Year In Review

Year in Review: 2022–23 Highlights

July 2022: 

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  • Thirteen second-year Master of Global Affairs (MGA) students with a concentration in International Peace Studies (IPS) departed for six-month field experiences with partner organizations around the world.

  • Kroc Institute Director Dr. Asher Kaufman began a year-long research sabbatical in Jerusalem, with Executive Director Erin B. Corcoran serving as Acting Director in his absence.

August 2022:

  • Dr. Ernesto Verdeja co-edited Wicked Problems: The Ethics of Action for Peace, Rights, and Justice (Oxford University Press, 2022), which explores the ethical questions, dilemmas, and obligations that activists and academics must confront in their peacebuilding work.

  • A symposium was held for Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert C. Johansen and the launch of his latest book, Where the Evidence Leads: A Realistic Strategy for Peace and Human Security (Oxford University Press, 2021). The full-day event featured conversations among scholars, practitioners, and policymakers.

    Bob Johasen


September 2022:

  • The MGA program welcomed its sixth cohort of students for the fall semester. Of this cohort, 15 students chose to pursue the IPS concentration.

  • Five new doctoral students representing peace studies and four partner disciplines at the university were welcomed at the Kroc Institute.

  • The Kroc Institute hosted the 29th annual Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy headlined by the Honorable Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and a Distinguished Policy Fellow with the Keough School of Global Affairs. 

    Santos Sept
    The Honorable Juan Maneul Santos and Josefina Echavarría Alvarez


  • Dr. Gwendolyn Purifoye moderated the panel “End Racism. Build Peace.” in honor of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, observed annually around the world on Sept. 21.

  • Five new Visiting Research Fellows joined the Kroc Institute. Jenna Knapp (M.A. ‘16) (fall 2022) was the 2022 Alumni Visiting Research Fellow; Dr. Erica Dávila (academic year 2022-23) is a professor of educational leadership at Lewis University; Dr. Roddy Brett (academic year 2022-23) is an associate professor of peace and conflict studies at the University of Bristol; Dr. Nilofar Sakhi (fall 2022) is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and has been teaching courses as a professional lecturer of international affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University; and Dr. Isis Nusair (M.A. ‘95) (fall 2022) is an associate professor of women’s and gender studies and international studies at Denison University.

October 2022:

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  • The Kroc Institute hosted a book launch for Dr. Emmanuel Katongole's latest book, Who Are My People?: Love, Violence, and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa (Notre Dame Press, 2022), which explores the ethnic, religious, and ecological violence of African modernity. Dr. Ebrahim Moosa provided the introduction.

November 2022:

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  • Dr. Valerie Hickey, a 2000 graduate of the International Peace Studies M.A. program at the Kroc Institute, was selected as the recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award. Hickey is the Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and the Blue Economy at the World Bank.
  • The Catholic Peacebuilding Network (CPN) collaborated on a panel with the Extractives@Clark program at Clark University in Massachusetts. The panel examined the role of faith-based organizations, particularly the Catholic Church, in efforts to promote peace, justice, and development in mining communities.

December 2022:

  • Seven MGA-IPS scholars, whose studies had been disrupted by the pandemic, graduated.

January 2023:

  • The Kroc Institute co-sponsored the 37th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast and Day of Celebration hosted by the South Bend Heritage Foundation. The event included a panel moderated by Dr. Gwendolyn Purifoye, “Walking in the Spirit of Truth: Charting the Pathways to Racial Justice,” as part of the university’s “Walk the Walk Week.” 
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    Gwendolyn Purifoye
  • Two new Visiting Research Fellows arrived at the Kroc Institute, Dr. Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs (spring 2023) is the senior specialist on armed groups and peace processes at the Folke Bernadotte Academy in Sweden, a governmental agency working in the field of peace, security, and development. Dr. Tecla Namachanja Wanjala (spring-fall 2023) is a team lead for the Shalom Centre for Counselling and Development, a local NGO in Kenya supporting social healing among communities affected by violent conflicts. She is also one of the eminent members of Kenya’s National Peace and Mediation Team.
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Members of the PAM team in the Philippines
  • Dr. Madhav Joshi introduced the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM) to Manila, Philippines as part of a workshop for the Joint Normalization Committee to support monitoring of the implementation of the Bangsamoro/Mindanao peace agreement.
  • Dr. Atalia Omer facilitated a panel discussion following the full house-screening of “Boycott,” a documentary that traces the impact of state legislation designed to penalize individuals and companies that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record.

