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Drexel Provides Tool Kit to Build Peace

September 11, 2013

peace building

The International Day of Peace is quickly approaching, and Drexel is planning its first teach-in for peacebuilding as a prelude to the big day on Sept. 21. Thanks to a grant from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Drexel is putting on a full-fledged educational event on Tuesday, Sept. 17, with hands-on workshops catering to the Philadelphia community, students and teachers alike.

The teach-in was developed through a collaboration of Drexel’s Office of International Programs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Interdisciplinary Programs, the School of Education, the Office of Equality and Diversity and outside organizations Peace Day Philly and the Peace Center. The event has been designed to teach strategies that support nonviolent conflict resolution, mediation and peace education.

“We know there’s a lot of conflict in Philadelphia,” said Jessica Kratzer, a co-organizer of the teach-in. “That’s why we have five different workshops that we’re going to provide. If you even just have a general knowledge of all these different ways to maintain peace, you could apply these skills to your home or city.”

Kratzer, program coordinator for the Center for Interdisciplinary Programs, and Heidi West, the director of the Office of International Programs, are to thank for the $2,000 grant from USIP, a conflict management center created by Congress. They applied in May for the award, which supports public education peacebuilding initiatives, expressing their eagerness to build peace through education and community engagement. Kratzer said she and West, who both have backgrounds in conflict resolution, always knew they wanted to create a peacebuilding event at Drexel, but weren’t sure where to start.

“We knew we were going to do some sort of peacebuilding event either way, probably on a smaller scale,” Kratzer said. “But having a really big backing from such a prestigious organization gave us the push to go ahead with our idea.”

Although the School of Education’s Global and International Education Department already has a peace education section of its program, Kratzer said Drexel could do more.

“Now everyone will be able to learn these valuable skills, not just people who are focused on that track,” she said.

The Peace Center, located in Langhorne, Pa., will be the overarching facilitator of the teach-in, which is free to attend. There will be five different hour-long workshops followed by a networking reception.

The Drexel Teach-in for Peacebuilding: A Free Public Workshop on the Building Blocks of Peace will take place Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 1–6 p.m. in the James E. Marks Intercultural Center, 30 S. 33rd St.

Kratzer said all who are interested in attending should register here. Her only caveat: Come with an open mind and wanting to learn.

If the teach-in isn’t enough to satisfy your yearning to spread peace, be sure to attend some Peace Day Philly events Saturday, Sept. 21.