Even as the pandemic required isolation and a move to virtual classes and communities, departments at Arcadia worked to stay connected with their students, faculty, and staff. The International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) program found one such connection through a monthly online book club.
Starting in June 2020, on the last Friday of each month, all IPCR faculty, staff, students, and alumni were welcome to meet to discuss a different book that focuses on global and local peacebuilding and development issues to help better understand the social, political, historical, and economic contexts of peace and conflict.
Some of the books the club discussed include: The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind by Judith Butler, last year’s Common Read selection How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, and The Story of More: How We Got To Climate Change And Where To Go From Here by Hope Jahren, in addition to many others.
The book club has continued over Zoom and will do so throughout the upcoming academic year; in fact, it is now a permanent fixture of the IPCR program. The books are reviewed and selected by Program Support Specialist Allyson McCreery and her graduate assistant, but anyone in the club can submit book recommendations. They are also selected to align with heritage months like Women's History Month and Black History Month, where appropriate.
“The IPCR book club was founded as a way to connect our community of students, alumni, and faculty during COVID-19,” said McCreery. “It brought us together as a community of peacemakers, scholars, and professionals to discuss not only the selected texts, but how we can bring the content or lessons of those texts into our communities.”