Peace Studies at EMU


Stay Tuned: The next C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest will be Friday, March 22, 2019 at 7 p.m. in Martin Chapel.  Details to follow.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Caleb Schrock-Hurst for placing 2nd in the 2018 bi-national contest!

C Henry Smith Speech Contestants2018 Results - On Friday, March 23, 2018, seven students presented speeches related to peacebuilding and social issues:

  • Fabiana Espinal “Creativity as a Path to Healing and Connection"
  • Kyle Good “Food as Conscientious Objection”
  • Winifred Gray-Johnson “Finding Forgiveness: A Path toward Healthy Relationships”
  • Lydia Haggard “Is It Black or White?: Exploring Race and the Mennonite Church”
  • Katrina Poplett “When Silence is Betrayal: Climbing the Hill”
  • Caleb Schrock-Hurst “'Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment?': Asking the Right Questions in Trump's America”
  • Amanda Williams “Mother Earth’s Plea for Her Prodigal Children to Return”

2018 Winner Caleb Schrock-HurstThe first-place winner is Caleb Schrock-Hurst.  Caleb will receive a $250 cash prize and entry in the intercollegiate competition.  A senior English major with Music and History minors from Harrisonburg, Virginia, Caleb is the son of Luke and Carmen Schrock-Hurst.

The two runners-up are Winifred Gray-Johnson and Katrina Poplett; each will receive a $50 cash prize.  A junior Peacebuilding and Development major from Monrovia, Liberia, Winifred is the daughter of Wilfred Gray-Johnson.  Katrina is a senior Peacebuilding and Development major with Sociology and Spanish minors from Plymouth, Minnesota.  She is the daughter of James Poplett and Greta Cender-Poplett.

Hear the 2018 speeches in their entirety.

Participants may earn one hour of peacebuilding and development (PXD) course credit. Orations apply the Christian peace position to a contemporary concern without exceeding 1,500 words (eight to 10 minutes spoken word). Read contest guidelines for more info.

Speech Archives: 2017 2016 2014 2013 2012

About the contest

The annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest, established in 1974 by the directors of the C. Henry Smith Trust, offers students an opportunity to discuss peacebuilding and social justice issues on campus. The intercollegiate competition is administered by the Peace and Justice Ministries of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Undergraduate students from every Mennonite and Brethren in Christ college in North America are eligible to participate.

C. Henry Smith was an American Mennonite historian and professor at Mennonite colleges and the University of Chicago. Overall, he taught history for nearly 50 years at the collegiate level. 1 He is well-known for his numerous books on Mennonite history and his particular attention to the peace commitments of the Mennonite tradition.

EMU has participated in the event since 2003, with EMU students winning the grand prize at the bi-national level in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The contest is sponsored by EMU Bible, religion and theologyLanguage and literature, and Peacebuilding and development programs.

Online resources for orators

Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, Article 22
And No One Shall Make Them Afraid – Mennonite Church USA Statement
Fellowship of Reconciliation web site
Peace & Justice Support Network web site

Recent EMU winners

2018 Caleb Schrock-Hurst, 'Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment?': Asking the Right Questions in Trump's AmericaAlso bi-national 2nd.

2017 Hannah Mack-Boll, What is your intention?

2016 Bethany Chupp, Standing at the Door

2014 Seth Stauffer, The Danger of MCC’s Own Single Story. Also bi-national 2nd.

2013 Emily Harnish, Lessons from the Hymnal in an Election Season. Also bi-national 3rd.

2012 Rose Byler, Living in the Tension: Social Services and Systemic Change. Also bi-national 3rd.

2011 Jessica Sarriot, Hold on, Together. Also the bi-national winner.

2010 Jessica Sarriot, Peace Churches and War Profits: A Moment for Courage. Also bi-national 2nd. 

2009 Laura Cattell, Structural Violence in the U.S. Educational System. Also the bi-national winner.

2008 Anna Engle, Called to True Pacifism

2007 Nicholas Stoddard, Connect the Dots. Also the bi-national winner.

2005 Sharon Kniss, Engaging the Terrorists: A Discourse on Living with the Other

2004 Jeremy Yoder, Flooding Isengard: Why a Peace Church should be a Green Church. Also the bi-national winner.

2003 Zachury Kurtz, A Taxing Dilemma. Also the bi-national winner.

*EMU did not participate in the competition in 2006 and 2015.

1. Smith, C. Henry Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.