Peace Studies at EMU

Working for social justice, building peace, care for creation, nurturing understanding of the “other”… these core values of our campus community are an important part of life at EMU. EMU offers peace studies programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels; justice and peace perspectives are woven across all disciplines. Conflict transformation and trauma resilience trainings are held on campus, in the local community and around the world.

EMU alum Leymah Gbowee was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2011. Hundreds of EMU alumni work all over the globe with organizations such as World Vision, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Mennonite Central Committee, and Heifer Project International. Peace work isn’t limited to the international scene. Perhaps more importantly, EMU alumni work to strengthen people-to-people connections in their own businesses, churches, communities, families and places of employment in the local community and across the United States.

2012 commencement speaker Abigail Disney says “EMU is a remarkable institution, an island of sanity in a country that often has difficulty crediting the discourse of peace. It recognized in Leymah Gbowee an extraordinary gift for activism and principled nonviolent leadership long before either I or the Nobel Committee did, and for every Leymah that has risen to prominence from EMU I happen to know there are dozens of others quietly laboring in obscurity to build peace.”

Peace studies majors learn real-world skills

“I dream of peace being a way of life and practice. The EMU community was built on a dream. This community continues to drive and thrive on dreams….Come to the table and dream. Go out and let your dreams be so.”

- Chris Parks, EMU class of ’16

Peacebuilding and development undergraduate majors are equipped with practical skills and a portfolio of work experience by graduation. Choose this major and you’ll become equipped to skillfully effect social change thanks to fieldwork with local initiatives, expert faculty mentors, and real-world internships at social justice organizations such as Faith and Politics Institute and Amnesty International.

Environmental sustainability majors gain skills for building peace with creation. Majors choose one of two tracks: an environmental science concentration, or an environmental and social sustainability emphasis.

Peacebuilding professors are active experts in the field

Our campus benefits from faculty members who are internationally respected in the peacebuilding field. EMU research professor, Lisa Schirch, is director of 3P Human Security, which promotes conflict prevention and peacebuilding in U.S. security policymaking. Howard Zehr, known globally as the “grandfather of restorative justice,” is an active member of the EMU community in classroom settings and beyond.

Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee’s links to EMU began in 1998, when she received training in trauma healing and reconciliation from Lutheran church workers trained by CJP academic director Barry Hart, then working in Liberia with Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Mission Network. Gbowee went on to rehabilitate child soldiers and much more.

World-renowned graduate studies in peacebuilding and trauma resilience

“When you look at conflict and violence through a trauma lens, it gives people on the ground new perspective and new possibilities.”

– Elaine Zook Barge, director of STAR

EMU was one of the first universities in North America to offer a graduate degree in the field. Our Center for Justice and Peacebuilding is considered one of the best in the world. CJP professors also work with seminary faculty to offer an interdisciplinary dual degree in which students earn two master’s. Similar options include a graduate certificate in theology for peacebuilding.

Other professional peacebuilding trainings include:

Do peace studies matter to you?

You want to change our world. EMU is a place to become equipped to make that change. At EMU, you will be equipped with academic training and become part of an international network of people working for the kind of change you want to see in our world. Come find out more.