EMU will host the 2014 Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship Conference, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, around the theme, "Peace in practice: What does it look like when our theories become action?" (Photo by Amy Schmid)

Former Fulbright fellow, nationally known leader in human security, to speak at intercollegiate peace forum

Lisa Schirch, PhD, director of human security at the Alliance for Peacebuilding and a former Fulbright fellow in East and West Africa, will give the keynote speech at the 2014 Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship Conference, Jan. 31-Feb. 2, at Eastern Mennonite University.

The theme of the conference is “Peace in practice: What does it look like when our theories become action?”

“Lisa’s example of field work with local, international, and systems-based conflicts is inspirational for college students,” says Christine Baer, a conference co-organizer and a senior peacebuilding & development and environmental sustainability major.

Schirch and other speakers will focus on building peace at all levels, from local to international, and integrating this work into art and other forms of community engagement.

About Lisa Schirch

Lisa Schirch
Lisa Schirch

In her role at the Alliance for Peacebuildling, Schirch connects policymakers with global civil society networks, facilitates civil-military dialogue, and provides a conflict prevention and peacebuilding lens on current policy issues.

Schirch is also a research professor at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

She has conducted conflict assessments and participated in peacebuilding planning alongside local colleagues in more than 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Kenya, Ghana, and Fiji.

Schirch works primarily with small local NGOs and civil society organizations. Schirch also has worked as a consultant on conflict assessment and peacebuilding planning for large entities, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, several branches of the U.S. government, the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, and many other international organizations.

She holds a BA in international relations from the University of Waterloo in Canada and an MS and a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University.

Drama that entertains and informs

Tim Ruebke (left) and Ted Swartz
Tim Ruebke (left) and Ted Swartz in “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy.”

“I’d Like to Buy an Enemy” will be performed by Ted and Company on Friday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m., in the MainStage Theater in University Commons.

The play, starring Ted Swartz, MDiv ’92, and Tim Ruebke MA ’99 (conflict transformation), allows audiences to laugh at themselves while raising important questions about the place of the United States in the world, confronting the fear that is such a large part of contemporary culture, and exploring ways to honestly work for peace and justice in this country.

Tickets are $8 for general audience and $5 for EMU faculty and staff. EMU students and conference attendees are free, if they show their identifications.

Ted and Company will also host university chapel on Friday at 10 a.m.


The Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship Conference is sponsored and organized by EMU’s Peace Fellowship, a student organization that organizes campus-wide activities, regular space to share meals and discussions, and special speakers to spark meaningful dialogue. For more information about the conference or Peace Fellowship, contact the applied social sciences department.

Conference details

The program will open on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m., and end on Sunday, Feb. 2, at 1 p.m. Participating schools include Bluffton University in Ohio; Conrad Grebel College in Canada; Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania; Goshen College in Indiana; Hesston College in Kansas; and Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Workshops will be offered on a wide range of topics, including “A Subversive Shalom: Enacting Radical Peace” with Carl and Carolyn Stauffer; “Home Front: the Untold History of Radical Veteran Peacemaking” with Veterans for Peace; and “Our Community Place: Promoting Personal Growth and Community Well-Being” with Philip Fisher Rhodes and Ron Copeland.

Other topics to be covered range from “The Relationship Between Islam and Peace” and “Restorative Justice in Our Schools” to “Arts, Theater, and Peacebuilding.”

Most sessions will be held in Martin Chapel of the seminary building and seminary classrooms.

Creating connections

“We expect this conference to be a time of sharing stories and experiences at all levels, with many practical applications of peacebuilding,” said Krista Nyce, an EMU senior psychology major and conference co-organizer. “We have heard a lot in the classroom about theories and have debated concepts; thus we hope this can be a time to build on those with realistic accounts of speakers’ varied involvements from local organizations to experiences of national organizing, from art to restorative justice to education.”

Registration and a full schedule of events is available online. Group registration is also available.

For more information on the conference visit or email: emupeacefellowship@gmail.com.