Peace Fellows Program Selects New Recipients for Next Academic Year
May 16, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Two Illinois Wesleyan students, Marie-Claudine Villacorta and
Monica Shah, are the latest additions to the Peace Fellows Program, which names two
students as Peace Fellows annually. The students agree to a two-year commitment during
which they will complete three courses outside their major devoted to the study of
peace, complete an independent study and complete an off-campus internship in the
United States or abroad.
The Peace Fellows Program was established in 2007 by alumnus John Stutzman and his
wife, Erma. The program is open to first and second year Illinois Wesleyan students
from all disciplines who are interested in commitment and dedication to peace and
Qualifications require the students to undergo an application process involving writing
a personal statement, submitting a plan for their two years of study, expected coursework,
ideas for a research topic and internship and an interview with the selection committee
of the Peace Fellows Program.
The selection committee for this year’s Peace Fellows Program included Irving Epstein,
professor of educational studies; James Simeone, associate professor of political
science; Paul Bushnell, professor of history and Abigail Jahiel, associate professor
of environmental and international studies.
As part of her mission in life, Villacorta, a senior international studies and French
double major, has developed an interest in discovering peace and conflict resolutions
based on her personal knowledge of growing up in the Philippines where she learned,
firsthand, the consequences of unstable governments, civil wars, bombings and terrorism.
“Being a Peace Fellow will allow me to contribute toward achieving the goal of eventually
helping my family, fellow Filipinos and people from different parts of the world who
struggle with the issues of living in a conflicted area,” said Villacorta.
In addition to being a part of the Peace Fellows Program, Villacorta will partake
in the Washington Semester Program in the fall, during which students study for an
entire semester in Washington, D.C. at American University. She will intern with an
international organization that works toward development in Africa and this internship
will fulfill the Peace Fellows requirement. Villacorta will also research non-genocidal
societies in Africa, in hopes of finding sustainable solutions for resolving conflict
and preventing violence as her independent study project.
“My study will be interdisciplinary. I believe that conflicts are not only political
but also anthropological and at their core, economic in nature. Conflict resolution
incorporating all of these disciplines provides a process platform to address differences
rooted in social justice,” said Villacorta.
Shah, a junior international studies major, applied to become a Peace Fellow because
it will aid her in achieving her future goals of working with an international organization
and teaching at the high school or college level, introducing international and peace
issues to her classes.
This past semester Shah studied in Washington D.C., interning at the Council of Hemispheric
Affairs, a nonprofit research organization that increases awareness of political affairs
in Latin America and their relations with the United States, writing articles for
their journal, Washington Report on the Hemisphere, and their Web site, www.coha.org. This summer she will intern in Chicago at the office of Senator Barack Obama.
While in Washington D.C., Shah also researched peaceful resolution of conflict through
diplomatic efforts of international organizations as her independent study project.
She conducted interviews with United Nations (U.N.) officials, did a study of the
U.N. Security Council and will continue to research the effectiveness of the U.N.
in promoting peacekeeping and using diplomacy and the promotion of human rights.
“Many people think that institutions like the U.N. are ineffective. However, many
of their peacekeeping and diplomatic missions are ‘quiet successes,’” said Shah.
For additional information on the most recent Peace Fellow students contact Villacorta
at firstname.lastname@example.org or Shah at email@example.com. For additional information on the Peace Fellows program contact the Office of University
Communications at (309) 556-3181 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Allegra Gallian, ’09, (309) 556-3181