This photo of Simelwe was taken in front of the Campus Center building. (Photo: Lucie Martinot-Lagarde )

PXD Blog: A Re-introduction by Simelwe Dlova and Timothy Seidel

It’s been a while–more than a long COVID winter–but we (Simelwe and Tim) are dusting off the PXD Blog with some new energy and new ideas for 2021. Welcome back, Everyone! It’s been a hard year. We don’t know where to begin so we are not even going to try. Besides, you’ve lived it too so we really don’t need to tell you.

But we are breathing new life into the Blog of the Peacebuilding & Development (PXD) Program at EMU so that we might hear folks share a little about what this past year has been like for them. In particular, we’ll be hearing how their explorations of peacebuilding & development—whether as a student at EMU, an alum at work somewhere in the world, or a PXD program partner with whom we are co-laboring through this—have aided in their sense-making of and engagement with this past year.

For me (Tim) that was the original vision of the PXD Blog: provide an online space for our students, alumni, faculty, and program partners to connect, share stories, and raise awareness about our shared work for peace and justice.

And we’ve read some really nice reflections over the last few years from brilliant students, alum, and teachers like Ariel Barbosa reflecting on EMU’s first full “day on” celebration of MLK Day or Nate Bailey’s reflections on his journey “From Harrisonburg to Denver—by way of the Middle East” or Myriam Aziz on “Attempts at Decolonizing the Classroom.”

For me (Simelwe), I am in my first year at CJP for a masters in Conflict Transformation. I have been working with Professor Tim Seidel on reopening the PXD Blog. Throughout this year, you will read contributions from students, alumni, and faculty and staff. This will be content about current course material, personal contributions, poetry, careers and whatever else people want to reflect on about campus activities, events, and our experiences with the world around us. 

My hope for this platform is that it opens the door and encourages students, faculty and staff, alumni and others to share and speak about what matters to them. After reading previous blog contributions, I resonate with many and more with Gabby McMillon’s urge to be intentional about balancing voices and including all narratives especially those rarely heard from. In her reflection on “Campus Engagement with Native American Voices and Experiences,” Gabby writes 

“We will never be able to live together in a society where certain voices are raised above all others and dominate narratives. This perpetuates inequality, trauma, and violence. As peacebuilders, it is our duty to listen to marginalized voices and do all that is in our power to elevate them for others to hear.”

We hope this will be another platform for doing just that, elevating voices and for everyone to listen to those voices. 

If you are a member of the PXD community and would like to contribute a post, we welcome submissions! We look forward to hearing from you. 

Simelwe Dlova is a Conflict Transformation student at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and Timothy Seidel is assistant professor and director of the Peacebuilding and Development (PXD) program at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU).