Sustainable Peace Working Group 2017-18

Fostering One Harvard Connections

The Sustainable Peace Working Group (SPWG) was organized by a Harvard inter-school panel of graduate students and alumni who wished to leverage Harvard’s cross-disciplinary expertise and global reach to foster a world of more harmonious, cooperative, and equitable human relations and build a network for leadership, collaboration, and creativity for sustainable peace at Harvard and beyond.  SPWG was the launch activity of the Sustainable Peace Initiative (SPI).

In academic year 2017–18, SPWG members connected over a light dinner with Harvard faculty, fellows, alumni, and students from across the University from a diverse array of disciplines, professions, and traditions.  In a series of open conversations on "Envisioning Sustainable Peace" featuring presentations by Harvard faculty and in sessions to workshop student projects, we explored:

  • How mainstreaming sustainable peace as a goal of leadership across sectors can contribute to a world of more harmonious, cooperative, and equitable human relations
  • How leadership, collaboration, and creativity for sustainable peace can be advanced within and across our fields at Harvard
  • How projects of graduate and undergraduate students who aspire to contribute to sustainable peace can benefit from cross-Harvard leadership, collaboration, and creativity

Fall 2017 Sessions

  • October 12 - Workshop Session featured Chew Lin Kay (HDS) on "Causal Layer Analysis," Leonardo Parraga (HGSE) on "Letter of Reconciliation" project in Colombia, and Benjamin Korta (HDS) and Qing Guan (FAS) on group meditation and peace practice
  • October 19 - Workshop Session featured Enoch Aboi (HDS) on "Competing Interests and the Quest for the Meaning of Violence and Peace in Nigeria," Ekram Ibrahim (HKS) on “How Can the Media bring us Closer Together Today? How Can We Communicate to Build Bridges?" and Shannon Boley (HDS) on “Building Connections between Harvard and Local Refugee Communities”
  • October 26 - Open Conversation featured faculty members Charles Hallisey Yehan Numata Senior Lecturer on Buddhist Literatures at HDS, and Jeff Seul Lecturer on the Practice of Peace at HDS, cochair of the Peace Appeal Foundation, and partner at Holland & Knight.
  • November 9 - Workshop Session featured Tajay Bongsa (HDS) on "Bridging Social and Economic Progress," Ben Gulla (HGSE) on "Making Room for Peace in Schools," and Veena Prasad (HDS) on "Empowering Women during Postpartum and Beyond"
  • November 16 - Open Conversation featured faculty members Nien-hê Hsieh Associate Professor of Business Administration, General Management Unit at HBS, Timothy McCarthy Lecturer on History and Literature, Public Policy, and Education at HGSE, core faculty and director, Culture Change & Social Justice Initiatives at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at HKS, and Kaia Stern Lecturer on Education at HGSE, co-founder and director of the Prison Studies Project.
  • November 30 - Open Conversation featured faculty members Joshua Greene Professor of Psychology, member of the Center for Brain Science faculty, and director of the Moral Cognition Lab at Harvard University, and Janet Gyatso Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies and associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at HDS.

Spring 2018 Sessions

  • February 1 - Open Conversation featured faculty members Omar Sultan Haque  MD, PhD, MTS, Program in Psychiatry and the Law, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at HMS and Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, and Gregory Norris co-director of the Sustainability and Health Initiative for Net Positive Enterprise (SHINE), Center for Health and the Global Environment at HSPH, Adjunct Lecturer on Life Cycle Assessment at HSPH, and Instructor at Harvard Extension School.
  • February 15 - Workshop Session featured Abena Oworae (College) on "Lessons Learned from Crisis Counseling," Lena Swanson-Nystrom (HLS) on "Podcast Project: The American Contract," and Jessica Huang (HSPH) on "Envisioning a Sustainable Peace Lab at Harvard"
  • February 22 - Workshop Session featured Prathima Muniyappa and Andre Uhl on "Indigenous Thinking for a Post-Industrial Society: Case Studies for Design and Education" and Christina Desert and Lucia Villavicencio on "Unrelenting Violence: Acknowledging our Situatedness and Background Within Peacebuilding"
  • March 8 - Open Conversation on personal peace practices with Elizabeth R. Lee-Hood, PhD candidate, Study of Religion at Harvard University, MTS ’96 HDS, AB ’90 FAS, and RPP Research Associate
  • March 22 - Open Conversation featured faculty members Anne Monius  Professor of South Asian Religions at HDS, and Brittany Butler executive director of the Social Innovation + Change Initiative and Adjunct Lecturer at HKS.
  • April 12 - Open Conversation featured faculty member Jocelyne Cesari Professor of Religion and Politics and Director of Research, Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion at Birmingham University, Senior Research Fellow, Berkley Center at Georgetown University, and Lecturer at HDS and Scott Overdyke associate director for social enterprise at Harvard Innovation Labs (i-Labs) at HBS.

Networking Dinner for the Sustainable Peace Initiative

The Sustainable Peace Initiative (SPI) aspires to grow into a global trend to:

  • Recognize our interconnectedness as a human family
  • Mainstream sustainable peace as a goal of leadership across sectors
  • Promote bridge-building and shared flourishing across divides
  • Foster holistic approaches that leverage our spiritual, ethical, and cultural resources

On April 19, 2018, we invited members of the Harvard community and the public to connect with us and interested others in greater Boston. We asked them how they might advance the SPI mission in their contexts, what supports they need, and how Harvard might contribute.

Together we can leverage our diverse resources and Harvard’s unparalleled cross-disciplinary expertise and global reach to foster a more humane, harmonious, and equitable world!