Gloria Rhodes, who teaches peacebuilding and conflict studies at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, speaks in the second installment of the Peacebuilder podcast about her own introduction to conflict-related work, how CJP has grown, and the work they still need to do.

Second Peacebuilder Podcast features Gloria Rhodes

In the second episode of the Peacebuilder Podcast, join Gloria Rhodes, professor of peacebuilding and conflict studies at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), for a conversation on the field of conflict resolution and transformation and its trajectory.

The podcast is just one of the ways the center is celebrating its 25-year anniversary. Hosted by CJP executive assistant and anniversary celebration committee chair Patience Kamau MA ‘17, the 10-episode series features faculty and staff members reflecting on the history of CJP and their own peacebuilding work. A new episode drops every other week on the Peacebuilder website.

Rhodes begins the episode by looking back on her own introduction to conflict-related work, as a fresh EMU alumna teaching in Russia. She tells of how one day, an argument between students came to blows during Bible class. 

“They didn’t have a sense of interpersonal peacemaking, and I had grown up with that as a Mennonite … they really trusted authority to always be the problem-solvers, the decision-makers,” Rhodes explains. She felt driven to know more – so she returned to the States to earn her masters and doctorate degrees in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University.

Rhodes has held several roles at EMU over the last three decades, from coordinator of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute to a communications position to teaching undergraduate and graduate classes. One of the changes she’s been heartened to see over this time is the increasing number of female peace builders in the field.

Rhodes says that she, and CJP at large, have learned about self-assessment and acknowledging privilege. “As a white North American female with a PhD and middle income,” Rhodes said, “probably I’m not the right person to enter many situations as the expert, or as the person who might help to bring about change. So I think we all need to be able to ask those questions of ourselves. And I’d say that’s a change that has happened in our curriculum.”

Rhodes sees this as part of a larger movement at CJP to examine not only the technical processes of peacebuilding work, but the bigger picture of how practitioners and educators live out their values. She hopes this examination will continue in the years to come.

As a place of higher education, “we have legacies and privileges that go with that, that I think we are in the process of asking hard questions about that, but I think we still have learning to do,” Rhodes says.

Discussion on “Second Peacebuilder Podcast features Gloria Rhodes

  1. I am reminded many times that Titus, the person I lived with for nearly sixty years was one of the persons who dreamed of the work you and your colleagues are doing and making happen in our world. By the way, our relationship continues. I ask myself many times, how can I, an 84-year-old be involved in this process. Thank you for what you are doing.

  2. Dear all Friends in Peace
    We greet you all in True Peace & Solidarity. My name is Ali Mussa Mwadini and I am the Founder of our Organization, and currently voluntarily working as Executive Secretary & Peace Activist and Founder of Zanzibar City of Peace Clubs Project.
    Our Organization Zanzibar Peace, Truth & Transparency Association (ZPTTA NGO), is committed to build a True Culture of peace (P0SITIVE PEACE) & peace related issues. True Culture of peace is essential prerequisite, because without peace it will not be possible to achieve the level of trust, cooperation, or inclusiveness necessary to solve these challenges as, violent conflicts, depute and war let alone empower the institution and organization necessary to help address them. We believe, without the appropriate measures and Community understanding of the factors that support peace, it is not possible to know what polices, what project and programs work needed to be implemented to bring Positive Peace in the country.
    Zanzibar Peace, Truth & Transparency Association is a Non-government, non- profit, non-political welfare and non- Military, registered in Zanzibar with its headquarters in Zanzibar Town. ZPTTA NGO is working in both two Islands Unguja and Pemba, to respond to the NEEDS of people living in the rural communities and in Town, in True positive Peace & Peace Related issues, Human Rights, Gender Issues and Non- violence way of life in Zanzibar Community. Our Organization (ZPTTA NGO) is struggling against the calamities such as Disputes, Violence, Conflicts, Terrorism and Genocide.
    As our Organization contemplated our work as an educator of True Culture of Peace, Conflict resolution on the Peaceful means, Democracy, Interfaith & Gender equality. We are quite aware How do we do this? How do we go beyond trying to just change people’s minds, to reaching people’s hearts? I have a sense that it lies in personal relationships, reaching across divides, in true dialogue for understanding—often starting with our own families and our neighbors
    The project is therefore, proposed to bring together Zanzibar Community and all organizations from across the country to promote, implement and sustain a true culture of peace. The projects specific Objectives are
    (i) To create awareness among the various groups in the country of the values of True Peace-building;
    (ii) To build Local knowledge in Peace education for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, and created community trust confidence building and forgiveness;
    (iii) To create safe environment for learning and healing so as to contribute in the process of national reconciliation; and tapping into profitable networks to help the peace clubs grow and empowered with skills and ability to contribute to the constitutional and legal rights.
    The project at its core philosophy, intends to build and recover the broken traditional cultures, in socialization in Zanzibar community, (the process by which people beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs in positive peace; and accumulate knowledge of peace building through education and training for all strata of the community.
    We believe that only through joint action can we break the cycle of violence
    Our direction is that of nonviolent struggle, and we call on both nations to join us to achieve peace and reconciliation in Zanzibar Community
    Peace does not happen by itself; it requires commitment, perseverance and continuing efforts.
    To build a more peaceful and just world, we need to work effectively at community and local/regional levels in every country, starting with our own

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