Park University Co-Hosting 2021 KC Area Peacebuilding Conference


Park University’s Global Peace Journalism Center and Johnson County Community College co-hosted the Greater Kansas City Peacebuilding Conference 2021. This year’s “Peacebuilding: Healing Our Polarized Societies” conference spanned three dates in September and October. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first conference was exclusively online while the second and third conferences were offered both online and in-person.

Michael Collins, executive director for the Americas at the Institute for Economics and Peace, gave a speech on “Positive Peace: Empowering the Peacebuilder We Each Have Within” via Zoom on Sept. 16. Collins’s speech covered the definition of peace journalism, the main aspects of his organization, IEP, the difference between positive peace and negative peace, and why there are various levels of global positive peace. If you are interested in this speech, view the whole speech here.

Mará Williams, a reporter for The Kansas City Star, gave a presentation on “Media as a Tool to Heal Polarized Societies” from noon to 2 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Park Distance Learning of Park University. The presentation discussed her report on a project called “The Truth in Black and White” about a century of discrimination and racism in the Black community in Kansas City. The purpose of ” The Truth in Black and White ” is to speak for the silent. Watch the whole speech here.

The final conference session was “Healing Polarized Societies with a Living Wage” from the Rev. Donna J. Simon, who is a pastor of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church and the Director for Evangelical Mission of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It was held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 27. Participants could choose to participate in the at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church in-person or by viewing the speech on Zoom.

The Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University promotes the concepts of peace and peace journalism. The center works with journalists, academics and students worldwide to improve reporting about conflicts, social unrest, reconciliation, solutions and peace. Through its courses, workshops, lectures, The Peace Journalist magazine, blog and other resources, the Center encourages media to reject sensational and inflammatory reporting, and produce counter-narratives that offer a more nuanced view of those who are marginalized—ethnic/racial/religious minorities, women, youth, and migrants.