Pinellas high school and college students will learn how to become peacemakers at a public forum on global peace Nov. 14 at the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College. The forum, titled “World Peace: Let It Begin with Me,” is co-sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and Rotary International. The free program will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Digitorium at SPC Seminole, 9200 113th St. N., and the public is invited to attend.
The forum will highlight the work of Seeds of Peace, an international organization that brings together young people from conflict zones in the Middle East, South Asia, and the United States. Members of Seeds of Peace first meet at a summer camp in Maine, where they live together and engage their “enemies” in dialogue about their conflicts. Seeds of Peace then runs year-round programs for graduates of the Camp back in their home countries in order to help build new generation of leaders who become “seeds” of peace in their home countries.
Madeira Beach Realtor Chuck Oldanie, a Seeds of Peace volunteer and member of the Seminole Lake Rotary Club, will kick off the forum with an account of his experiences working with Seeds in India, where Indians and Pakistanis worked side by side to build housing at a Habitat for Humanity project. Video clips will highlight Seeds campers in Maine sharing their new-found friendships with young people previously identified by nationality or ethnic origin as enemies.
A panel of local experts will discuss the historical and philosophical nature of peacemaking and challenge the young people to become involved in peace efforts at the local level. The panel includes:
- Sane Haidara, an SPC student from Timbuktu, Mali, who is a refugee from that country’s recent military violence.
- Dustin Lemke, a member of the Religious Society of Friends and professor of Communication and Leadership at Hillsborough Community College.
- Prof. Earl Fratus, Associate Professor of Political Science and History at SPC
- Prof. Roy Slater, Associate professor of American Government, International Relations, and Model United Nations at SPC, will moderate the panel.
Peace and conflict resolution is just one of many causes supported by Rotary International. Through its Rotary Peace Centers program, it helps develop leaders to become catalysts for peace and conflict resolution locally and globally. Rotary Peace Fellows receive a master’s degree or complete a certificate program at one of the club’s partner universities.
The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC serves as a resource for academic enrichment. It is a non-partisan venue for civil, objective debate of topical public issues, a center to promote better government, and a resource for sustainable economic development. Its mission is to support a broad array of research, training, educational and policy analysis and support activities at all levels.
Admission to the forum is free, but advance registration is requested at spcollege.edu/solutions.