Co-Director: Dr. W.T. Dickens and Dr. Dirk de Jong
“Peace is not merely the absence of war… but… is rightly and appropriately called ‘an enterprise of justice’.” - Isaiah 32:17 (Pastoral Constitution #78 Vatican II)
Peace Studies at Siena is a multi-disciplinary scholarly, practical, and personal pursuit that examines many social justice topics, such as the origins, causes, and justifications of war and other systems of state, group, and interpersonal violence; a just world community; global environmental concerns; intercultural understanding; and non-violent alternatives to injustice, violence and war.
The Siena College Peace Studies program is inspired by Jewish and Christian principles of peace and justice and the values and example of Francis of Assisi, who encouraged humans to be peacemakers not only in their own lives but in the world at large. This vision of peace and justice can be found in many life-affirming religious and philosophical traditions, and has informed the words and actions of many peacemakers, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dorothy Day.
The program subscribes to the following general principles articulated by Joseph Fahey in Education for Justice and Peace:
- Peace education must be solidly academic in nature: scholarly research is basic to the program, and students are strongly encouraged to consider as many perspectives as possible, not solely that of peace researchers.
- Peace studies is multidisciplinary in methods: peace studies is problem-centered and thus requires the perspectives and methodologies of many disciplines.
- Peace studies is ‘reconstructionist’ in nature: students should think about the future and about what reforms or inventions may be necessary to produce a more desirable society or world.
- Peace studies requires a moral commitment: although as academics we seek objectivity in our research methodology, we also acknowledge the role of values in the choice of topic and the determination of what is desirable. Peace studies explicitly states its position as being for peace and life and against violence and injustice.
- Peace studies must have a ‘practical’ orientation: students should realize the applicability of their knowledge towards advancing the goals of peace and justice.