This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Credit: Original artwork by Olaf Hajek, poster Design by PrettyCo

Women’s Studies Presents First Annual Peace Week

In celebration of the International Day of Peace on September 21, the Women’s Studies Program inaugurated the College’s first-ever Peace Week in hopes of promoting peace activism around the Hudson Valley and Vassar communities. The keynote speakers were Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Gini Reticker and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee. Reticker directed the 2008 documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which depicts the rise of a Liberian women’s group that worked to promote peace and to elect the nation’s first female head of state. Gbowee, who received the 2009 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for exceptional public service, is one of the activists featured in the film. Reticker and Gbowee hosted a screening of the film and a lecture entitled “Women, War and Peace.” Peace Week also featured a “Peace is Loud” vigil, a panel discussion for students on opportunities in and funding for peace work, and a roundtable discussion on peace.

Associate Professor of History Lydia Murdoch ’92, who directs Vassar’s Women’s Studies program says Peace Week will become an annual event highlighting a different aspect of women’s peace activism each year. By raising awareness about the various forms of violence that women face while also articulating the practice of living in peace, Murdoch and the Women’s Studies department endeavor “to promote the idea that peace is a process—not an event—which requires coalition building, respect for all human life, and tenacity.”

October 2009

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