New certificate to promote peace across disciplines



By Laura Shrake | Assistant News Editor

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Peace will be the focus of a new undergraduate certificate offered at UK.

UK’s Undergraduate Education is adding a fifth undergraduate certificate program called Peace Studies to the university.

“This is a really, really smart idea,” said Clayton Thyne, director of the Peace Studies Program. “People thought creatively to add to the undergraduate experience.”

According to the undergraduate education website, this certificate will enhance students’ understanding of “personal, social, cultural and economic issues that reduce or promote prospects for peace.”

Thyne said the program is intended to be an interdisciplinary effort to “package electives” into another certification.

An undergraduate certificate is essentially a smaller version of an academic minor, he said.

To earn a certificate, a student must complete between 12 and 15 hours in a variety of classes pertaining to peace, but also to the student’s primary area of study.

On Wednesday, the new program had an inaugural event to raise awareness of the program and discuss how the program will be a springboard for campus community involvement.

Attending the event were President Eli Capilouto, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Student Government President Roshan Palli, and Kerby Neill, a board member of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice.

“We are looking for ways to build bridges into communities, and going in and establishing relationships (in these communities),” Neill said.

The panel discussed their goals for the program, including how the university can grow and continue to develop in the area of community impact and outreach.

Neill hopes to see this “seedling” in undergraduate education grow into a minor and continue to find ways into the community, but noted that these steps must be taken one at a time.

The overarching goal of the peace studies certificate is to answer a student’s question of “‘What can I do to foster peace?’ as an active citizen or leader or in my chosen vocation,” according to the website.

Capilouto said he was “so glad to hear the words and themes of peace and justice,” and emphasized UK’s responsibility to be involved in the community.

He also acknowledged the new learning space in the residence halls on campus and how the peace studies program could one day be a part of the future student living spaces.

Thyne said the Peace Studies Program strives to give an overview of peace in general from many different perspectives.

“The idea is that a lot of people are interested in peace from different perspectives,” Thyne said. “(We want to) combine our interests across campus with different students.”