SPI 2020- COVID-19 Response

For 25 years we have been gathering peace and justice workers in Harrisonburg, Virginia during the months of May and June. Clearly, that is not going to happen this year. 

But we are not going to let COVID-19 stop the Summer Peacebuilding Institute! We invite you to join SPI Online 2020.  

As we navigate the difficulties of this time, we are also hopeful that the shift to offering SPI online means that it will be accessible to those who otherwise would not have been able to attend. We are excited that even more people might be able to participate in SPI this year.

As always, SPI instructors are experienced reflective practitioners who have dedicated their lives to building a just, equitable, and nonviolent world. The SPI learning experience is based on creating learning communities where all participants are both teachers and learners. 

If you have attended SPI in the past or if you were already registered for this year, you will notice some changes as a result of moving SPI online.

    • Some courses are only available for professional development, while others are only available for academic credit (to see the full list, click here). 
      • Professional Development: These are tailored for individuals looking for training in the subject matter but not a degree. Have you been sitting at home for a month? Are you getting bored?  Why not learn a new skill while meeting people with similar interests.
      • Academic Credit: We welcome students from other universities to enroll and transfer the credit to their home institution (Please make sure you check with your home degree program to ensure the credits are transferable).
  • The costs of both professional development and academic credit have been lowered for SPI Online 2020. We are aware that many people will face financial difficulties during this global crisis. We know that it is not easy to retool and get new skills when your income has been reduced, and we want to help.
      • Professional development courses are now $495 per course
      • Academic credit courses are now $656 per credit hour (SPI Online 2020 only)
  • Courses will not be offered in “sessions” where you are limited to one course at a time. SPI Online 2020 will run from May 11 - June 12 and you may simultaneously enroll in more than one course for that five-week term. There will be a technology check and some preparation activities to be done the week of May 5 (click here to see the minimum technology requirements needed to participate). We want to make sure everyone can participate and feel comfortable with online learning on day one. 

The SPI Social experience moves online. It would not be SPI without the social experience of late night conversations and meeting new people. We cannot provide shared meals and late night talks in the residence hall lounge, but we are attempting to create as many of the authentic encounters with others who share your vision for a better world as we can during SPI Online 2020. You will be able to:

  • Meet participants from around the world who share your interests -- even if they are not in your course. 
  • Join interesting plenary sessions with alumni of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and other justice and peace leaders.
  • Experience the fun of SPI through SPI Online 2020! Not sure that can be done? Check out the online dance parties our lead Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) trainer has been running in an attempt to maintain our social connection while being forced to increase our physical distance.

For more information and to apply to the Summer Peacebuilding Institute Online 2020, click here.

Please note:  If you have already applied to SPI 2020, there is no need to reapply.  You should have received an email about the transition to SPI online 2020.  Please respond to that email. Send an email to spi@emu.edu if you were registered for SPI 2020 and did not receive the transition email.

We are working hard to make SPI Online 2020 a memorable experience for you and for us.  We hope you will join us.  


Bill Goldberg (for the SPI team)


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