At the 2017 Summer Peacebuilding Institute Community Day, Najeeha Khan talks with Miguel Amaguaña. The one-day event will again be hosted by Eastern Mennonite University on Feb. 15, 2019. (Photo by Andrew Strack)

A taste of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute: Community Day slated for Feb. 15

The fourth annual Community Day, highlighting workshops and training held at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, will focus on building justice at the community level.

Titled “Cultivating a Justice-Oriented Community,” the Feb. 15 event will include a morning plenary speaker, workshops, opportunities for networking, and a catered lunch presentation.

“This year’s emphasis on local efforts and locally adaptable tools will enhance the facilitation, leadership and organizational skills for working in any community,” said SPI director Bill Goldberg. “And the lunch from local sandwich shop Gray Jay Provisions will be delicious!”

The annual event is modeled after the Summer Peacebuilding Institute, which is held on campus every May and June. Since 1994, more than 3,200 people from 120 countries have attended SPI, gaining concrete strategies and practical skills for cultivating a world organized around principles of justice, equity and dignity, and rooted in right relationship with our planet and with one another. This summer’s four sessions will focus on topics such as the nature and dynamics of conflict and violence, truthtelling and racial healing, trustbuilding, circle processes, peacebuilding approaches to violent extremism, and more.

Included in the $50 Community Day registration cost ($25 for EMU faculty, staff and students) are a waiver code for the SPI application fee, a copy of a Little Book of Justice and Peacebuilding, lunch, morning coffee and pastries, and two 90-minute workshop sessions.

The morning plenary speaker will be associate professor of teacher education Kathy Evans, on the work of restorative justice in educational contexts.

“Children who learn about justice grow up to become adults who promote justice,” she said. “Children who learn to resolve conflict in their classrooms become adults who know how to resolve conflict and promote peace in our world.”

The lunchtime presentation, titled “Rewilding Justice: On Sourdough and Transcending Incarceration,” will feature Soula Pefkaros of Gray Jay Provisions, a Harrisonburg sandwich shop and market. Pefkaros earned a master’s degree in conflict transformation with a restorative justice concentration at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, and is completing her doctoral degree in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Workshop options and presenters include:

  • “Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience,” presented by Joy Kreider, a curriculum writer for InnerCHANGE: An order of Christians among the poor;
  • “Circle Processes in Schools: An Interactive Introduction to the Why and How,” presented by Kathy Evans;
  • “Transformational Leadership for Organizational Change,” presented by Dave Brubaker, director of the MBA and masters of organizational leadership programs and an associate professor of organizational studies at EMU;
  • “Local Responses to Violent Extremism,” presented by Lisa Schirch, North American research director for the Toda Institute and an advisor with the Alliance for Peacebuilding; and
  • “Trustbuilding in Organizations and Communities,” presented by Barry Hart, professor of trauma, identity and conflict studies at EMU.

For more information or to register, visit the Community Day website.