Looking for a Chance for Peace with New Fellows Program
Peace Fellow Holly Aldrich (center) stands with John and Erma Stutzman.
October 2, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A new fellows program at Illinois Wesleyan University is helping
students discover new avenues for peace.
“Peace is not the absence of war. It is something much greater, that takes much more
work,” said Erma Stutzman, who, with husband John Stutzman, is sponsoring the new
Peace Fellows Program at Illinois Wesleyan, which will offer student fellows mentoring
and financial support for studies that forward the idea of peace and justice.
“We all live in a fractured and violent world, not just internationally, but at all
levels of society – in business, homes, marriages, personal contacts and the community,”
said John Stutzman, a retired urologist who has volunteered in violence-torn nations
such as Haiti. “The idea of the program is to promote peace, justice and reconciliation.”
A former member of the University Board of Trustees, Stutzman said he and his wife
thought Illinois Wesleyan would be a strong place to start the Peace Fellows Program.
“The number of colleges and universities instituting peace studies programs is increasing,”
he said. “We knew Illinois Wesleyan would be a good platform for a program here.”
Formulated this spring, two students were selected to be the inaugural Peace Fellows.
One of the students, junior Holly Aldrich of Elmhurst, began her studies this fall.
“One of the reasons I chose Illinois Wesleyan is that it affords personal growth and
the pursuit of that which I am passionate in a very challenging academic setting,”
said Aldrich, a Women’s Studies major, who plans to expand her studies of involuntary
female circumcision, and may use her fellowship to work in Africa. “What we have at
Illinois Wesleyan are the tools for social change,” said Aldrich. “We have a student
population here that is responsive.”
Students can apply for the program each spring, and some will be interviewed by a
committee before being accepted as a Peace Fellow. Three years in development, the
program requires students to focus the fellowship around their interests. “We have
left the program flexible to keep open possibilities,” said Peace Fellows committee
member Paul Bushnell, professor of history at Illinois Wesleyan. “We could have students
who major in history, science or environmental studies, each with the challenge to
show us what will engage them and make their contribution to peace and justice stronger.”
“I like the fact that I can really make the program reflect me,” said Aldrich, who
said she will view involuntary female circumcision as a disability issue, and compare
it to her own experiences as a woman with cerebral palsy.
“These kinds of theories are being discussed throughout the world,” said John Stutzman
of Aldrich’s studies. “I see the committee made a strong choice in Holly.”
The second Peace Fellow, junior Daniel Burke from Monee, Ill., is currently studying
abroad in Spain. “I decided to apply for the peace fellows program because one of
my interests is environmental justice. As an environmental studies and Spanish double
major, my main interest will be looking into environmental justice in the Hispanic
community,” said Burke, who hopes to begin research on areas such as water pollution
and scarcity, as well as environmental conditions in factories along the Mexican-U.S.
border, when he returns in the spring.
Contact: Rachel Hatch (309) 556-3960