Beginning July 1, 2011, Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) gained two new directors, both of whom hold graduate degrees in conflict transformation – William (Bill) Goldberg, MA ’01, and Valerie Helbert, MA ’08.
Goldberg and Helbert are veteran employees of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, under which SPI operates. Goldberg has been employed in various capacities by CJP since 1999, Helbert moved into an administrative role with SPI in 2005 after working in other staff positions at EMU for five years.
These co-directors are replacing Sue Williams, who is retiring from a staff role to return to consulting internationally, after directing SPI for the last three years.
Upon appointing the two new leaders, CJP executive director Lynn Roth said: “Their combination of skills and experience will ensure that SPI will not skip a beat in being one of the premier Summer Peacebuilding programs in the world. Their creativity and network connections should help SPI and CJP continue to develop new and innovative training initiatives.”
Since the institute’s 1994 founding, over 2,500 international workers in humanitarian, conflict transformation and other peacebuilding endeavors have taken part. During four week-long sessions – this year, until June 18 – they investigate many aspects of peace and conflict while forming cross-cultural friendships and working partnerships.
Halbert and Goldberg will lead the SPI program for the 2011-12 academic year, a time of review for SPI as the program has grown and EMU looks towards its long term future.