Rochester ranks as one of New York state’s cities with the highest rates of community violence. In an effort to decrease these rates, grassroots efforts such as the annual Education for Peace Conference involve young people in the solutions. At this year’s conference, student peace ambassadors opened the program with personal testimonials to resolving conflicts within their schools and communities.
Rochester Institute of Technology was also recognized by the conference organizers for its long-time support of the conference and given an Education for Peace Appreciation Award.
“We at RIT are very appreciative of this recognition for hosting this wonderful event, which brings together our community’s younger generation to focus on building world peace. The efforts of many individuals on campus help to pull this conference together each year and we thank and applaud all of the organizers and the teachers who make this event possible,” says Deborah Stendardi, vice president of RIT’s Government and Community Relations division.
Organizer Dina D’Aiuto added that up until the last few years, the conference had moved from various schools in the area. They out grew many locations as conference participation grew and found a home at RIT where they have sponsored the conference for 10 of the 18 years the program has been in existence. The 2009 conference took place April 28 in the Louise Slaughter Building.
“We thank RIT for hosting us. You have a lot of spirit and we have a lot of gratitude,” she says.
More than 75 students participated in a variety of workshops such as Dismantling Racism, Transforming Suffering into Peace and Conflict Resolution. The Education for Peace Program was founded in 1989 and serves students in Monroe County K-12 programs. Participants at this year’s program came from the Rochester City School District.
“Peace is what you are,” said co-founder and NTID professor, Thomas Warfield. “If we want a peaceful world, we have to make ourselves peaceful.”