Peace Studies

Chair or Program Director: 

J. Milburn Thompson, Ph.D Alumni Hall 100, Phone 502.272.8178,
Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, Ph.D. Alumni Hall 112, Phone 502.272.8031

The minor in Peace Studies seeks to respond to our times in a way consistent with the mission and vision of Bellarmine University.

Ours is a time of terrorism, ethnic conflict, international tension, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and small arms, failed states, wars, economic disparity, environmental calamity, conflict over resources, national polarization, racial tension, alienation from community, violence, and divorce. Yet humanity yearns for community, struggles for justice, and hopes for peace. Peace Studies is a fitting response to our age.

A minor in Peace Studies also fits with the mission and vision of Bellarmine University. The Christian tradition has wrestled with the question of war and peace from the teaching and witness of Jesus through the ruminations of Thomas Merton. Peacemaking has been one of the principles of contemporary Catholic social teaching, resulting in The Challenge of Peace, the 1983 Pastoral by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the intervention in the “Velvet Revolution” in Eastern Europe by Pope John Paul II. Peace Studies will contribute to the leadership and service in a changing global community that we expect from Bellarmine graduates.

The goal of this Peace Studies program is to encourage the study of conflict resolution, nonviolence, war and its ethical justification, and community building on international, national, communal, and interpersonal levels. As a result of a minor in Peace Studies students should be able to:

  • Explain and demonstrate conflict resolution and communication skills.
  • Explain the principles of nonviolence and the techniques of nonviolent direct action.
  • Explain and critique the just war tradition and its use in the contemporary world.
  • Discuss intelligently at least one past or current international conflict and its (potential) resolution.
  • Discuss justice and community as the foundations of peace.

There are a number of agencies, both internal and external, that support this program in peace studies. Bellarmine is home to the Thomas Merton Center, and an office of volunteerism and service learning. The Muhammad Ali Center makes Louisville a national focus for the promotion of peace. There are also a number of mediation centers (e.g. Brkthur, Council on Peacemaking, Family Mediation Services of Kentucky, Just Solutions, Louisville Mediation Services, Mediation First, Mediation Plus Inc., Mending Fences, Peace Education Program, Shalom Nisim Mediation Services) and peace-related organizations (e.g., The local chapters of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Amnesty International, Bread for the World, Center for Interfaith Relations, CLOUT, Committee for Israeli/Palestinian States, Fairness Campaign, Interfaith Paths to Peace, Justice Resource Center, Ky Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression, Ky Coalition to abolish the Death Penalty, Louisville Peace Action Community, NAACP, etc.) in Louisville that are predisposed to be resources for a peace studies program.

The promotion of peace in its many forms is an appropriate way for Bellarmine to fulfill that part of its mission statement that promises to assist students as they “develop the intellectual, moral, ethical and professional competencies for successful living, work, leadership and service to others.”

Degree Requirements