(KANSAS CITY, MO): Avila University was invited to attend the tenth annual Summer Institute (SI) for Faculty at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies from June 11-15. The SI is a week-long training for academics who want to launch or strengthen peace studies programs at their colleges or universities. The annual event is held on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana.
This year, 67 faculty from 22 colleges and universities and hailing from seven different countries attended the SI. The SI invites colleges and universities to send teams of three or more professors, administrators, and researchers for an intensive learning experience. Attendees participated in plenary sessions in the morning and then worked as a team on a previously identified project or challenge facing their own institution during afternoon sessions. Kroc faculty members met with the teams to provide guidance and input when needed.
Members of the Avila contingency included Nicole Esquibel, dean of the School of Visual and Communication Arts; Ken Parsons, assistant professor of philosophy and director for the Center for Global Studies and Social Justice; and Arica Maurer, coordinator of the Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence.
While at the SI, the team developed a five-year strategic plan for a new peace studies program. With input and inspiration from Kroc Institute faculty members and other participating universities, their work focused on defining the program’s mission and scope, streamlining administrative processes, and developing benchmarks against which to measure the program’s progress.
We learned so much from our fellow institute participants who have started successful peace studies programs,” said Maurer. “The SI equipped us with tools to move the Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence forward and continue to strengthen the academic components of the program in the coming years.”
Since its inaugural event in 2009, the SI has hosted over 350 attendees from 105 different institutions across six continents. In addition, Kroc faculty have conducted modified programs like the SI in Uganda and will present a similar training in Bogota, Colombia, later in June.
“At the SI, we want to make space for institutions to come to our campus for an intensive week of learning and hopefully to go home empowered with new knowledge and a curricular plan,” says George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at Notre Dame and the founder of the SI. “We hope that universities will understand the perspectives and skills in peace studies as the critical citizenship education of our era.”
The SI is co-sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace. The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies supports study, research and practice centered on strategies for sustainable peace and supports undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. students in peace studies.
Avila University, a Catholic University founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies, preparing lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community.