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Peace Minor Emphasizes Global Connections

Posted: August 18, 2010
With peace so needed around the globe, Buffalo State College offers a 21-credit-hour minor program in peace studies. Housed within the Geography and Planning Department, the peace minor draws course offerings from 23 academic departments and is open to all interested students.

“In this way,” said professor Kim Irvine, who chaired the department when the program launched in 2008, "we can meet the needs and interests of a diverse group of students."

The intent of the minor, said Jean F. Gounard, director of the International Student Affairs Office, is to provide students with the opportunity to examine human responsibility in all levels of community, specific to fostering and sustaining peaceful relations, justice, and reconciliation.

Required coursework guides students in examining the interconnectedness of all people—namely how they share basic needs and concerns. A field experience at the local, regional, national, or even international level allows students to directly apply classroom learning.

“We believe that an appreciation for the diversity of our local and global community will allow our students to be more understanding and productive members of society,” said Irvine. “This is particularly important for Buffalo since it is home to a growing and vibrant refugee community that needs support to adjust to the many aspects of life in the U.S.”

Due to the high influx of refugees in the Buffalo area, he added, students have significant opportunity to intern with local refugee settlement agencies. “There are some growing connections between the peace minor, the new minor in Asia Studies, and the large Burmese/Karen refugee community in Buffalo.”

Kelly Frothingham, associate professor and current chair of the Geography and Planning Department, encourages Buffalo State students to consider the program. “The peace minor can connect students to many exciting local and international opportunities that will allow them to see how they fit into the global community.”

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