February 2023:

  • The Kroc Institute celebrated Professor Emeritus Dr. David Cortright and his latest book, A Peaceful Superpower: Lessons from the World's Largest Antiwar Movement, which focuses on the global protest to the Iraq war.
  • Dr. Mary Ellen O’Connell spoke at the first international summit on Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain, REAIM 2023, at The Hague.

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    Lisa Schirch leads a "Designing Tech" session
  • Dr. Lisa Schirch was the lead organizer of “Designing Tech for Social Cohesion,” a conference held in San Francisco that attracted hundreds of attendees from both technology and peacebuilding organizations. Nine Keough School students attended. 


March 2023:

S. Nanjala and A. Romandash
  • In March, Sarah Nanjala (left) and Anna Romandash (right), MGA IPS ‘22 students, were announced as the winners of two prestigious awards: the annual Hesburgh Global Fellowship (Nanjala) and the inaugural Howard S. Brembeck Fellowship (Romandash).

  • CPN’s Gerard F. Powers moderated a discussion with Cardinal Robert W. McElroy, bishop of San Diego, and a panel made up of several Notre Dame and Kroc Institute faculty – Dr. Mary Ellen O’Connell, Major General (ret.) Robert Latiff, adjunct professor and chairman of the Advisory Board for Notre Dame's John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, and Dr. A. Rashied Omar – as part of the Notre Dame Forum “War & Peace” series.

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    Atalia Omer (left)
  • Dr. Atalia Omer moderated a panel discussion, “Aftermaths II: The Invasion of Iraq in the Present,” as part of the Notre Dame Forum “War & Peace” series. 

  • Dr. Laurie Nathan led a three-day mediation competency training for community leaders in partnership with the City of South Bend’s Division of Community Initiatives.

April 2023:

  • Dr. Robert Orsi, professor of religious studies at Northwestern University, was the marquee name of the 25th annual Dialogues on Nonviolence, Religion, and Peace event.
  • The 2023 Notre Dame Student Peace Conference returned to a mostly in-person format this year and attracted more than 120 participants representing 15 countries around the world. Its theme, “Voices: Naming War, Speaking Peace," built on the university’s “War & Peace” forum series.

  • The PAM team released the latest special report on the status of the gender approach as part of the 2016 Colombian Peace Accord implementation.

    Josefina April
  • The Keough School, Kroc Institute, PAM, and CPN hosted a panel discussion and exhibit at the Keough School in Washington, DC: “Overcoming Violence in Wounded Societies: Perspectives from the Colombian and Kenyan Truth Commissions.”

  • In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, Dr. Josefina Echavarría Alvarez participated in a round-table discussion with professors from Oxford University about the peace process and treaties in a comparative framework.

  • Dr. Kathryn Vidrine, assistant director for Doctoral Studies at the Kroc Institute, represented the Kroc Institute at the "Agreement 25" conference at Queen's University Belfast, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. The three-day conference reflected on the process of creating peace in the region, and how Northern Ireland can be a model for other peace agreements worldwide.

May 2023:

  • For the first time ever, two graduate students received the prestigious annual Hesburgh Global Fellowship simultaneously: Haleemah Ahmad, an MGA IPS graduate, and Oneile Baitlotli, an MGA graduate who minored in peace studies as a Notre Dame undergraduate.
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Laura Miller-Graff congratulates a graduating senior
  • This spring saw 27 seniors graduate from the Peace Studies program. 
  • The Honorable Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia from 2010 to 2018, was the principal speaker at the university’s commencement ceremony. President Santos’ relationship with Notre Dame began in 2012, when he turned to the Kroc Institute and PAM for insight as he began exploratory work to end Colombia’s civil war. Since 2016, PAM has had responsibility for technical verification and monitoring of the peace accord.

June 2023:

  • The PAM team released the seventh comprehensive report on the Colombian Peace Agreement implementation, offering a progress update as of November 2022.

  • Dr. Laurie Nathan was the lead designer and trainer for the prestigious United Nations High Level Mediation Course for senior officials, which takes place annually in Montreux, Switzerland.

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    Anna Van Overberghe, assistant director for Academic Administration and Undergraduate Studies at the Kroc Institute, was selected to be a Moreau instructor for the upcoming academic year. The Moreau First-Year Experience course exposes students to diverse modes of thought for approaching, analyzing, and understanding different aspects of their lives and world.



Hesburgh Center