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Press Releases

Thursday, October 19, 2000

"Colman McCarthy, Peace Activist, Lectures on "Law, Conscience and Non-Violence," Thursday, Oct. 26 

SALISBURY, MD---Colman McCarthy, veteran journalist, longtime peace activist and advocate of student community involvement, speaks on "Law, Conscience, and Non-Violence" on Thursday, October 26, at 7 p.m. in the Worcester Room of the Commons building at Salisbury State University. Admission is free and the public is invited.

Co-sponsored by the SSU departments of Philosophy, Sociology, Political Science and Communication Arts, and the Center for Conflict Resolution and Amnesty International, McCarthy's visit highlights Amnesty International's new campaign to stop impending torture.

A columnist for The Washington Post until he retired in 1997, McCarthy describes his mission of peace education in this way: "Journalists are world class at describing the mess the world is in, but we often excuse ourselves from either describing solutions or getting involved in the solutions." Having arrived at a crucial dissatisfaction with this traditional journalist approach, McCarthy went to the high school nearest his downtown office and volunteered his services as a peace educator.

That first step led to his designing curricula for non- violence and conflict resolution that have been used by 30 high schools, colleges and universities and a state prison in Virginia. These syllabi are distributed through McCarthy's Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C., a non-profit organization which includes such figures as Harvard University psychiatrist Robert Coles, Marion Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund, Joan Baez, Fr. Richard McSorley, SJ, of Georgetown University and former Senator Mark Hatfield on its advisory board. Included in the syllabi are a home study course as well as an eight-lesson course of studies for classrooms. "This isn't some anti-war-cut-the-Pentagon-budget-in-half course," said McCarthy. "It's exposure to basic skills in getting along with people.

"Students are hungry to learn non-violence," said McCarthy. "They understand it is much more than a noble ideal; it is also a basic survival skill. Learning non-violence means dedicating our hearts, minds, time and money to a commitment that the force of love, the force of truth, the force of justice and the force of organized resistance to corrupt power is always more effective, moral and enduring, than the force of fists, guns, armies and nukes."

To those skeptical of a non-violent approach, McCarthy poses this scenario: "Peace through violence has failed. Nearly 80 million have been killed in wars since 1900, a 500 percent increase over the 19th century. About 40,000 people are killed a month in more than 40 wars and conflicts from the Middle East to Northern Ireland. More than 10,000 Americans are killed in handgun homicides annually. Those who defend violent solutions have some large numbers of death to defend." Calling for greater involvement of academies in peace-making, McCarthy said, "Let's not give peace a chance. Let's give it a place in the curriculum."

For more information on the McCarthy talk, call the SSU Public Relations Office at 410-543-6030.


  SSU Public Relations - 410-543-6030

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