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Forage Center Webinars

Forage Center Conversations 
Sustainability in Disaster Response – Understanding the Progression of Vulnerability

The concept of 'sustainability' extends much more broadly than an idea of environmental conservation or stewardship, and includes longer-term social needs and human-environmental balance. Dr. Maritza Jauregui, Associate Professor of Sustainability at Stockton University (Galloway, NJ), highlighted how post-disaster actors, including humanitarian workers, can think about how their shorter-term efforts integrate into medium- or longer-term impacts not only on the environmental, but social environment. Although "urgency of now" is an important factor in addressing needs after a disaster, those activities also work into longer-term narratives of justice and also systems of socio-environmental balance. When humanitarian organizations do leave, what impact have they left behind, especially when it comes to meeting the needs of future generations? Where do peacebuilding organizations pick up from where humanitarian efforts left off, and how do those earlier activities end up being incorporated into narratives of "peace"? All questions for professionals, students, and academics in fields related to humanitarian work, conflict resolution and transformation, and peacebuilding to ponder. Did you miss the conversation? Watch it here.

9th Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar

October 29-30, November 5-6, November 12-13, 2021

The National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar is designed for educators and students interested in the critical role that community colleges play in higher education, with panels on a range of topics related to peacebuilding, conflict, human rights, social justice, international affairs, and nonviolence.

The 2021 seminar features 10 hourlong sessions focused on social justice and educational issues within a peacebuilding context. We are adding the sessions to YouTube weekly, so check back here for more, or subscribe to our YouTube channel to follow along as they're released! 

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Post-Crisis Community Well-Being: Applying Lessons From Peacebuilding and Reconciliation to COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

June 18, 2021

Over the past 15 months, communities around the world have grappled with the effects of COVID-19, not only on the health of community members, but with the impact of a prolonged period of crisis. One unique feature of a pandemic crisis event is that the threat to health and life comes from other community members through human-to-human transmission, rather than mass violence or direct armed conflict. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, community tension and conflict over implementation and enforcement of mask wearing, social distancing, crowd limitations, and now vaccination demonstrates how community members' experience of COVID-19 can also include a lasting sense of community insecurity.

In the case of mass violence or warfare, communities can engage in processes of transitional justice and truth and reconciliation to uncover conflict escalation and de-escalation factors and create a pathway towards post-conflict community peace. What might this look like following a pandemic — especially one associated with experiences of threat, vulnerability, isolation, and the loss of community solidarity?

In this "Part II" discussion of community trauma, Dr. Lauren Balasco (Assistant Professor of Political Science and Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University) will bring her expertise on transitional justice and reconciliation efforts to a discussion on the inclusion of community trauma in holistic emergency and crisis recovery planning.

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Integrating Community Trauma Into Humanitarian Work

May 21, 2021

Although trauma is often a concept that is linked to individual experience, scholars and activists are bringing to light the impact trauma can have on a community and the ways community members express historical and present-day group experience. For humanitarian workers and those working in emergency management and other crisis- and first-response fields, factors stemming from community-level trauma may create obstacles to response, recovery, and future preparedness. The impact of individual-level trauma is increasingly appreciated in both scholarship and practice, constructive ways to discuss community-level trauma and strategies to integrate it into crisis planning remain elusive. Dr. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin (Professor of Psychology, Penn State Behrend) and Dr. Jess Bonnan-White (Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Stockton University, and Director of Education & Training, Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education) will discuss how trauma intersects with community conflict escalation, as well as building community resilience before and after crisis events. They will also discuss reasons and strategies for incorporating aspects of community-level trauma into experiential learning and training for current and future students and practitioners.

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Emergency Management as a Leadership Career Path for Women: Challenges and Opportunities

February 12, 2021

Emergency management professionals Anna Feigum and Shayle Sabo will reflect upon their experiences building careers as women in the field of emergency management. Moderated by social worker Chelsea Cornwell, they will identify challenges and supports that have enabled them to build confidence and navigate the subtle ways in which prejudice can present itself in this demanding and often male-dominated field. Anna and Shayle will discuss how their training within a theoretical framework of disaster resiliency has impacted their approach to addressing the multifaceted challenges of crisis management.

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Peacebuilding Careers in a Time of Global Change and Disruption

November 24, 2020 

David J. Smith will explore options for careers and professional pathways for those pursuing peacebuilding work, focusing on the present moment. David will consider the myriad challenges facing us today — social justice, political polarization, climate change, and the pandemic — and look at opportunities that come from the present conditions.


8th Annual National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar

October 30-31, November 6-7, November 13-14, 2020

Since 2013, the National Community College Peacebuilding Seminar has been held in Washington D.C. for educators and students interested in the critical role that community colleges play in higher education, with panels on a range of topics related to peacebuilding, conflict, human rights, social justice, international affairs, and nonviolence. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 conference was held virtually.

The seminar features twelve 45-minute sessions focused on social justice and public health issues within a peacebuilding context. 

The 2020 seminar was jointly sponsored by the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education and David J. Smith Consulting.

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Developing Cultural Competencies for Conscious Humanitarian Work

October 28, 2020

Join the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education for a discussion on developing cultural competencies for conscious humanitarian work. Engaging in effective humanitarian work requires understanding how our identities and socialization inform and impact the ways we interact with people. Learn about how current work in anti-bias anti-racist (ABAR) training is relevant to humanitarian work. We will also discuss how humanitarian work can mimic missionary work, with a focus on how European colonization and White Christian missions were two of the primary forces that brought harmful messages about race, gender, and sexuality to Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities and White nation-states.

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Best Practices in Humanitarian Education in Global Times of Change

October 21, 2020

Presented at the Association for Conflict Resolution conference. David J. Smith explores how social justice, the COVID-19 pandemic, political polarization, and climate change can benefit from humanitarian approaches. 

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Making Social and Political Change Through the Application of Humanitarian Skills

October 1, 2020

Join the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education and cosponsor St. Cloud State University Center for International Studies for a discussion on the intersection of humanitarian skills and making social and political change. Heather Payne, Forage Center alum and former Nonviolent Peaceforce protection officer, and Eli McCarthy, DC Peace Team coordinator and Georgetown University adjunct instructor, will share their ideas on how humanitarian and peacebuilding training can be used to effect social and political change.

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Humanitarianism Is My Day Job: Finding a Career That Brings Meaning

August 6, 2020

Join staff from the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education for a discussion on careers in the humanitarian, emergency management, relief, and peacebuilding fields. Craig Zelizer, founder of PCDN Global, will join David J. Smith, president of the Forage Center, for a wide-ranging discussion on trends in careers and strategies for launching your professional life.

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The Power in the Peer: Peer Partnership Development in Humanitarian Education

July 1, 2020

Humanitarian work requires those involved to be in a constant state of flux, whether with people or resources, and oftentimes both. Typically, in humanitarian work environments there is a “powerful boss, powerless workers” mentality, and that has the potential to create a toxic and resentful community. We will be discussing strategies to create an environment where peer relationships are viewed as equal partnerships rather than power dynamics. We will discuss how you can develop a strong, multigenerational, and diverse team while capitalizing on each member's wealth of experience.

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Beyond the Checkbox: Making the Most of Your Training Exercises

April 15, 2020

Join staff from the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education for a discussion of the components often missing from holistic emergency management and crisis response training exercises. Preparedness, response, and recovery activities require so much more than tactical planning, and communities depend on agencies to have short- and long-term strategies in mind. During our discussion, we will examine ways to introduce elements of complexity — specifically, public health, consistent messaging, community conflict, and assessing community resources — into your own training exercises or debriefing procedures to develop depth in your workforce.

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