Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Peace Studies Take Off

(By Dana Micucci, New York Times)

LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico — The Bradbury Science Museum in this drab high-desert town studded with old army barracks houses life-size replicas of Little Boy and Fat Man, chilling reminders of the human capacity for unspeakable violence. The cutely named atomic bombs, which were invented here, were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945.

Less than 100 miles away, or 160 kilometers, in Montezuma, New Mexico, lies United World College of the American West (UWC-USA), a two-year pre-university residential school offering an international baccalaureate diploma, with a special emphasis on peace studies and conflict resolution.

One of twelve UWC campuses worldwide and the only one in the United States, the school admits about 200 students a year, aged 16 to 19, from more than 80 countries, with the aim of fostering respect for diverse cultural, social and religious backgrounds.

Building upon its commitment to conflict-resolution training, UWC-USA established the Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict in 2000 to expand students' skills in managing and reducing interpersonal and inter-group conflicts locally and globally.

Renata Dwan of Ireland, a 1988 UWC-USA graduate who now works in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations, says her education at UWC was instrumental in teaching her how to live peacefully in a community of diverse cultures.

"Creating an environment where peace can thrive is, at the most basic level, about respecting and accepting others and realizing how subjective our perceptions are," Dwan said.

Please visit the New York Times to read the remainder of the article...

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