Opinions & Editorials

Why Peace Studies Matters

KATHLEEN WHITE

GUEST WRITER

The study of injustice and human suffering is not an easy task; it is tough and takes a tough person to voluntarily study these topics. One of the biggest challenges of being a peace studies major is realizing all of the places in which peace and justice do not exist. In addition, the road to peace is not an easy one but that does not mean it is impossible. I have learned that peace is possible—it just takes hard work, negotiation and collaboration to build and maintain peace.

During my time at Manhattan College, I have encountered many people who have a worldview that states, individuals and communities cannot peacefully coexist. For the most part, it appears that the general public is stuck in a mindset that war, violence and competition are inevitable aspects of human nature. Furthermore, society has often looked at people who choose to study peace as passive and weak. However, my time as a peace studies major has taught me quite the opposite.

I chose to major in peace studies major because I have always been passionate about human rights and social justice and wanted an opportunity to academically explore these topics. Peace Studies has given me the academic opportunity to explore issues of war, injustice, genocide, and violence and work towards finding solutions.

I’ve learned that peace is a possibility. Although injustices occur, dedicated individuals and groups have made improvements in the field of human rights. My favorite thing about my Peace Studies major is that it has proved to me that people who are conscious about the world around them can make a difference. Although I have realized that it is not an easy task, I am privileged to meet so many amazing people who share the same passions that have taught me peace and justice are possible.

Through my involvement in JustPeace and Catholic Relief Services as a Student Ambassador, I have realized the importance of hosting events to educate other students about these topics. Peace Week is important because it is an opportunity to include the whole campus on Manhattan College’s initiatives to spread peace education. It is comprised of events that take an interdisciplinary approach so students of all majors and backgrounds, not just Peace Studies students, can participate.

The Lasallian values that Manhattan College is built upon make it important that we include topics of peace, justice and understanding into the college environment. These events are interesting and educational ways for people to realize that they do not need to dedicate their major or career path to peace and justice to be part of the movement.