Inside USD

Peace Comes to Capitol Hill

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

During the week of September 21st, while partisan bickering echoed through the halls of Congress and debates over healthcare coverage raged on, two humble figures went from one office to the next, talking peace. The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies that is.

The school’s dean, William Headley, C.S.Sp., Ph.D., along with Milburn Line, the new executive director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace & Justice, visited more than a dozen Congressional offices. During the day and a half visit, they discussed the mission of the school and its centers with federal representatives and their staff. Their message was well received; in fact, more often than not, they encountered great interest, enthusiasm and many questions about this unique academic discipline.

Headley and Line crisscrossed Capitol Hill meeting with members of San Diego’s delegation, as well as other officials, primarily from California. Of immediate interest were members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which have jurisdiction in oversight and legislation relating to issues such as foreign assistance, foreign policy, peacekeeping efforts, promotion of democracy, international law enforcement issues, public diplomacy, international education and cultural programs.

washington-2009-pics-005Among those who met with Headley and Line were San Diego area Congressman Bob Filner, chairman of the House Veterans Committee (and one of the few members of Congress to hold a Ph.D.), as well as Las Vegas area Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, an alumna from the USD School of Law and Foreign Affairs Committee member. (Pictured: Rep. Shelley Berkley, Dean Headley; in front, Milburn Line and Tom Cleary.)

Headley and Line discussed international projects being conducted by the Institute of Peace and Justice, studies and programs pursued by the TransBorder Institute, and work underway by students in the current Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies program. They also sought preliminary support for plans on the proposed Master of Development Practice that will involve all six USD schools and colleges bringing their areas of expertise to bear on preparing generalist development practitioners to work around the world.

In the political war zone that often defines Capitol Hill, Headley and Line successfully avoided partisan landmines and dodged explosive conversations to emphasize the unique, bipartisan nature of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Their multi-pronged message — including how such an exceptional academic institution could be of service to a broad assortment of interests, including the military — was heard by some of the country’s most prominent movers and shakers.

— Tom Cleary

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