Lindsey Henley: What is Peace Studies for you?
When I arrived at Goucher, Peace Studies wasn’t a major, and I had absolutely no idea what my college career had in store for me. But over the next four years, Peace Studies would become a major, and I would make it mine. I am a senior graduating with the first class of Peace Studies majors at Goucher College. This is pretty monumental.
The first semester of my freshman year I took a Frontiers course called Peace: The Undiscovered Country. On the first day of class, students went around the room introducing themselves and saying why they were taking the class. Some were interested in the Peace Corps. and some wished to travel abroad and work and for NGOs in conflict regions. I was taking the class because it fit nicely into my schedule. As we discussed what the class would entail for us for the rest of the semester, the professor said something that has stuck with me for the past four years. “Let me suggest to you that your heart is as resilient as your knees,” she said.
This comment has come to define Peace Studies for me in so many ways, as the program examines the heartbreaking realities of conflict, and the hopeful prospects of peace-building and conflict resolution. The Peace Studies program is a rollercoaster of emotions that range from the tremendous sadness and mourning that accompanies the examination of violent struggle and the pleasure of rejoicing in our own humanity as a common bond that brings us all together. In no other discipline have I found such emphasis on the entire human experience as Peace Studies.