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“Persisting Challenges, New Frontiers”

| Thursday, March 26, 2015

“Persisting Challenges, New Frontiers.” This is the theme of the 2015 Notre Dame Student Peace Conference, held on March 27 and 28 in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. This conference will showcase panel presentations and roundtable discussions by talented students from around the world engaged in the field of peace studies, as well as keynote addresses from impactful leaders such as Serbian activist Srdja Popovic and UN Senior Officer Gillian Kitley.

In a day and age where positive peace is threatened by strained diplomatic relations, struggles for power and political inaction, it is important to question what the theme of this year’s conference truly stands for. What exactly does “Persisting Challenges, New Frontiers” mean, and why is it relevant for our lives?

“Persisting Challenges, New Frontiers” means critically confronting history’s narratives of injustice and violence that occur time and time again and employing innovative, comprehensive solutions with conviction. It means synthesizing our talents and backgrounds to expand the framework in which we contemplate the most pressing issues of peace and security facing our world today. It means challenging our assumptions, our biases, our roadmaps of conflict and inequality and exploring the unlikely, the contradictory and the counterintuitive. It means drawing from diverse disciplines and working collaboratively to identify the conditions which foster peace and extinguish violence. Ultimately, “Persisting Challenges, New Frontiers” means not shying away from the intractable and the insoluble but engaging intelligently and directly in issues of peace and conflict, despite their vast complexity.

Why is the theme relevant? Because this is where it starts. Building a more secure, peaceful world starts with voices who are willing to confront persisting challenges and tread new frontiers. It starts with the integration of ideas and the cultivation of constructive questioning. It starts with us.

Theresa Rinaldo


March 24

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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