Peace Studies to Award Peace Prize at U Club

Peace Studies Logo

On Friday, May 6, the Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies Program will host U Club and award the 2nd Annual Grabill-Homan Peace Prize. The Peace Prize scholarship is awarded annually to a student involved in the Peace Studies program who is dedicated to peacemaking and alternative dispute resolution. This year’s Prize will be awarded to Jessica Junis, a junior Public Relations major, and Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies and Writing (Department of English) double minor. 

Junis is from Bloomington-Normal, and has trained with the National Coalition for Building Institutes (NCBI), an international organization based in Washington, D.C. with chapters worldwide focused on creating and teaching curricula on diversity, violence prevention, and conflict resolution. Junis became a certified trainer through NCBI three years ago, and through her employer in Normal, the MARC Center, she has led workshops on diversity and conflict resolution and assisted City of Bloomington instructors with diversity training for city employees. She also has been instrumental in establishing a NCBI chapter in Bloomington.

Junis’s commitment to promoting acceptance of diversity extends in many directions. For example, at the MARC Center, Junis has worked to create opportunities for integration and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in their communities. She also has served as a summer intern at the Children’s Foundation child daycare in Bloomington, where she contributed to the development of a six-week program in anger and conflict resolution for children pre-kindergarten to sixth grades.

“Jessica is deeply committed to social justice and understanding. In her daily life, she brings a peace perspective and active engagement in promoting positive change in her community. In this way, she is an inspiration and a model peacemaker, personal qualities that the Peace Prize recognizes,” Dr. Janie Leatherman, Co-Director of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies program, said.

The Peace Prize is named in honor of Dr. Joseph Grabill, who retired in 2001, and Dr. Gerlof Homan, who retired in 1994. Illinois State History Professors Grabill and Homan each experienced mid-career awakenings in the mid-1970s when they realized that their Cold War teaching largely had made war-makers visible and peace-makers invisible. Their studies of peacemaking and writings and activities in that discipline led to their co-founding, with the support of many like-minded colleagues, the Peace Studies program at Illinois State in 1990. The program officially became a minor in 1997 and today includes courses from 14 departments and three colleges. The program is currently co-directed by Dr. Janie Leatherman (Professor, Politics and Government) and Dr. Deborah Gentry (Associate Dean, Family and Consumer Sciences).

The University Club reception will be from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the Faculty-Staff Commons in the Bone Student Center. The event is open to the University community and other community members interested in the Peace Studies Program.

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