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Kroc Institute celebrates International Day of Peace

| Friday, September 21, 2018

To celebrate the 2018 International Day of Peace, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies hosted several events Thursday and will continue its celebrations Friday, to reflect this year’s United Nations (UN) theme: “The Right to Peace: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.”

The commemoration kicked off Thursday afternoon, as scholar Thania Paffenholz lectured on the topics of conflict and inclusion in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies auditorium. Paffenholz is director of the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative at the Graduate Institute Geneva. Her lecture, which was open to the public, discussed opportunities and challenges for international and local peacemaking.

Later that evening, the Kroc Institute screened “In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America” in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies Auditorium. This documentary, which aired at the Chicago Irish film festival in 2017, details the life of American John Hume and his role in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations. Erin Corcoran, executive director of the Kroc Institute, said Hume had connections to the institute.

“I learned there is also a Kroc family connection to John Hume,” she said. “In the early eighties when the Kroc Institute was getting up and running, we gave a modern day peace award and John Hume was our first recipient.”

On Friday, Corcoran will moderate the panel entitled “The Status of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70,” with Kroc Institute professors and fellow scholars. The panel discussion will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies auditorium.

Featured on the panel is Diane Desierto, associate professor of Human Rights Law and Global Affairs at the Keough School; Maurice Fitzpatrick, filmmaker of “In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America”; Jennifer Mason McAward, associate professor of law and director, Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights; and Ernesto Verdajo, associate professor of political science at Notre Dame.

“We are really fortunate that the Kroc Institute and the Keough School itself have so much expertise in an array of human rights topics,” Corcoran said.

Each panelist brings a unique perspective to the discussion of the Declaration of Human Rights based on their expertise. McAward will speak about the United States’ Civil Rights movement in relation to the UN declaration, Verdajo will focus on human rights genocide and mass atrocities, Desierto will discuss how law was used to implement the Declaration and Fitzpatrick will elaborate on the topics of arts and culture in human rights.

“It’s really important to raise awareness because often, when people think about peace, they think it’s just the sensation of violence and laying down arms,” Corcoran said. “But really, at the Kroc Institute it’s a lot more than that. It’s how can we create civil and just societies because without justice, there is no peace.”

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