Peacebuilding Program Dedicates New Learning Space

Dedication of new learning space for EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding
Lynn Roth, executive director of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, expresses gratitude for the spacious new CJP classroom and the significant contribution it is already making to the program. (Photo by Jim Bishop)

Amazing what acquiring some additional space can do to energize the learning process.

EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) dedicated a state-of-the-art 1,274 square foot classroom carved out of space on ground floor of Hartzler Library in ceremonies held Tuesday afternoon, May 25.

The JAMAR classroom with adjoining kitchenette facilities was completed in time for the start of the 15th annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI), which began May 10.

What’s in a name?

The new JAMAR classroom name comes from the first letters of the first names of the primary donors and long-time CJP supporters James and Marian Payne of Richmond, Va. The Paynes, both 1958 EMU alumni, are retired educators and church workers.

The couple were founding donors of the CJP program that began in 1994-95 and contributed $100,000 towards the new classroom construction.

Lynn Roth, CJP executive director
Lynn Roth, CJP executive director.

“It is hard to imagine the transformation that has taken place in the corner of the library that previously had no windows and was divided into several smaller rooms and hallway,” said Lynn Roth, CJP executive director.

“Already this room has hosted students from throughout the world during the first two SPI sessions for peacebuilding education. This is only the beginning of hundreds who will be transformed through their educational experience in this room,” he added.

Paynes leaders among donors

Roth went on to express appreciation for the leadership that the Payne family has provided through contributions and support over the years.

“Your generous gifts for facilities, scholarships, program innovation and capacity building have been core to the tremendous growth that has made our program one of the premier peacebuilding programs in the world,” he told the Paynes, who were present for the dedication along with four of their five adult children.

Paynes’ dream of creating peace

CJP benefactors James and Marian Payne
Long-time CJP benefactors James and Marian Payne check out the new JAMAR classroom made possible by their support. (Photo by Jim Bishop)

In a response, Marian Payne said that she and James “have been blessed by our involvement in the CJP program and in the realization of our long-standing dream towards creating peace.

“My dream and vision of EMC, now EMU, as a lighthouse on the hill for the world in its work for peace and justice is being fulfilled beyond what could have been originally dreamed. This day reveals its fruit,” Mrs. Payne added.

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber unveiled a recognition plaque in honor of the Payne family and led a responsive reading and dedication prayer.

Classroom well-equipped for instruction

Those at the dedication toured the new classroom and received a brief demonstration of the Smartboard and other technology that will allow new methods of teaching and student interaction.

Dedication and tour of new learning space for EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding
Ryan Beuthin, a master’s student in the CJP program, demonstrates the broad instructional capabilities of the Smartboard to persons gathered in the new classroom. (Photo by Jim Bishop)

About CJP

EMU’s Conflict Transformation Program has seen more than 330 students finish its graduate program and 2,200 attend classes at its Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

Alumni from these programs work in significant peacebuilding roles in over 120 countries.Their successes have caused EMU to be known as one of the top peace universities in the world.

Read Peacebuilder, CJP’s alumni magazine.