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Center for Peace and Commerce Updates From the Road

Peace doesn’t happen in a void; positive peace is strengthened through partnerships.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

begin quoteOur struggles are not unique and our successes are universal.

One of the most incredible aspects of the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge is the global nature of the competitionparticipating universities from around the world convene every June. The magic is palpable in those two days, it is also highly visible. What many don’t necessarily see are the many trips taken and miles traveled, meetings booked and introductions made throughout the year that led to this point.

The Center for Peace and Commerce Team has been making those trips and taking those meetings. The allies in Social Innovation that have been made over the past few months are worthy of being celebrated, so celebrate we shall. 

In the two months of September and October, almost 50,000 miles have been traveled. Nearly 40,000 miles were traversed in the month of October. Earlier this month, Assistant Director Rachel Christensen and Faculty Advisor Juan Carlos Rivas attended the South East Asia Social Innovation Network conference in Bangkok, connecting with social innovation champions, from universities in Europe and Asia. 

Rachel’s most recent trip has taken her up north to the Bay Area for the Positive Peace Conference where, among others, she met with counterparts at the University of California Berkeley who run Big Ideas. In another part of the country and within the same week, Juliet Zimmer, Coordinator for the Center for Peace and Commerce, traveled to Detroit for the Net Impact conference and she took the opportunity to meet with counterparts at Innovation in Action at the University of Michigan. 

Assistant Director of the CPC Rachel Christensen at Solvay Brussels School 

Big Ideas and Innovation in Action were also, along with the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge, one of the four university social innovation competitions selected to be a part of The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Student Social Innovation Challenge. We have witnessed with our own eyes that we are in elite company: universities committed to responsible social innovation in their own contexts and interested in bridge-building between universities. The individuals behind these prospective challenges are experts in social innovation and human-centered design. The Center for Peace and Commerce team returns with a treasure-trove of ideas and a greater appreciation of the strong community centered around serving the next generation of changemakers.  


CPC's Juliet Zimmer (left) with Innovation in Action at the University of Michigan

While negative peace, the absence of violence or fear of violence, is important to understand and work towards, it is especially important to advance positive peace, or the existence of structures, institutions and attitudes to develop and maintain peaceful communities. Positive peace is justice and opportunity for all. This bold notion of positive peace is made more attainable through partnerships. Meeting with the individuals powering Big Ideas and Innovation in Action is not only a testament to this but also to the necessity of collaboration and knowledge sharing. Our struggles are not unique and our successes are universal. Students of the University of San Diego, and more specifically those who are courageous enough to step into the ring and pitch their plan to address one of the Sustainable Development Goals through the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge may not know the miles traveled, but they, and in turn the communities served by their venture, will benefit nonetheless. 


Juliet Zimmer

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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