Yale should establish an interdisciplinary department or program in peace studies and conflict resolution. Regardless of differences of opinion over the current military actions in Afghanistan or war in general, we must now more than ever realize the sheer necessity of building peace and resolving conflicts.
Given the University’s position of leadership, Yale must create a space to encourage academic inquiry that works toward peace and that prepares its students for leadership as peacemakers.
Peace studies and conflict resolution are areas of scholarship that aim to understand and facilitate peacemaking among persons, communities, and nations.
Peacemaking is not only a matter of strategy and politics — to understand aggression and peacemaking, it will be important to draw from methods beyond the Department of Political Science and the Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. Yale must commit its resources to the scholarship of peacemaking by establishing space for literary, philosophical, religious, and psychological methods of inquiry as well.
Many other schools, including Swarthmore, Notre Dame, and Georgetown, have rigorous peace studies programs. Peace studies is a field that brings normative inquiry to the critically important moral and political issues of our time.
Certainly, our University’s funds are limited and there are already many majors, but Yale’s history of global leadership warrants this type of investment. Furthermore, many members of Yale’s United Nations Studies could possibly become a component of a peace studies and conflict resolution program.
Establishing a department of peace studies and conflict resolution would signify a serious commitment on the part of the University toward cultivating citizens, scholars and leaders that work for peace, justice, and democracy.
Indeed, a peace studies and conflict resolution department would become an integral part of our University and the values it represents.
Jacob Paul is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College.