Peace: six days of a universal language



Albert Einstein once said, “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”

From Thursday, Sept. 18, through the following Wednesday night, Butler will celebrate its Fall Peace Festival.

Senior Nicole Neuman, intern for Butler’s peace and conflict studies department, began planning the festival the first week of this semester’s classes.

The Einstein quotation became the basis on which she built and scheduled the events of the ceremony, which are geared towards enlightening students on conflict resolution.

“These events encourage reflection,” Neuman said. “They make students ask what they can do in the community.”

Last year, a lasting event from the festival was the unveiling of the Peace Pole in the courtyard outside Starbucks.

The ceremony proceeded with Catholic, Hebrew and Islamic prayers for peace.

The pole stands between Atherton Union and Jordan Hall and proclaims the words “may peace prevail on Earth” in 16 languages.

This year’s schedule of events varies from last year but still includes yoga on the Atherton Mall Monday night, Sept. 22.

“It was a pretty big hit, so I’m excited to do that again this year,” Neuman said.

Thursday starts the week at 12:20 p.m. with an interfaith ceremony.

While there is no monument to erect this year, the ceremony does have similarities to the Peace Pole dedication.

This year’s Fall Peace Festival will showcase talents from various Butler students, including performances from the Jordan College of the Arts.

“We’re going to have a few JCA students playing music, and we’re having a few Butler students from different religions pray for peace,” Neuman said.

A group of students are planned to come forth and express their feelings through poems, songs and other reflections.

After that, the ceremony is open for all students to stand and share their thoughts and stories.

More than anything else, Neuman anticipates the various talks and groups that will be meeting throughout the week, she said.

“I’m honestly really excited for the panels,” the intern said.

Tuesday night’s discussion is “The Risks of Reconciliation” with Reverend Alan Boesak and Robin Turner.

Wednesday, four students who plan to attend the People’s Climate March in New York City will discuss their involvement in the march at the Center for Faith and Vocation.

“I can’t wait to hear of their experiences and how their attitudes may change about the peacemaking process,” Neuman said.

The People’s Climate March is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 21, International Peace Day.

This is also the day the entire festival is built upon.

While the goal of the festival is to spread awareness about both community and global issues, immediate resolution is not expected.

“You can’t just snap your fingers and have peace,” Neuman said. “It is a process, but one worth being involved.”