(Posted March 10, 2014)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College will bring in a team of nationally known scholars to determine how best to identify success in student learning and curriculum at the conference "Reconstructing Peace Studies: Assessing New Knowledge and Outcomes," held from Thursday, March 20 through Sunday, March 23.

"The event is a small, working conference where the participants hope to identify and assess the skills, attitudes and knowledge that all students pursuing a degree in a peace studies program should have," says Celia Cook-Huffman, professor of conflict resolution at Juniata College. "We want to discuss how to equip students with the means to negotiate emerging global challenges and best practices for engaging students in the learning process."

"We want to discuss how to equip students with the means to negotiate emerging global challenges and best practices for engaging students in the learning process."

Celia Cook-Huffman, professor of conflict resolution

The sessions are restricted to those who have registered for the conference. To get information about registering for the conference, please call Elizabeth Widman at 814-641-3464.

All sessions for the conference will take place in Sill Boardroom in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The conference will open at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 20, with a "world café" discussion on "What Does Peace Studies Seek to Achieve?"

The next day, Friday, March 21, the first session "What are the Social and Political Purposes/Goals of the Field?" will start at 9 a.m. The session will discuss emerging issues such as globalization and state-sponsored violence and how peace programs might adapt to these issues to make a contribution to society.

The three-person panel leading the discussion is comprised of:
--George Lopez, vice president of the U.S. Institute of Peace's Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. Before accepting that job in 2013, Lopez was a faculty member for 27 years at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

--Mary Adams Trujillo, professor of communication arts at North Park University, in Chicago, Ill., where she teaches courses on cultural communication and conflict transformation. She earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois and went on to earn a master's degree at the University of New Mexico and a doctorate at Northwestern University.

--Elton Skendaj, visiting assistant professor of political science at the University of Miami, where he teaches courses on international relations and comparative politics. He previously taught at Florida International University and Cornell University.

Friday's second session starts at 11:30 a.m. on "Teaching Peace Studies" in which participants will discuss how to reflect the values of fieldwork into classrooms. Panelists include:

--Dale Snauwaert, professor of educational theory and social foundations of education at the University of Toledo, is the director of the Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Education. He is the founding editor of the journal "In Factis Pax: Online Journal of Peace Education and Social Justice."

--Meg Gardinier, assistant professor of international and intercultural education at Florida International University, is a former research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she researched international educational development.

--Christa Tinari, founder of Peace Praxis Educational Services, works with community colleges, peace organizations and diversity coalitions to organize dialogues and educational forums.

At 2:30 p.m., Friday, the third session features the topic "Attitudes: How do we ask our Students to Identify, Explore and Develop Attitudes, Values and Opinions?" Panelists scheduled to participate are:

--Polly Walker, assistant professor of peace studies at Juniata College, teaches courses on conflict resolution and has researched how conflicts can be resolved through performance and the arts.

--David Ragland, a visiting assistant professor of education at Bucknell University, also is a United Nations Representative for the International Peace Research Association.

--Angie Lederach, RATE Bilingual Project assistant at Teaching Peace, a Denver, Colo.-based nonprofit educational organization.

--David Smith is a part-time professor of George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and an independent peacebuilding trainer. He is a former national education outreach officer for the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Sessions for Saturday, March 22 begin at 9 a.m. with "Knowledge: What Should Peace Studies Students Know?" where discussions will focus on the big ideas students must address. Panelists include:

--Rhys Kelly, a lecturer in conflict resolution at the University of Bradford, England. His research interests include language and linguistics and culture and cultural theory.

--Randall Amster, director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University, is the author of two books, including "Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization and Urban Ecology of Homelessness."

--JoAnn Bowman, a 1975 Juniata graduate, is executive leadership development director for Chemonics International.

At 11 a.m., the second session will cover "Skills: What Should Peace Studies Students be Able to do?" Panelists include:

--Donna Chung, a member of the United Nations Global Compact Project.

--Andy Loomis, deputy director of Operations Team Three at the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, is a graduate of Georgetown University.

--Fidele Lumeya, executive director of the Congolese American Council for Peace and Development, was an associate director for international emergency response for Church World Service.

--Matt Guynn, program director for nonviolent change at On Earth Peace, is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.

In the afternoon, a 2 p.m. session on "Program and Course Assessment: Strategies, Tools and Critiques," will be moderated by Pat Coy, director and associate professor at the Center for Applied Conflict Management at Kent State University. Several members of Juniata's faculty from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, will participate with Coy.

On Sunday, March 23, the conference will end with the 11 a.m. workshop Imagining Futures," moderated by Tony Jenkins, vice president for academic affairs at the National Peace Academy, and accompanied by members of Juniata's faculty from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.