Peace Builder and Conflict Resolution Practitioner Returns to W&J for Public Lecture

Created: October 20, 2016
Last Updated: January 15, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Oct. 20, 2016) – International mediator and peace prize winner Mary Montague returns to Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) this fall with a public lecture, “AlienNation: Relationships and Reconciliation, Relationships that Transcend Separation and Disconnection” on Oct. 26.

This free, public lecture begins at 7 p.m. in Allen Ballroom of Rossin Campus Center. The event is part of the J. Robert Maxwell ’43 Visiting Scholar Series.

Montague said that, in light of the “Brexit” decision in the United Kingdom and the Syrian refugee crisis affecting countries around the world, she plans to discuss the peace keeping process in terms of immigration.

“Brexit has had profound negative effects on our own peace processes within Northern Ireland. It has exposed the fears of people, and the way people fear others,” Montague said. “At the moment in the United States there is talk of fearing people coming into this country, and really the lifeblood and development of this country is people coming in through immigration.”

Montague, who has visited W&J twice before, is in residence at the College for the Fall 2016 semester. She is teaching Mediation in the Classroom and Community for the College’s Conflict and Resolution Studies program and is also working with the Office of Student Life, in the Washington community, and in the Washington School District during her stay.

A background in conflict resolution skills is useful on a personal scale as well as in global affairs Montague said, and that’s why she enjoys teaching and speaking to students. Mediation skills can make a student marketable in the workplace, giving them the ability to work through problems and maintain good relationships with coworkers and in their personal lives.

“For me, mediation and restorative practices are actually lifeskills. They are not restricted to belong to any one profession or discipline,” she said. “I think the way we handle conflict can create for us a world centered around relationships, and those can be heatlhy relationships and that helps us grow.”

Montague, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been a peace builder for forty years. She worked tirelessly, despite death threats from the warring Irish factions, to support the development of the ceasefires and the Political Agreement (Good Friday/Belfast Agreement). She also designed & delivered the highly commended European Building Relationships in Communities (BRIC) project, one of the first using Systemic Mediative & Restorative Approaches, delivered across Northern Ireland.

Montague has founded organizations that train peace builders throughout the world, and has led mediations and trained mediators in the Balkans, Kosovo, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Sudan. She is currently training Woman Peace Builders for projects in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Mary has designed and delivered mediative interventions addressing major contentious issues;

In 2015, she received peace prizes from International Mediators Beyond Borders and the Schwelle Foundation Bremen, Germany Peace Prize. This year she is short listed for the 2016 Berlin Peace Prize.

 

About the J. Robert Maxwell ’43 Visiting Scholar Series

Endowed in 2010, the J. Robert Maxwell ’43 Visiting Scholar Series provides the Washington & Jefferson College community, including students, faculty, staff and interested citizens, access to a wider array of viewpoints, opinions and practices from distinguished and influential leaders.

J. Robert Maxwell (Class of 1943) was a lawyer, community leader and trustee emeritus of W&J. He received a Certificate in Meteorology from the University of Chicago, then served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy until the end of World War II. After the war, Maxwell entered Harvard Law School, graduating in 1949.

Throughout Maxwell’s life, he was an ardent servant of W&J. He was president of the General Alumni Association and of the Allegheny County Alumni Association, service for which he received the W&J Award of Merit in 1958. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1965 and served as an active member until he was appointed a Trustee Emeritus in 1985. Through his many years of service, Maxwell provided leadership and guidance with great wisdom and delightful good humor.

 

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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