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Peace and Social Justice at Plymouth State

By Brendan Sullivan
On April 19, 2018

Peace and Social Justice at Plymouth State

Nick Pulliam

Features Editor

One of the major concerns a PSU student faces is whether or not what they are doing here will help them in the real world. It is a valid concern, spending time in a classroom is very different from the actual experience after all.

For students interested in one day traveling the world and helping people, there is a perfect minor for them. It is called the Peace and Social Justice Studies Minor. One of the chair members for the Peace and Social Justice Studies Council, Metasebia Woldemariam, thinks the minor can make students aware of issues that communities face because of a lack of peace in the world. The minor asks, “What can we do by promoting peace and especially social justice as well?” she says.

Recently the Council hosted an event at the Fireplace Lounge to promote the minor. It was called “Celebrate Peace” and at the event two PSU alumni who went down very different paths came to speak about their experiences in the world.

The first speaker was Alex Bullock. He graduated in 2009 with a BA in Political Science. He also minored in History. While at PSU he was interested in the model U.N. and upon graduating he became an officer in the U.S. army. He was part of a short-lived initiative called Village Stability Operations. The initiative would travel to isolated villages in Afghanistan and work to improve the quality of life while also trying to connect these villages to the main Afghan Government. While in these villages he did things like helping to dig wells, because many people had to travel miles just to get clean water. He also spoke about how he helped to renovate Mosques.

The second speaker was Elisia Morgani, another PSU alumni. She graduated with a BS in Public Management. She was also a part of PSU’s Model UN, which is run by Filiz Ruhm. Just like Bullock, she had the opportunity to visit other parts of the world. After graduating she joined the Peace Corp and ended up teaching English in Ukraine for a couple years. She eventually had to evacuate the country but the time she spent there and in other parts of the world gave her a new perspective on life in the U.S. She noted how in many other parts of the world, people would have less than we do here, but were often happier because they had greater familial connections. After her time in the Peace Corp she joined the State Department and that is where she works now.

Neither of these two alumni minored in Peace and Social Justice Studies but they were both involved in the Model United Nations, which is a course that you can take to get the minor. The entire minor was reworked three years ago and they changed it so that you no longer need to take specific courses, you just need to take one from each block of courses. One block for example has courses that are all about global issues and how they relate to peace and social justice. Another block covers local issues. The goal here is to find what students are interested in an to let them take courses that they think are relevant. Woldemariam says that “the biggest benefit students get is that their interests are opened up.”

Right now, the minor is fairly small with under 15 people taking it. That being said, it is a unique opportunity and it is perfect for students who want to see social change in the world.


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