The third annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar “Teaching About Global Conflict and Peacebuilding” was held October 23 to 26 at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus. The event was sponsored by the NOVA Institute for Public Service.
Today, community colleges enroll students coming from all economic and social backgrounds, ages, as well as veterans and international students. However, community colleges are often unable to access experts and resources examining issues of conflict, violence, social change and peacebuilding. The seminar is designed to build capacity in teaching complex global issues in the classroom. The seminar is an opportunity for community college educators to learn from policymakers, scholars and practitioners about conflict and responses to violence.
Over the past three years, 90 educators from 35 community colleges have attended including the Maricopa County Community Colleges, Miami Dade College, Valencia College, Harper College, Southeastern Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Richland College, Tulsa Community College and NOVA. The seminar draws an interdisciplinary group of faculty coming from the social sciences, humanities, as well as career and technical education. Besides faculty, representatives from groups supporting community efforts including NAFSA, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the American Red Cross, and various nongovernmental organizations have attended the seminar, as well as a number of international educators.
During 2015 seminar, faculty attended briefings at the U.S. Institute of Peace, the U.S. Diplomacy Center of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. These organizations are eager to work with community colleges to advance international education and global awareness. In addition, experts from the Institute for Economics and Peace, the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Saferworld shared about their work. Faculty viewed two films:
“Circus Without Borders,” which looks at the efforts to bring hope through the circus to communities in arctic Canada and Guinea, and “Beneath the Blindfold,” which takes an intimate look at those recovering from torture.
The next seminar will be held in October 2016. The Institute for Public Service also sponsors other community college faculty-focused events. In April 2015, it hosted a faculty seminar on global public health; and in April 21 to 23, 2016, it will host a program for faculty on environment issues “Global Climate Change and Environmental Challenges, Approaches to Teaching in Community Colleges.”
Also, if you are interested in how community colleges are promoting peacebuilding, contact David J. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in attending the 2016 environmental or peacebuilding seminar or interested in the work of the Institute for Public Service, contact Linda Campos at email@example.com.