By Jacob Trump
The WPU community was brought together by faculty, staff, and professionals to celebrate the International Day of Peace, a day focused on peacebuilding, in the afternoon of Sept. 21.
Students and faculty participated in a variety of activities that helped support and give notice to peacebuilding tactics and support for community bonding.
The event began on the Main Lawn with a community gathering and open mic event led by Dr. Harold Briscoe, who gave thanks for the students and faculty that came out in support of the day.
Walt Gilmore, also known as ‘GoldMan” is an artist and active peacebuilder of the Durham and Raleigh area. He and his wife host workshops and seminars around their community that focus on art, music, and everything centering around creativity.
Gilmore let off the event with a bang by starting with a freestyle rap, influenced by words and phrases suggested to him by staff and students around the lawn.
After the performance, professors and staff passed around roses to students which were thrown after prayers spoken by featured students such as Joseph Williams and Jasseli Gutierrez, followed by a moment of silence.
The event was then moved to Kenan Hall which held the panel of peacebuilding hosted also by Dr. Briscoe and included five guest speakers; Angie Hong, Jenna Allen Hines, Alex Rose, Mustafa Rezaie, and featuring Walt Gilmore Jr.
The live panel centered around asking the guest questions such as “What is the Concept of Peacebuilding” and “What are things that may get in the way of presenting acts of peace?” These questions were asked by Dr. Briscoe.
The panelists touched on specific topics that were both touchy but also gave light to the messages and ideas they were trying to offer and what may disrupt peaceful living.
“Peacebuilding is reckoning with the fact that my own body is disruptive,” answers Hang to the concept of peacebuilding. “I’m a woman, Asian American, a Christian, and my very presence disrupts a lot of things that are considered normal, harmonious, and good.”
You can here more from these guest speakers in our recent podcast episode on “Peace Talks” #GlobalGoalsPanel-Interntaional Day of Peace 2023.
The panelists offered the audience with questions and ideas that can spark inspiration and tactics that can create peace around not just in their community, but the world.
“It’s one thing to go for the big global and social work and in social work there is micro, meso, and macro,” Allenhine said, responding to the question of things that may get in the way of peace building and action. “Micro is with yourself, meso your family and friends ‘is there conflict there’ or ‘are you not speaking up there?’ Macro, if you see something on in the world how are you showing up to that? Take that one thing, friend or family member and resolve conflict there.”
After the panel was concluded, the day ended with a global dinner that was hosted by Belk Dining, featuring global dishes from around the world.
WPU’s International Day of Peace helped give insight into the qualities and basics to bring peace in the world and helped bring the campus community together. Hopefully this event will be continued on campus as a yearly tradition in future fall semesters.
“Inner peace is our main goal” says Walt Gilmore. “Before you can bring peace onto the people you need to bring it onto yourself.”