Seminar on Peace and the Global Civil Society

Annual Conference & ExpoNAFSA 2018 Call for Proposals

Keynote Speaker: Zama Neff, Human Rights Watch

The Power of Women to Effect Social Change:
Stories of Diverse Approaches to Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution

May 28-29, 2017 | Los Angeles, CA
Mount Saint Mary’s University

How can you inspire students to become agents of social change?

How can film and other forms of storytelling be better incorporated into curriculum?

The 2017 NAFSA Seminar on Peace and the Global Civil Society modeled and instructed through film and personal storytelling the extraordinary ways in which women manage and resolve conflict, and are developing and building structures for a sustainable peaceful society.

The NAFSA Seminar on Peace and the Global Civil Society brings together international educators with scholars and practitioners in peacebuilding. This NAFSA Signature Program provides opportunities for participants to engage in meaningful conversations about the role that international education programming performs in developing students as peacebuilders, whether through teaching cultural diplomacy, improving dialogue skills, or simply through promoting a better understanding of the interconnectedness of many global issues.

At this year's seminar, presenters and participants explored:

  • The importance of diverse perspectives in resolving conflict and building sustainable peace;
  • The historically overlooked role of women as peacebuilders and change agents;
  • Ways in which to become involved in the peacebuilding process; particularly participation from diverse groups (especially women), the need to protect everyone involved in the process and the need to prevent discrimination against them;
  • The powerful impact personal stories make as catalysts for social change;
  • The power of film and other media to effect change; and
  • Ways in which educators can inspire and support students from all backgrounds and of all genders in becoming agents of change.

Participants will engage with experts on peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and storytelling to discuss ways international education programs can create opportunities for students to build knowledge and skills that enhance their capacity to become agents of change and peacebuilders in a global civil society.

What Participants Gained

  • Knowledge on the potential that gender equity can play in the resolution of conflict and peacebuilding;
  • Ideas for how to better engage students by providing them with perspective on the ways their actions can make a difference on a global level, and how to best manage these actions in the classroom and advising process;
  • Appreciation of the power of non-mainstream voices in entertainment to effect social change by addressing topics such as identity politics, socio-cultural narratives, and inter-group relations; and
  • Suggestions for incorporation of film and other media into curriculum


Sunday, May 28, 2017
4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Shuttle departs Convention Center for Rose Hills Auditorium
5:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. Networking and Welcome Reception – Rose Hills Patio
5:45 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Welcome & Introduction – Rose Hills Auditorium
  • Esther Brimmer, DPhil, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Elaine Meyer-Lee, EdD, President and Chair of the Board, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Brian O’Rourke, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Mount Saint Mary’s University
6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Keynote Address
Education under Fire: Protecting Schools, Teachers & Students in the Midst of War
Zama Coursen-Neff, Executive Director, Children's Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; Co-chair, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA)
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Film Screening
What Tomorrow Brings
8:00 p.m. - 8:20 p.m. Moderated Discussion
8:20 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Conclusion of Evening
Brian O’Rourke
8:30 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. Shuttle returns to Convention Center
Monday, May 29, 2017
7:45 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Shuttle departs Convention Center for Rose Hills Auditorium
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast – Rose Hills Patio
Introductory Remarks – Rose Hills Auditorium Building
  • Heather MacCleoud, Director, Academic Programs, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Eric Apfelstadt, PhD, Director, Center for Global Initiatives, Mount Saint Mary’s University
9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Presentation
Searching by the Heart in the Midst of Darkness: Building Peace after Personal Tragedy
  • Béa Gallimore, PhD, Professor Emerita, French and Francophone Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia; Founder, Step Up! American Association for Rwandan Women
9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Presentation
The Role of Higher Education in Peacebuilding – Colombia
  • Sonia Durán, Vice President of International Affairs, Universidad del Rosario
10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Coffee Break
10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Presentation and Collaborative Opportunity
The Role of Youth in Building a Sustainable Global Culture of Peace
  • Meenakshi Chhabra, PhD, Associate Professor, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Lesley University; Fulbright Senior Scholar; Educator & Fellow, Seeds of Peace
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Panel Presentation
Understanding Culture to Protect the Vulnerable: The Role of Higher Education in Engaging Students
  • Eylem Atakav, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, University of East Anglia
  • Joshua Holst, PhD, Training Manager, The Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)
  • Florian Max Schwandner, PhD, Director, Strategic Development, International STEM Society for Human Rights (former)
  • Rajiv Uttamchandani, Astrophysicist, Human Rights Activist, Social Entrepreneur
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Networking Lunch – Rose Hills Patio
1:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Introduction
Co-creating Stories with Women PeaceMakers: An Act of Reciprocity
  • Kathleen Zanoni, Program Officer, Women PeaceMakers, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, University of San Diego
1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Keynote Presentation
Civil Society Strategies of Women Involvement in Peace Processes
  • Judge Najla Ayoubi, Founding Member & Executive Board Member - Women’s Regional Network (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India); Board Member, Afghanistan Institute for Civil Society
2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Presentation and Discussion
How Do They Do It? Women Peacemakers, Their Stories, and Systems Leadership
  • Andrew Blum, PhD, Executive Director, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Kroc School of Peace Studies, University of San Diego
2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Presentation and Collaborative Opportunity
Peace Beyond Absence of War and "National Security": Justice, Culture of Peace, and Genuine Security
  • Margo Okazawa-Rey, EdD, Elihu Root Peace Fund Visiting Professor in Women’s Studies, Hamilton College; Professor, Fielding Graduate University; Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University; Board Member, PeaceWomen Across the Globe; Board Member, Du Re Bang (My Sister’s Place); Founding Member, Combahee River Collective
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Final Collaborative Opportunity
Why Stories Matter: How Media and Storytelling Shape Our Understanding of Movements for Rights and Equality
  • Emma Alpert, Public Engagement Coordinator, Just Vision
4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Conclusion
  • Heather MacCleoud, Director, Academic Programs, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • Eric Apfelstadt, PhD, Director, Center for Global Initiatives, Mount Saint Mary’s University
4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Networking Reception - Doheny Mansion, Pompeiian Room
5:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Shuttle returns to Convention Center  

*Please note that the agenda is subject to change.


Type Price
Member $229
Nonmember $329
Student $99

This seminar was created in honor of NAFSA past-president Ron Moffatt.