About the Centre
As part of the 175 year celebrations, The Centre for Peace Studies was established in Madras Christian College. It was formally inaugurated by Dr. Nancy E.Chapman, the President of the United Board, on 17 February, 2012, in the presence of the other officials of the UBCHEA. The function was presided over by the Principal Dr. R.W. Alexander Jesudasan. The background to the establishment of the Centre and its proposed activities were highlighted by Dr. Joshua Kalapati, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Madras Christian College, who was later appointed as its Director. The seed for the Centre for Peace Studies was sown by Rev. Dr. M.M. Ross, the then Director for the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies in the year 2010. A major workshop on curriculum development for peace studies was organized by the IACS under the guidance of the present director Dr. C.S. E. Ross, which gave valuable insights for future programs on peace studies. It was in the year 2011 that Dr. Joshua Kalapati wrote the proposal for the Establishment of a Centre for Peace Studies in MCC, which was wholeheartedly supported by the United Board, which also granted a generous funding. The Principal, Bursar and the members of both IACS and the Centre for Peace Studies extended unsolicited support for all the programmes and activities of the Centre till date.
- To organize workshops each year on contemporary themes related to Peace concerns, both from Christian and secular perspectives.
- To bring out periodic literature, which includes theoretical discourse, practical exercises, case studies- all focusing on peace and conflict resolution
- To publish an online journal, with contributions from students, faculty as well as liberal scholars and activists in the society.
- To explore ways and means of introducing peace concerns in the curriculum as well as in the larger community life of the colleges in India.
- To develop channels and avenues, which would help diffuse in the wider context the Peace-related policies and programs evolved at the Centre. This also includes sharing of resources with liberal educational institutions with similar objectives.
Public Lecture: Rev. Andrew Anderson, former Presbyter of the Greenside Parish Church, Edinburgh delivered a lecture on the topic: Peace and Conflict Resolution: Biblical Perspectives, held on 29 October 2012
National Conference: The Centre in collaboration with the department of Philosophy, Madras Christian College, had organized a major National Conference on the theme, “Philosophical and Religious Approaches to Peace and Conflict Resolution” during 13-15, March, 2013. Twenty Six papers were presented, which included papers by two scholars from overseas—Bishop Rev. Dr. Ian Ernest, Archbishop of Indian Ocean, Mauritius, and Rev. Dr. Donald E. Messer, from Church and Global AIDS, Denver, USA.
The International Day of Peace was observed on 21st September, 2013 with inter-departmental competitions on events- Debate extempore; Peace Role Play; Peace Quiz & Art on Peace (pencil sketching). The department of Visual Communication won the overall shield.
The Martyr’s Day, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was observed on January 30, 2014 with a seminar on “Gandhian Response to Terrorism and Global Peace”. Dr. Nikolay A. Listopadov and Mr. Kim Kyung Soo, the Consul Generals of Russia and Korea in Chennai respectively, presented lectures.
A Counselling Session for Youth was organized on 21st February, 2014. More than 150 students participated and benefited from this workshop held in the Centre for Media Studies.
Director’s visit to the USA: Dr. Joshua Kalapati presented a paper on “Religious Diversity in India: Issues fostering violence and avenues promoting peace” at a seminar on “Religion: Key to Understanding violence and promoting peace” organized by the Centre for the Study of Values and Philosophy, Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. from 18 August till 19th September, 2014. Thereafter he also presented a paper on “The Social Distinctions among Indian Christians in India and in Diaspora” at the Boston School of Theology, held on 20th September, 2014. Dr. Joshua also visited the Harvard Divinity School and held discussions with Fr. Professor Francis Clooney S.J., Director of Centre for the Study of World Religions.
Peace and Harmony in the Season of Christmas: The Centre in collaboration with the department of Philosophy has organized a one day workshop on 5th December on this theme There were inter-departmental competitions on Bible quiz, singing (solo and group), greeting card making, all of these related to the theme of Peace and Harmony.
Public Lecture by a Harvard Professor: Fr. Professor Francis X. Clooney, Director, Centre for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, delivered a lecture on 9th January, 2014 on the topic, “ Inculturation for Peace and Harmony: Lessons from the Jesuit Study of Hinduism”
Workshop on Poverty and Hunger: The Centre had conducted a one day workshop on the topic: “Impact of Hunger and Poverty on Human Potential and Human Relationships” on 22nd January, 2014. Resource persons include: Rev. Professor Donald E. Messer, The Centre for Church and Global AIDS, Denver, USA; Dr. Paul P. Appasamy, Former Vice-Chancellor, Karunya University, Tamil Nadu; Dr. Karen Bensen, Associate Dean, School of Social Work, University of Denver, USA; and Mr. Andrew Caffro, Fulbright Scholar from Grove City College, USA.
Martyr’s Day: Observing the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Martyr’s day was observed on 30th January, 2015 with a one day Seminar. Thiru Ayyanar, Regional Director for Indian Council for Cultural Relations in Chennai, and Tmt. Raja. M. Kausalya Devi, Hon. Consul of France in Chennai spoke on the unique contribution the the Father of the Nation to peace and harmony in the society.
Round Table on Religions: For the first time in the College, the Centre organized a Round Table of Religions focusing the Role of Religions in the public sphere. Representatives from Buddhism, Jainism, Isalm, Sikhism, besides Christianity presented papers and participated in the discussion. Rev. Andrew Anderson, retd. Presbyter from the Church of Scotland, presently living in Oxford, spoke on the role of Christianity in the pluralist context of Europe.
A workshop on Interpersonal Communication for Peace was organized by the Centre in collaboration with Dr Chandran Devanesen Centre for Human Resource Development, MCC, on 17th March, 2015. Professor Sarah Manickaraj, Associate Prof of Psychology, Presidency College was the Resource Person. She conducted a very interesting survey with the help of a questionnaire in order to find out the personality traits of the students and their ability to get along with others in the society. More than 400 II year Under Graduate Students of the College participated in the workshop.
Encyclopedia for the Centre: As part of developing a library for the Centre, the Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace edited by Nigel J. Young (4 vols.) was purchased in March, 2015. “This innovative, multivolume encyclopedia charts the interdisciplinary field of Peace Studies, offering a comprehensive survey of the full range of historical, political, theoretical and philosophical issues relating to peace and conflict. All major figures are covered, as well as major events, organizations, theories, and much more. Each entry is signed by a leading scholar in the field, contains a bibliography for further reading, and is cross-referenced with other useful points of interest within the encyclopedia. In addition to A-to-Z entries, the Encyclopedia also includes a peace chronology, key documents and appendices”.
Book on Peace and Conflict Studies: The Centre for Peace Studies with the active collaboration of the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies plans to bring out a book titled, Peace and Conflict Studies in Colleges: A Source Book. This book contains lessons on various issues related to peace and conflict studies, which were written by more than twenty of the faculty members of MCC, past and present belonging to various departments. An immediate desire is to introduce this text book as a paper for the Undergraduate Students of the College.
Dr. Joshua Kalapati - May 2015
The Centre for Peace Studies
Madras Christian College
- The Centre for Peace Studies seeks to facilitate and stimulate discussion and dialogue among the students, teachers and leaders in the Christian colleges as well as Secular institutions, and evolve programs and materials related to peace and conflict resolution.
- The scope of this Centre is the promotion of a culture of peace among the various sections of the country, especially students and teachers belonging to various religious, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds and the spread of understanding, values, attitudes and trust among the general public in diverse contexts.