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Scholars To Gather for UVI Forum on Peace and Conflict Resolution

University of the Virgin Islands St. Croix Campus

For Dr. Lejla Music it was witnessing incidences of brutal genocide in her native Bosnia.  For Danny Tom, it was rushing out of a burning building during the 9/11 World Trade Center bombing. Both have lived through some of the world’s most horrific acts of violence. 

At 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb 27 at the University of the Virgin Islands, Music and Tom will share their stories with the Virgin Islands community and discuss solutions to conflict and opportunities for peace in troubled areas.  Each will give a presentation during the day-long symposium “Stories and Conversations,” in the Administration and Conference Center (ACC) first floor conference room.  The event is free and open to the public.

The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Janet Gerson, an international peace research scholar who is currently education director at the International Institute on Peace Education. The audience is encouraged to join the participants in the conversations to brainstorm solutions.

“Stories and Conversations” is sponsored by the UVI Department of Music in conjunction with the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and is coordinated by Dr. Lorna Young-Wright, professor of music. She is also the Ann Elizabeth Richardson Distinguished Professor of Music.

Dr. Young-Wright said the idea to explore issues of peace and conflict resolution is an outgrowth of her participation, in part, last summer in the International Peace Research Association conference held in Istanbul, Turkey. 

That conference is attended by hundreds of international peace scholars and advocates for peace.  Dr. Young-Wright presented a paper titled, “Communities Under Siege: Constructing a Pedagogy of Peace in the Time of Perpetual War.”  It was there, she met Music, who is an assistant professor at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Music also holds degrees in the social sciences and gender studies.

 “Professor Music survived genocidal war in Bosnia.  She has first-hand knowledge of it, which will add a lot of value to the conversation.  She also studies environmental peace issues and has written extensively on gender issues,” Dr. Young-Wright said.

 Dr. Gerson is a considered a major expert on issues regarding peace.  “Dr. Gerson is a prominent international peace research scholar who speaks very eloquently about conflict, conflict resolution, and the potential for peace,” Dr. Young-Wright said.

Young-Wright met Tom, who witnessed the tragedy of the World Trade Center bombings, a few years ago and was captivated by his story.

“Two years ago, I was on a cruise and overheard a gentleman say ‘I am a 9/11 survivor.’  I introduced myself and we talked for two hours,” Dr. Young-Wright said.  She says Tom’s story will give a very personal overview of the human cost of conflict and violence. “He was on the 70th floor of the North Tower when the attack occurred,” she added.

Dr. Young-Wright hopes a day of stories and conversations around the topic of peace will spur people to think more about what she calls “communities under siege.”

“I hope we have a conversation that helps us to understand our place in the world and how we might negotiate the potential for peace within our communities,” Dr. Young-Wright said.

For more information about the event contact Dr. Young-Wright at lyoung@uvi.edu