Carter School Peace Week brings anti-racism to the forefront

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Flags of many nations. Photo by Getty Images
George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution will host its Spring 2021 Peace Week virtually March 22-26. Photo by Getty Images

George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution will host its Spring 2021 Peace Week virtually March 22-26, focusing on how to foster anti-racism approaches in the field of conflict resolution in the United States and around the world.

“We’re prioritizing cultivating an anti-racist approach within the school, and looking at what does that mean for us to be committed to anti-racism,” said Sheherazade Jafari, director of the Carter School’s Point of View International Retreat and Research Center and the school’s co-diversity advisor. “Peace Week is a contribution to these broader efforts within the field to be more inclusive, to center race in our analysis in ways that we haven’t before.”

Sheherazade Jafari. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University
Sheherazade Jafari. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University

Peace Week, which began in Fall 2020 and is held each semester, is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Jafari said there’s something for everyone.

“We have everything from panel discussions with [conflict resolution experts] joining in from all over the world, to book talks, alumni panels on ways to integrate anti-racism approaches at work…to a film screening and an evening of celebrating the arts and performance,” she said.

See the full Peace Week schedule and register here.

Award-winning political commentator, strategist and author Heather McGhee and Gail C. Christopher, a renowned social change agent and senior scholar with Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, will be the program’s keynote speakers, discussing how racism serves as a common denominator for humanity’s most vexing public problems.

This semester’s Peace Week theme is a critical one, Jafari said.

Following summer 2020 and worldwide protests against systemic racism, the Carter School created an anti-racism statement with faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners.

“One of the things that came out of those conversations is a recognition that a statement is just one step,” said Jafari, who is on the Peace Week planning committee along with Professor Charles Chavis, Administrative Assistant to the Dean’s Office Mercedes Allsop, Associate Director of the John Mitchell Jr. Program Audrey Williams, and PhD student Emily Linnemeier. “Ultimately, it’s meaningless unless it’s accompanied by real efforts for learning, engagement and action.”

That includes making conscious efforts to break the cycles of racism individually, institutionally and societally, she said.

“I do hope and believe that there’s a lot that will come out of this week that can help contribute to those conversations and efforts.”