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Mount Mary Hosts Peacebuilding Event Focused on Creativity

Film Screening, panel discussion and workshops highlight the transformation power of the arts in resolving conflict

MILWAUKEE (October 29, 2013) – As part of Mount Mary’s commitment to social justice and creativity, the University is hosting “Synergy: Women, Creativity & Peacebuilding.” The event is the culmination of weeks of student inquiry and exploration into peacebuilding strategies across the curriculum and was led by the University’s faculty Peacebuilding Affiliate Group.

On Thursday, November 21 at 2:45 p.m., the public is invited to a free screening of “Acting Together on the World Stage.” The documentary illustrates how performance art is being used for ground-breaking reconciliation efforts in divided communities around the globe.

A Keynote Panel, also free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. and will explore how women leaders can use writing and theater arts to address and resolve conflict.  The panel features two national peacebuilding leaders – Cynthia Cohen, Ph.D., from Brandeis University and Jennifer Freeman, M.A., from the University of San Diego. Cohen, who is Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, and Freeman, who is Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, Women PeaceMakers Program, will share their insight and experience.  

Both events will take place in the Alumnae Dining Room located on the second floor of Bergstrom Hall on Mount Mary’s campus.

On Friday, November 22, from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Cynthia Cohen will conduct a workshop for community leaders, educators,  and other professionals  interested and engaged in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. “Transforming Violent Conflict Using the Creative Arts” will explore the topic in greater depth including the role creative arts have in post-violence healing and restorative justice. Space is limited and registration is required.


The Synergy event is made possible by significant funding from the United States Institute of Peace. The USIP is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. Other supporters of the event include the Giger Foundation, Annette J. Roberts and Joan R. Robertson Fund for World Peace, World Law and Peace Education, Marian R. Scheibe Foundation and Mount Mary’s Women’s Leadership Institute.

For more information on the events, or to register, visit mtmary.edu or contact Lynne Woehrle, woehrlel@mtmary.edu, (414) 258-4810, x 413.

About the Presenters:
Cynthia Cohen is Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University. She leads action/reflection research projects, and writes and teaches about work at the nexus of the arts, culture, justice and peace. She directed the Brandeis University/Theatre Without Borders collaboration “Acting Together,” co-edited the “Acting Together on the World Stage” anthology and co-created the related documentary and toolkit.

Jennifer Freeman is Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s Women PeaceMakers Program at the University of San Diego. Prior to joining the institute, Freeman worked with nongovernmental organizations in Ghana, Northern Ireland, Canada and in Ugandan refugee settlements on issues of women’s rights and peacebuilding through sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, supporting people living with HIV/AIDS and conducting programs for war-affected youth.

About Mount Mary University’s Peacebuilding Program: The peacebuilding pre-baccalaureate certificate offers students a unique specialization in handling conflict situations, developing appropriate strategies to respond to conflict and understanding the influence of values, beliefs and goals on problem solving and peacebuilding. The interdisciplinary approach provides multiple perspectives for resolving conflict situations from the interpersonal to the international levels.

Mount Mary University, founded in 1913 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, was Wisconsin’s first four-year, degree-granting Catholic institution for women. Located on an 80-acre campus in Milwaukee, the University offers more than 30 undergraduate majors for women and eight graduate programs for women and men. Mount Mary also emphasizes study abroad, service learning, and social justice initiatives. Its nearly 1500 students enjoy small class sizes (average 15) and nearly 100 percent of full-time students receive financial aid or scholarships. Through academic offerings, research opportunities, access to real life industry experience, and community service, Mount Mary develops individuals to be leaders in their professions and their communities, serving as role models to inspire achievement in others. Visit Mount Mary at www.mtmary.edu.

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For more information, contact Susan Shimshak, 414-256-1221, shimshas@mtmary.edu