USD Magazine, Winter 2004

$ 50 Million Gift Funds Peace Studies School

taking of this kind . The female perspective on war and peace traditionally has been over– looked, Aker says, but its importance has grown in recent years as modern warfare blurs the distinctions berween soldiers and civilians. "The vast majority of victims in any war now, as opposed to a centu1y ago, are noncom– batants," Aker says. 'The majority of those noncombatants are women and children." "I've come here to learn about others," says Zahra Ugaas Farah, ''and to see how others are dealing with conflict. " The four participants in the inaugural program lived at the IPJ's Casa de la Paz residence, and graduate students recorded their personal histories. During their stay, the women rook part in several public events hosted by the IPJ, including a "Reflections on War and Peace" discussion and a "Behind The Lines With Women Peacemakers" forum during the weeklong inaugural cele– bration for USO President Mary E. Lyons. Other events included brown-bag seminars with faculty and students, on-stage one-on– one interviews with Aker or IPJ Director Joyce Neu, and meetings with local political and civic leaders. The peacemakers also explored projects in San Diego and Mexico devoted to improving lives and promoting justice. They visited rape crisis centers, the Promotora Project of International Relief, Survivors of Torture International and rhe United Nations Association's program for fifth graders in San Diego's Balboa Park. "I've come here to learn about others," Farah said, "and to see how others are deal– ing with conflict." Aker believes the program will help change the history of women's exclusion from peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction teams worldwide by identify– ing proven peacemakers. "Women often are denied a role in peace– keeping and post-conflict rebuilding because key figures claim to be unaware of female experts," Aker says. "The Women Peace– makers Program will expand the nerwork of experienced, strong leaders who can be called upon in the future. "

USO will establish a School of Peace Studies at the universi– ty's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice with a $50 mil– lion endowment from the late philanthropist Joan B. Kroc, who died Oct. 12. The school, like the building in which it

Joan B. Kroc

will be housed, will bear Kroc's name. The donation provides funds for USO to educate and train graduate students in peace and conflict studies, hire more professional staff and faculty with expertise in peace studies and expand the institure's work in peacemaking and peace building. Joyce Neu, the !PJ's executive director, hailed the creation of the school as "groundbreaking." "Mrs. Kroc was deeply concerned about the state of the world and the proclivity of our leaders to resort to violence to resolve conflicts rather than finding peaceful means to do so," Neu says. "She believed that through this institute, we would educate people for generations to come in nonviolent responses to conflict to produce a more peaceful world." The university does nor yet have a projected opening dare for the new school, bur the endow– ment by 2005-06 should generate enough revenue to begin aspects of the program. In the mean– time, the university will hire a dean, who will be responsible for designing the curriculum and hiring faculty. The existing graduate peace studies program, now housed in the College ofArts and Sciences, will be transitioned into the new school, as will some faculty members. The school ulti– mately will offer both graduate and undergraduate programs. Kroc also bequeathed $50 million to the University of Notre Dame for its Internacional Peace Studies program . In 1998, she donated $25 million ro USO for construction of the 90,000-square-fooc Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. The first class of graduate stu– dents in peace studies was accepted in Fall 2002. Kroc later donated an additional $5 million to endow the IPJ's Distinguished Lecture Series. The School of Peace Studies will be USD 's sixth academic division, along with the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Education, Law and Nursing. The Web We Wove USD's upgrade ro its existing Web site ( will be unveiled in February with a new home page and initial conversion of many department Web pages into a new, more user-friendly format. Conversion of the remaining pages is expected ro be completed by May. The update was undertaken in response to users who reported they frequently had trouble access– ing viral information on the site, says David Todd, USD's chief information officer. The new sire, he says, was specifically designed with comprehensive drop-down menus to make it easier for visitors to

quickly find the information they want. The "prospective students" and "current students" sections are more prominent on the revamped sire, and allow visitors to access pages of related services and informa– tion with a single click.Visirors to the new site are greeted with one of several alternat– ing phoros of the university, and the new home page includes a continually updated list of campus events. "One of our goals was to make chis a very timely, very active, very dynamic site," Todd says. "Things will be updated and different every time you visit."

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