Certificate Program Teaches Future Peace Builders
Editor's Note: Student Roland White describes his experience in the program in this blog post.
A new college certificate program built on the teachings and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi is the lasting outcome of recent collaboration between Morehouse College and the Fetzer Institute.
The Education, Ethics and Peace Building Certificate Program is open to students in all majors and has three components: classroom instruction in conflict resolution, mediation and negotiation, unofficial but persuasive "Track Two" diplomacy, and the life and thought of influential peace makers; practical training in peace building through internships, work experiences and international study; and, a capstone project that applies intellectual and experiential learnings in a conflict or high-stress situation.
As students complete these lessons, program organizers envision a group of professionals more broadly able to work and learn with individuals from different backgrounds, who can lead expansions of peace building programs in new directions and who can encourage others through a focus on love, forgiveness, and peacebuilding.
“By combining individual experiential learning with intellectual learning to ground the knowledge in experiences with others of different races, faiths, or nationalities, students are prepared to be the change in a larger, social and even societal level,” said Dr. Lawrence Carter, Professor of Religion and College Curator at Morehouse.
The program’s guiding concepts were drawn from the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Institute, a collaborative group of peacebuilders who work toward “Peace not Security!” Included in this approach is a theory of change that moves people from the paradigm of security, which can be based in fear and mistrust, to a paradigm of peace, through which love and forgiveness are expressed.
Classes began in Fall 2012 for students enrolled in the program. As the program evolves, new publications and issues are being incorporated. Organizers hope to create Track Two diplomacy sessions on the Korean Peninsula conflict, including a visit from members of the North Korean delegation in Spring 2014.
Track Two diplomacy includes unofficial dialogue and problem-solving activities aimed at building relationships and encouraging new thinking that can inform the official process. Track Two activities typically involve influential academic, religious, and NGO leaders.
New courses are being added and appropriate existing courses incorporated into the program. Organizers are seeking long-term funding approval for a distinguished scholar program to lead the effort.
This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on Education Professions.