Events highlight varied perspectives of peace

November 02, 2009

Although none of the Peace Club’s members would likely argue with world peace, they see a more immediate need on campus to help their McDaniel classmates find inner peace.

“Meditating really helps,” says club president Hanna Martin. “I’ve tried it on my own, and meditating for an hour completely clears my mind. I feel refreshed.”

As its first event since its recent reactivation, the club is sponsoring a talk on inner peace by Buddhist Monk Bhante Sujatha at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 13 in Hill Hall 108.

For those interested in world peace, the Interpreters’ Forum, in residence at the college, is sponsoring a symposium, “Education: Conduit & Catalyst for Peace,” at 2-5 p.m. Nov. 15 in Decker Forum in Decker College Center.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Monk Bhante Sujatha says he "believes in change, rather than tradition," particularly when dealing with life in our fast-paced Western society. His approach to teaching is easy-going rather than dogmatic, and he makes every attempt to explain things to a Western audience so that even absolute beginners can understand how to practice meditation, and how to apply the spiritual teachings to their own daily lives, according to Peace Club advisor Professor Tom Deveny.

The revived Peace Club grew out of Deveny’s introductory Honors class, Great Works of the Western World.

“Inner peace sounded like an interesting idea considering the political climate, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the stress with the economy,” says Martin, a freshman with a double major in English and Theatre Arts.

Martin’s classmate and club secretary Kelsey Dickman was looking for a way to relieve some of the stress of college life. She, too, found it in meditation.

“Just an hour and a half of meditating and I feel like I just got up from a nap,” says the freshman Psychology major, Forensic Science minor. “It’s very exciting that (Bhante Sujatha) is coming to campus.”

The club takes care of business in the first 10 minutes of each weekly meeting. Then, the 15-25 members participate in some type of meditation – including chanting and yoga – led by Deveny. Afterward, everyone heads for dinner in Glar together.

Although plans are still in the making, the club hopes to put up on campus a peace pole with the word “peace” featured in as many languages as possible. Members are forming a Relay for Life team to participate in the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser. And they are open to new members as well as new ideas for projects.

“This is mainly a growing year for us,” says Martin.

The Peace Club meets at 4:40 p.m. Wednesdays in G5 Academic Hall. Membership is open to all McDaniel students.

About The Interpreters’ Forum’s “Education: Conduit & Catalyst for Peace”
The event is 2-5 p.m. Nov. 15 and includes panel presentations and three concurrent breakout sessions. Panelists include Dr. Mohamed Esa, Professor of Foreign Languages at McDaniel; Rachel Milner Gillers, senior associate of Consensus Building Institute; and Brig. Gen. Michael Combest, U.S. Army (ret.). The Interpreters’ Forum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian organization dedicated to peace through education.