Sept. 17, 2018
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Illinois Wesleyan University will recognize the International Day of Peace with the inaugural International Day of Peace Conference from Friday, Sept. 21 through Saturday, Sept. 22. The events will take place throughout The Ames Library, the Hansen Student Center and the Memorial Center.
Observed each year on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace among all nations and people. Featuring film screenings, live performances and panels over the course of two days, Josie Blumberg ’19 – an IWU Peace Fellow and founder of the conference – said the purpose is to discuss the challenges and approaches to achieving peace in different environments of conflict.
“The International Day of Peace Conference is really an amazing opportunity to hear firsthand about peace efforts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and to engage with peace activists,” Blumberg said. “I hope the conference will show students that no matter what they study, their field of interest is important in helping countries reconstruct themselves and find peace.”
The events, which will also feature activists from Asia, the Middle East and Africa who work in the field of peacebuilding, will provide participants with “the opportunity to hear about different approaches to peace taken by countries around the world,” Blumberg added.
As a Peace Fellow, Blumberg has conducted and presented extensive research in the areas of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. Her interest in understanding the different forms of peacebuilding has led her to work within the nonprofit sector with organizations that support exchange programs between countries, including the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, and a nonprofit organization in Washington D.C.
“As a Peace Fellow, I believe it is especially critical to understand the field of peacebuilding, considering the number of countries within different contexts trying to bring about peace in our world today,” Blumberg said. “Not only are countries trying to bring about the cessation of violence, but they are also striving to rebuild their country while addressing political, economic, and social issues.”
The conference is hosted by the Peace Fellows, and the Anthropology, History and Political Science Departments. Events will begin on Friday, Sept. 21 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Davidson Room of the Memorial Center with a viewing of “The Grandchildren of Hiroshima,” by Mirei Tashiro. Following the screening is a performance by Tatsushi Amano, titled “Living with the Father,” in the Beckman Auditorium of The Ames Library from 4-6 p.m. A dinner and panel discussing, “Lessons from the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict and Japan,” will then follow from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Turfler Room of the Memorial Center.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, a panel of activists will speak on “Understanding the Complexities of Peacebuilding” in the Hansen Student Center from 1-3 p.m. A meet and greet with the panelists will precede the event from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Hansen.
By Vi Kakares ’20