Monroe College Marks the International Day of Peace with Campus Event Focusing on Global Peace, Racial Harmony, and Kindness

On Thursday, September 29th, Monroe College marked the 41st annual International Day of Peace with a special program on the New Rochelle campus.

The School of Criminal and Social Justice (SCSJ) – lead by Dean Guylaine Harrison, Program Director Paul Lichtbraun, and Assistant Director Faye Roberts-Paul – once again led the event for the College.

President Marc Jerome opened the event held in Gaddy Grande, welcoming our guest speakers, students, staff, and faculty. He remarked on the importance of the day’s message, citing the ongoing occupation of Ukraine by Russia and the people who are suffering as a result.

He also spoke about the importance of kindness and how little gestures can go a long way to demonstrate appreciation, respect, and a sense of welcome and community. His comments were inspired by a recent story published in the New York Times on the very topic, which he encouraged the attendees to read.

Following his remarks, Faye Roberts-Paul, SCSJ’s Assistant Director for Student Engagement and Special Events, introduced the program’s keynote speaker, Audrey E. Kitagawa, JD. She is the president and founder of the International Academy for Multicultural Cooperation and the president of the Light of Awareness International Spiritual Family.

Psychologist Dr. Ani Kalayjian, a recognized trauma expert who has worked with the United Nations and other NGOs, joined the College once again this year for today’s event. In addition to her own remarks, she led the attendees through an important exercise that challenged them to think about their own responsibilities for supporting peace within themselves and their communities.

Joy Tolliver, the College’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and General Counsel, made the closing remarks.

This is the College’s fourth year recognizing the International Day of Peace as part of its annual programming. Dr. Everett Faison, a beloved member of faculty lost to COVID, was the program’s early champion. It continues to be held to honor his legacy.

Held each year in late September, this United Nations-sanctioned holiday was established in 1981 “as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.” The theme established for global observations this year was:  “End racism. Build peace.”

As UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted:

“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and…the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”

Monroe is proud to participate each year in the International Day of Peace and, in doing so, help advocate for stronger, more peaceful, and more equitable and inclusive communities at home and around the world.