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Global opportunities

Trip to IrelandProfile: Global Opportunities: Peace Education Ireland Symposium led by Dr. Dominic Scott

What is the Peace Education Ireland Symposium?

Dr. Dominic Scott, a veteran professor of 12 years in the School of Education, has organized the Peace Education Ireland Symposium whereby he has promoted links between Ireland and Millersville University.  In addition to students traveling overseas for the summer program, speakers from Queen’s University Belfast, St. Mary’s College Belfast and the Northern Ireland Bureau came to campus to speak to the Millersville Community. Millersville now has agreements with Queen’s and St. Mary’s that involves student exchanges and hopefully will include faculty exchanges as well. 

How is this program making a difference in the lives of students?

Many students tell me that the course has changed their lives. They spend eleven days in an intensive ‘full immersion” environment where they meet community workers, ex-paramilitaries, women’s groups, international peace activists and “feel the heat” of community transformation in the making. They engage with local people through music, dancing and sharing of experiences in ways that give them a deeper insight into local people’s lives. They also visit some beautiful places where the tranquility and allure of nature provides a healing balm for the weary traveler.  They come away with a whole new mindset, full of hope and belief that we can transform our planet in ways that meet real human needs.

Do students participate in any service learning while abroad?

Students give time to volunteer in the local community and work beside local adults, youth and children. In the past they have erected a swing set at the Corrymeela Peace Center, worked on gardening projects and assisted in innovative educational programs with integrated schools. 

What was the experience like interacting with locals?
Irish people are not afraid to challenge U.S. students’ preconceptions, critique American policies or challenge students to take a stand on what they believe. Students are forced out of their comfort zones and exposed to perspectives that require them to think outside of the box. And this all happens in a convivial, embracing and safe environment that allows students to grow in self expression and global understanding. It happens organically in restaurants, at folk events, cultural visits, music sessions, dancing sessions, hostels and sometimes by stopping the minibus on a country road to converse with a local sheep farmer. U.S. students are welcomed and honored in Irish society and soon acquire a sense of ‘their place in the universe’ through their many interactions in multigenerational meetings and discussions.

We have deep cultural links with each other that can enrich and inform us as we struggle to understand the richness of human diversity and how this trove of skills and talent can help solve some of the world’s pressing problems. I encourage you to help promote this two way exchange of people, experiences and ideas.