Gateway Celebrates Women Peacemakers

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gateway Community College’s event, “Celebrate Women Peacemakers” featuring a screening and discussion of the film, Half the Sky, drew a crowd of more than 30 students, faculty, and staff March 7. 

The PBS documentary, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, was inspired by the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. A discussion, facilitated by Humanities Professors Carol Brutza and Martha Hayes, Library and Learning Commons Director Clara Ogbaa and Shauna DeStefano of the Library and Learning Commons, followed the screening.

Formal and informal responses reflect the success of the event and its lasting effect on participants. As one participant noted, the movie “impressed me so deeply and sadly. I want to become a woman peacemaker” and another wrote, “Watch it, weep, and be inspired.” 

This film, another participant explained, is unique from other documentaries of this genre in the “way that the women in the film have positive opportunities in their lives.” 

Many participants said the movie inspired them to help educate others and made them realize the power of their voices as well as the importance of telling others about this remarkable film. The organizers of the event said they were impressed with the enthusiastic response to this event and the overwhelming consensus of the participants who found the movie both enlightening and inspiring. They added that this kind of response awards their efforts to bring awareness of woman peacemakers to our Gateway community.”

GCC’s next event celebrating Women Peacemakers is a Big Read of Charlayne Hunter-Gault's book To the Mountaintop, My Journey through the Civil Rights Movement. GCC students, faculty, staff, as well as any interested members of the community, are encouraged to read the book – available at the Library and Learning Commons – and to join in the discussion on April 22 at 3:15 p.m. in the Library and Learning Commons.  

Gateway is becoming a community resource for peace studies and non-violent conflict resolution. The Emerging Peace Studies Collaborative offers courses in peace and conflict studies. Gateway embeds civic action, mediation, health responses to violence, nonviolent communication and collaborative conflict resolution into its interdisciplinary curriculum. GCC is also developing an interdisciplinary certificate program in peace, conflict and justice studies.

GCC’s Library and Learning Commons is home to a peace studies collection thanks to a grant from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The collection will serve as a resource for educators, youth and families on topics related to nonviolence, justice and peacemaking.