500 signatures reached
To: The School of International Service @ American University
American University's School of International Service (SIS) touts itself as the core component of a "Peace University." Yet, SIS doesn't have an undergraduate Peace Program. Remarkable dissonance. Therefore, USFPAC, a consortium of concerned students, faculty members, community organizers, and AU staff request that the administration pursue the following recommendations:
• Release a public statement either: justifying claims that SIS has a sufficient Peace program OR explaining why it does not.
• Sponsor a bi-semester student and faculty review board to suggest ways of implementing a substantive Peace program at AU.
• Separate Peace programming from Global Security, as these two perspectives are fundamentally at odds.
• Afford anti-war and anti-imperial student organizations the same support offered to National Security focused groups and events. A robust Peace program must be institutionalized both in the classroom and the extra-curricular environment.
• Investigate opportunities for cooperation with other departments at AU to begin building an interdisciplinary Peace program. An example of this is the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs Masters program in SIS.
• Create a ‘gateway’ course committed expressly to the study of Peace.
• Create a faculty committee to advise the Dean on hiring practices to attract Peace-focused academic experts.
Why is this important?
American University produces some of the most influential experts on US Foreign Policy in the country. SIS graduates make up the staff of countless government offices, NGOs, and media organizations. It is therefore regrettable that these students and leaders are given a limited approach to issues of international affairs, weighted heavily towards the National Security perspective. There must be a Peace program at the "Peace University."
If we continue to allow our elevated academic institutions to produce people hamstrung by an imperialist ideological framework, there is no reason to expect any change in US Foreign Policy or its structure. Moreover, young people of ages 18 or 19 come to AU with idealistic vigor and the desire to improve the world. They are then subjected to a range of course options that skew their idealism towards militarism and economic subversion of foreign nations. This is an unconscionable state of affairs and we need your support to resist.
USFPAC is running a campaign on AU's campus to give prospective students a clear picture of what AU has to offer in terms of Peace studies. We are inviting them (and you!) to sign this petition and join us in the effort to reform SIS academic programming. Our simple demand is that a School of International Service must reflect its charter. Eisenhower founded the institution on the dictum "wage peace." It is time we retrieve his principle.