Avila Now

October 14, 2019

Avila, JCCC, Park to Host 2019 Greater Kansas City Peacebuilding Conference

Peacebuilding Conference Logo with text "Human Rights: The Foundation of Peacekeeping"

Avila University will co-host the 2019 Greater Kansas City Peacebuilding Conference from October 31 to November 2 on the campuses of Avila, Park University and Johnson County Community College.

Rwandan peace activist Felix Manzi will open the conference with a talk on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Avila’s Whitfield Center on Thursday. A former fellow of the Hansen Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation, he has assisted researchers and journalists researching international and transnational crimes in Rwanda, including Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York, Philip Gorevitch, author of “We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families” and others.

“We are fortunate Felix Manzi will share his wisdom and experience with Avila’s students and the wider Kansas City community,” said Arica Maurer, coordinator of the Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence. “He brings a vital perspective of what happened after the tragic genocide in Rwanda in 1994. His homeland’s subsequent dedication to overcoming deep divisions among its people through peaceful processes is an inspiration to all those who seek nonviolent solutions to conflict.”

Sarah Margon, Foreign Policy Director for the Open Society Foundations, will be the keynote speaker on the closing day of the seventh annual conference, which will discuss human rights and their importance to peacebuilding efforts.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence, the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University, Johnson County Community College and the International Relations Council of Kansas City. Founded to promote dialogue between different groups on nonviolent solutions to conflict, the Greater Kansas City Peacebuilding Conference has previously featured activists utilizing various methods and media to encourage nonviolence.

All sessions are free and open to the public. For more information and to register for the conference, please click here.


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.

About the Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence

The Buchanan Initiative for Peace and Nonviolence (BIPN) engages Avila University’s academic community and stakeholders throughout the region to interrogate harms and injustices, elevate the voices of the marginalized, and apply methods for building positive sustainable relationships. The Initiative’s work is consistent with the University’s recognition of the “worth, dignity and potential of each human being” and its mission to educate “lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community.” The Buchanan Initiative brings students, academics, and activists together to raise a generation that has the nonviolent tools it needs to make peaceful social change possible.


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