Giving Peace a Chance: Peace and Justice Studies Program’s Growing Sustainability Curriculum

    One course in global peace has now evolved into a Peace and Justice Studies minor.

The Peace and Justice Studies (PJS) Program, a 15-credit interdisciplinary minor that is open to all students in Pleasantville, is offering a number of new courses that expand its sustainability curriculum.

“We both strongly felt that global peace depended on our being able to resolve conflicts nonviolently (at home and around the world) and on our learning to live sustainably and support sustainable living and development around the globe,” says Frances Delahanty, PhD, Director of the PJS Program, who, together with Professor Joan Katen, a Dyson adjunct, developed the minor. “We included both conflict resolution techniques and sustainable development as keys to peace because we believe that where a person is lacking food and the basics to sustain self and family, that person is not and cannot be at peace,” says Katen.

The program has launched a number of new courses including: The United Nations as an Instrument of Peace; a course based on the Earth Charter; and one on the history and literature of war and peace. By spring 2010, the program plans to have five PJS courses, three of which cover sustainability issues, and at least four elective courses focused on sustainability.

The PJS Program evolved from a learning community course “Keys to Global Peace: Nonviolent Conflict Resolution and Sustainable Development,” developed five years ago by Dr. Delahanty and Prof. Katen. Students in the minor are required to take the “Keys” course and an “Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies” along with a selection of interdisciplinary electives. Both courses are Area of Knowledge 1 (AOK1) service learning courses, so students work with local peace, justice, and sustainability agencies in the community as part of the course curriculum. Dr. Delahanty and Prof. Katen hope the program will expand to offer students the opportunity to major in the field.