peacemaking in action
Students from seven Anabaptist colleges wrapped up a three-day Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship Conference in February 2014 at EMU by deciding to issue the Shenandoah Confession, drafted in the style and spirit of the Schleitheim Confession of 1527.
Keynote speaker Lisa Schirch, an EMU professor internationally known for her peacebuilding work, asked the students to craft a confession of their faith, informed by 500 years of peacemaking experience. Read more about the Shenandoah Confession
Peace Fellowship co-sponsored ‘Tents of Hope’ for Darfur, and EMU’s tent was later displayed at the National Mall in D.C.
Peace Fellowship responded to an outbreak of violent conflict in Gaza in a number of ways, including community prayer vigils in downtown Harrisonburg, Va.
EMU Peace Fellowship
Darfur, Gaza, Baghdad, mountaintops blown off to retrieve coal, and the streets of Washington D.C. … these are the places EMU students learn about in the classroom, through chapels, service and mission work in the field, and visiting scholars and graduates. Concern for creating a just world runs deep at EMU.
Peace Fellowship is a student organization that organizes campus-wide activities, provides regular space for discussions, and invites special speakers to spark meaningful dialogue.
1. United Nations MCC Student Seminar
Inviting applied social science students to participate in the annual seminar in New York City. This year’s topic of discussion is “The Politics of Peacekeeping and Humanitarianism: a Haiti Case Study.” (October 12-15)
2. Restorative Justice workshops
Peace Fellowship is working with two local groups to educate and encourage restorative justice practices. The first group is a Park View Mennonite Youth group. The second is the Gemeinschaft house that functions as a reintegration house for recently released imprisoned people.
3. Patchwork Pantry
Each Wednesday night, the Community Mennonite Church operates a food pantry where students volunteer to help prepare the gift boxes filled with local produce and non-perishable food items as well as interpret for Spanish speaking families.
Students successfully press for “conflict-free” resolution
In early 2013 EMU became the 15th university to pass a formal “conflict-free” resolution, which states that EMU will support companies that seek to use conflict-free minerals in their electronic products. The resolution is intended to put pressure on electronic companies to pursue conflict free products by showing consumer mandate for clean products.
After a screening of a documentary on conflict minerals, students began to discuss the violence in Congo fueled by global (and Western) consumption of electronics. (Congo, a mineral-rich country, is in the midst of a violent war funded by companies buying minerals from mines in the Congo that are run by rebel groups. These illegitimate mines fund rebel groups to arm themselves and perpetuate the cycles of violence.)
Peace Fellowship members worked to gather support from students, the Student Government Association, the information technology department, and faculty and staff before presenting the resolution to the university cabinet, which formally adopted it.
Learning in the field
Year after year, Peace Fellowship members are networking and making change on and off campus. Students represent EMU at the Mennonite Central Committee-UN conference in New York City, putting their college skills to use and gaining real-world experience from peace workers in the field. Here are some other highlights:
- Collaborated with other student groups in 2011 to bring together a faculty panel with experience in the Middle East to discuss the Arab Spring and our response as Americans, students, and peacebuilders.
- Organized and hosted the Inter-Collegiate Peace Conference in 2010 and 2014.
- Responded to the violent conflict in Gaza by leading an interfaith prayer service, candlelight vigil, and a coffeehouse discussion.
International peace presence
EMU students from all backgrounds are enriched by hundreds of international peacebuilders joining the campus community each year.
Many are students in the masters of conflict transformation program. Others come for short periods of study through the trauma-healing program or Summer Peacebuilding Institute of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
All EMU students have the opportunity to hear the stories of these people and learn from their experiences.