters vol­un­teered with Peace­ful Schools In­ter­na­tional and trav­elled to Belfast in 2016.

“When I first started work­ing with Brid­get, I’m pretty sure I went home one day and said, if I could have a job like hers I’d be happy. I want to help peo­ple live in com­mu­ni­ties where they get along with one an­other and have the skills to work out their con­flicts peace­fully. Cur­rently, I am look­ing at job op­por­tu­ni­ties with or­ga­ni­za­tions like ISANS, the YMCA or other com­mu­nity groups,” she says.

Peters says she wishes ev­ery stu­dent could un­der­stand the lega­cies left be­hind by con­flicts like those in North­ern Ire­land. Her hope is that through study and ed­u­ca­tion, the world will learn to be able to avoid sim­i­lar con­flicts in the fu­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.