An international education group Tuesday awarded the University of San Diego the Sen. Paul Simon Spotlight Award for its Women PeaceMakers Program.
USD was one of three schools honored by NAFSA: Association of International Educators for a specific international program or initiative that contributes toward comprehensive internationalization.
USD’s Women PeaceMakers Program was created and implemented by the university’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ). Each year the program selects four women, leading human rights and peacemaking efforts in their home countries, to spend time at USD, sharing their stories and engaging the university and local communities on these issues through planned activities and conversations.
While the women are at USD, the Women PeaceMakers Program documents their stories and best practices. Women on the frontlines of efforts to end violence and secure a just peace seldom record their experiences. The Women PeaceMakers Program, funded by the Fred J. Hansen Foundation for all of its eight years, offers an opportunity for women leaders to document, share and build upon their unique peacemaking stories.
“The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice is founded on the experience and promise that if we can know one another, we can learn, we can change and we can create peaceful and just societies,” said IPJ Deputy Director Dee Aker, who created the program. “Thirty-two women have lived here on campus for two months each fall. As their stories are documented, their spirits, too, are lifted by meeting our USD community.
“This University of Peace often gives these women some of that peace and a respite from their dangerous lives. On occasion students have been inspired to join WPMs at home on the ceasefire lines or at centers where they have taken a stand and given hope to so many who have no other voice.”
Named for the late Sen. Paul Simon, (D–Ill.), these awards recognize outstanding and innovative efforts in campus internationalization.
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