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New peacebuilding program offered by Emory's Candler, General Theological

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Laurel Hanna
Candler School of Theology
Chad Rancourt
General Theological Seminary
Practical Peacekeeping

Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and The General Theological Seminary (GTS) are offering a new joint continuing education program in peacebuilding and conflict transformation Jan. 9-12, 2013, at the Desmond Tutu Center on the GTS campus in New York.

"Practical Peacebuilding: Skills and Spiritual Practices for Conflict Transformation" is an ecumenical program designed for clergy, other church leaders, and anyone interested in learning practical skills in conflict transformation. Continuing education units are available, and online registration is now open.

"Conflict is simmering within our congregations and communities, yet it can be the catalyst for positive change," says Jan Love, dean of Candler. "There is strong interest among Candler and GTS alumni for continuing education in peacebuilding, and our partnership has made it possible to design a program that appeals to a wide range of Christian leaders and others focused on this important work."

"The Desmond Tutu Center is the ideal site for launching a new program that incorporates many of the philosophies and practices Bishop Tutu used in his work to end apartheid in South Africa," says Lang Lowrey, GTS president. "One of the program’s goals is to honor this legacy by being inclusive of all denominations and viewpoints, and helping participants approach the work within their own personal context."   

Practical Peacebuilding teaches participants to prepare to engage conflict constructively, strengthens skills necessary to facilitate a conflict transformation process, and identifies spiritual practices and resources vital to sustaining this work.

The Practical Peacebuilding curriculum incorporates time for worship and reflection so that participants attend to God’s presence in their lives, in sites of conflict, and in the process of transformation. It also includes interaction with practitioners, both in the classroom and during field trips to peacebuilding locations in the New York area.

Two Candler faculty will lead the program. Luther E. Smith Jr., professor of church and community, is a renowned expert on congregational renewal, community activism, and the spirituality of theologian Howard Thurman.  Ellen Ott Marshall, associate professor of Christian ethics and conflict transformation, is a leading authority on religious peacebuilding and conflict transformation. They will center their teaching around the approaches of John Paul Lederach, widely known for his international conflict transformation work, and Ron Kraybill, peace advisor to the United Nations and author of "Peaceskills." They also will utilize writings and spiritual practices of Thurman, Thich Nhat Hanh, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dorothy Day.

Practical Peacebuilding is the first collaborative education program of the Candler-GTS partnership, which also includes the sharing of library resources and the exchange of both students and faculty members.

Learn more about Practical Peacebuilding and register for the program.

About the partners

Candler School of Theology, Emory University, prepares real people to make a real difference in the real world. An intellectually vital, internationally distinguished and intentionally diverse university-based school of theology, its mission is to educate faithful and creative leaders for the church's ministries in the world. Candler is dedicated to expanding knowledge of religion and theology, deepening spiritual life, strengthening the public witness of the churches, and building upon the breadth of Christian traditions, particularly the Wesleyan heritage, for the positive transformation of church and world. It is one of 13 United Methodist Church seminaries, with an enrollment of nearly 500 students representing 46 denominations and more than 7,500 alumni worldwide.

Emory University is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as the Carlos Museum, The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system.

Located in New York City, The General Theological Seminary educates and forms transformational leaders for the church and for the world. Founded in 1817 as the first theological seminary of The Episcopal Church, General embodies the belief that rigorous academics, vibrant worship and beloved life in community are inseparable aspects of formation for all ministries of Christ's church. General Seminary's students, who include future clergy, parish leaders, chaplains, spiritual directors, scholars, and justice advocates, benefit from not only the integration of study, worship, holistic spirituality, and the support of the seminary community, but also the unique urban setting that is New York City and the seminary's ties with the wider Anglican Communion. General Seminary is also home to learning centers that enhance a student's experience, including the Center for Christian Spirituality and the Desmond Tutu Center, whose educational programs, special lectures and international conferences honor the peacebuilding legacy of this renowned Anglican archbishop and exemplar in the ministry of reconciliation.

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