Give peace studies a chance

By Rene Bodack

The University of Calgary Consortium for Peace Studies kicked off September this week with a number of events including hosting Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier for the International Day of Peace for the City of Calgary.

Founded in May by academics from across a number of faculties, the consortium aims to foster peace research locally and around the globe.

“The first value of the consortium is to convince people that peace is possible,” said Program Manager Michelle McCann. McCann stressed the way to peace is to make people believe in it and to empower them to get active for whatever they would like to change, whether it’s nuclear power, the war in Iraq or violence in the neighbourhood.

The main objective of the consortium is to connect people and organizations already working for peace and to offer a contact opportunity for everybody wanting to get more information or to get involved in peace activities, said McCann. Events this week included the Wed., Sept.221 Mayors for Peace Celebration, in which Bronconnier was awarded a Canadian Peace Award from the Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace for his declaration to make Calgary a nuclear-free zone.

Future goals for the consortium include a peace resource database containing information on existing possibilities to get active in peace processes. Ideally the consortium aims to re-establish a minor in “Peace Studies,” since the degree program was cut in 1998, and to create a research institute for peace studies at the U of C.

“But it’s a very long way to go until then,” McCann said.

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