The “Peacebuilder” podcast, hosted by Patience Kamau MA ‘17, releases the debut episode of its third season today. Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán, the inaugural executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Eastern Mennonite University, is the featured guest.
Font-Guzmán, a native of Puerto Rico, talks about her journey into conflict resolution and to the position at EMU from the fields of law and healthcare. She also shares about her new book, co-written with Bernie Mayer, The Neutrality Trap: Disrupting and connecting for social change (Wiley, 2021).
“The message at the heart of this book is that when it comes to the important social issues that face us today, avoiding conflict is a mistake,” Font-Guzmán says. “We need conflict, engagement, and disruption in order to make it to the other side and progress toward the worthy goal of social justice.”
Font-Guzmán explains in the podcast that “value neutrality stems from a position of privilege. Professional codes of ethics for lawyers and medical personnel, for example, “preserve the status quo and a system that was not built with people that come from a minoritized group like mine.” She asks, “Every time you’re thinking about being neutral or professional, what does that really mean?”
The two authors, former colleagues at Creighton University, will co-teach a course on disrupting and connecting for social change at CJP’s 2022 Summer Peacebuilding Institute.
“Peacebuilder,” a production of Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, has logged more than 11,500 listeners in 119 countries/territories and 1,794 cities across the globe.
The podcast is among just a handful covering the general peacebuilding field. It is available on EMU’s Peacebuilder website, Apple Podcasts on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, TuneIn and other podcast directories.
Font-Guzmán is a practitioner in the conflict transformation field and is also a professor at EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. She has a master’s degree in healthcare administration from St. Louis University, a law degree from InterAmericana University of Puerto Rico and a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern Florida. Font-Guzmán’s first book “Experiencing Puerto Rican Citizenship and Cultural Nationalism” (Palgrave Macmillan) was the winner of the Puerto Rico Bar Association 2015 Juridical Book of the Year.
She characterizes EMU as at “an exciting crossroad where there’s a group of people really authentically going through thinking how they can make a better world, how they can really lead together, how we can teach our students to be out there, be truly agents of social change and be leaders in affecting that social change.”