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Peace week initiates controversial discussion

The fourth annual Peace Week Conference will be held April 16-20

By JADE DOMINGUE Contributing Writer
On March 29, 2012

If you want to discuss Occupy Wall Street and Kony 2012, Loyola's fourth annual Peace Week Conference might be for you.

Peace Week provides students with the opportunity to, discuss and find out what they can do about these and other peace-related issues. The conference is a completely student-run event that will take place April 16 to 20.

General studies junior Haley Saucier, co-chairwoman of the 2012 conference, said that the purpose of the event is to "raise awareness and open dialogue" about issues that are well known as well as those that are less publicized.

"We hope Peace Week will inspire people to look deeper into issues and get more involved in social justice," she said.

The conference has sought to promote peace since its initiation in 2009. Since its start, Peace Week has evolved from what was three days of panels and the participation of several organizations to a "truly multi-disciplinary event," according to Saucier and Anna Mueller, co-chairwoman and psychology senior.

Mueller said that, because of the heavy involvement from student organizations, this has been the busiest Peace Week that they have had.

The conference's organizers said they expect this expansion to continue through the years. Saucier said that they look for a wide spectrum involvement.

"We try to get everyone involved," Saucier said. "Any talents and any skill level and any amount of time that a person can provide...the spirit is getting all organizations involved."

For the conference, the theater department is putting on two student-directed plays, Loyola University Community Action Program is hosting an art exhibit and Free the Slaves is holding a dance fundraiser.

Other events that will take place during the week include a poetry slam against sexual violence, a documentary and presentation about the Tibetan crisis, a panel discussion on gay rights and a concert during the window on Thursday.

Students who have written a paper on a particular subject that they are passionate about prepare panels. These are intended to "synthesize different ideas," according to Mueller.

Mueller and Saucier, who have been planning this event since September, have found keynote speakers to discuss relevant global issues. In the past, the Peace Conference has seen Harvard and Columbia professors and historians who gave first-hand accounts as Arab activists. This year Jeff Goodwin, a sociology professor from New York University, will speak about his experiences in furthering the Occupy Wall Street movement. There will also be a lecture from Ann Hermes, A '03, who was a journalist in Egypt during the protests last year.

"We are not shying away from discussing controversial issues," Mueller said. "It is the best way to get people thinking."

In regard to the conference's message and purpose, Mueller said the organizers want to convey an inherent accountability in being active in the promotion of global peace.

"It's almost irresponsible not to be involved," Mueller said. "The peace conference offers a great way to learn how to do that."

Jade Domingue can be reached at


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