The 3rd annual Peace Studies Conference gets underway at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, with an artists' reception at Lander University's Monsanto Gallery.
It continues with a day of free workshops and lectures on Friday, March 18, followed by an international dinner that evening at Wesley Commons, and culminates in a poetry festival at The Museum that starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 19.
The theme of this year's conference, sponsored by the Greenwood chapter of People to People International (PTPI) and Lander University, is "Picture Peace!"
The conference will include a whopping 28 speakers, well more than the number who spoke last year. Guest speakers include UNC-Asheville instructor of mathematics Dot Sulock, an authority on nuclear energy who has served as director of the Teaching Nonproliferation Institute; Megha Lal, chair of the Self Regional Health Care Foundation; UNC-Duke University Rotary Fellow Marios Antoniou; educational specialist Veronica Serero; child sexual abuse expert Charlotte Ehney; Belmont Abbey associate professor of theology Jane Russell; local artist Joyce Turner; and Limestone College emeritus professor of philosophy and religion Fred Bassett.
Numerous Lander educators will offer presentations as well, including Uma Sridharan, professor of finance and international business; assistant professor of chemistry James Colbert; assistant professor of education Lee Vartanian; emeritus professor of history Ken Mufuka; and emeritus professor of English Bob Phillips.
The presentations will touch on "a variety of issues of importance," according to Lander associate professor of environmental geology Daniel Pardieck, who will discuss "Water and Climate Change: Source of Conflict or Opportunity for Sustainability and Peace?"
Pardieck, who serves as liaison between the Greenwood chapter of PTPI and Lander, compared the conference to "a blanket of good will," and said those attending will "get a sense of participating in something big."
The Lander educator believes that "the beauty of this conference is that it demonstrates the wildly multidisciplinary nature of peace studies and the great variety of scales, from the individual, to family, community, nation and the entire world, that the work for peace involves."
The keynote speaker at Friday night's international dinner will be Lander professor emeritus of English Bettie Horne, who will take "A Literary Look at Peace." The recipient of a new four-year scholarship to attend Lander, recently created by the Greenwood PTPI chapter, will also be announced at the dinner.
Connie Edwards, president of the local PTPI chapter, thanked Lander President Daniel Ball and First Lady Marge Ball for their support of the annual conference, which she said is "well respected all over the state." She called it "a conference that any big university would be proud to put on."
PTPI, which has chapters in 126 countries, was created in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to foster international understanding and friendship, tolerance and world peace between people of all nations.