CSU, Chico News

Liberian Author to Discuss “What Prevents Peace?”

Date: 10-27-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Tom Imhoff
The Peace Institute

The Peace Institute at California State University, Chico is presenting Marvin Davis, a human rights journalist, editor, poet and peace educator from Liberia speaking on What Prevents Peace: Understanding Psychological Conditioning. He will be speaking on Thursday, Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m., Ayres 106.

Davis is the author of the book “Brave New Child: Liberating the Children of Liberia and the World,” an account of his work with more than 3,000 children in war-torn Liberia. During the 15-year civil war, Davis had to flee Liberia to save his life after rebels killed his father.

He teaches children about the root cause of violence so they can free themselves from their prejudicial and conditioned thinking. Davis believes that no matter how conditioned children are to violent behavior (and that the children of Liberia represent severe cases), they can be liberated from that habitual mindset. He suggests that, if they can, so can all children who face conflict daily—from bullying on the playground to bullying on the battlefield.

Marvin Davis has had success in his Liberian Peace School, functioning as an after-school program in war-torn Liberia. He has adapted pedagogical theories pioneered by Terrance and Jean Webster-Doyle in breaking through the social conditioning that pits members of different groups against one another, making deadly conflict much more likely.

The talk is free and open to the public. It is especially recommended, said Tom Imhoff, director of The Peace Institute, to students who have an interest in becoming teachers, peace workers, counselors or social workers.

The Peace Institute at CSU, Chico was founded in 2004 to address the question “What are the causes of war and the prospects for peace?” The institute is housed in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, but its members also come from the community and the student body and the faculty at Butte College, Shasta College and CSU, Chico. Its mission is to promote peace education on and off campus, seeking to understand human beings in ways other than the primary cultural paradigm dominant in the United States today: competitive, self-interested individuals promoting their own benefit at the expense of all others.

For more information, call Imhoff at 530-898-4743 or e-mail him at timhoff@csuchico.edu.