• Celebrate the Transformative Power of Peace at the Peace and Justice From the Heart Conference

    Erin Thomas of Portland spent two years studying at the Rotary Peace Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she earned a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution and was an inaugural Rotary Peace Fellow. An honorary board member of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace, Thomas has worked in education program management with Mercy Corps and in charitable giving for the Federated Department Stores. She currently serves as Director of Strategic Partnerships for Every Woman Treaty, a nonprofit, global coalition of women focused on ending violence against women and girls.

    Erin Thomas
    Keynote speaker Erin Thomas

    On April 24, Thomas will serve as keynote speaker at the Peace and Justice From the Heart Conference at Mt. Hood Community College. She’ll discuss how violence against women and girls continues to be one of the world’s most pervasive human rights violations and one of the least prosecuted crimes, and she’ll present research on how taking steps towards improving the safety of women can reduce national rates of violence.

    The annual Peace and Justice From the Heart Conference, held Wednesday, April 24, from 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Student Union on the Gresham campus, includes panel discussions and demonstrations centered on topics of peace and justice.

    “The conference offers a chance for MHCC students, staff, faculty, and members of the community to learn how they can plant the seeds of peace, harmony, and accord within their own homes and communities,” said Roseann Kennett, academic adviser with TRIO-SSS and a co-organizer of the conference. “There’ll be resources available to attendees, demonstrations of music and dance, and the opportunity to learn peacebuilding skills. Peace starts with each of us before it ripples out into the world.”

    The Peace and Justice From the Heart Conference will include Native American drum circles and Dances of Universal Peace. Breakout sessions will focus on: Mindfulness and Meditation; Nonviolent Communication Skills; and a panel of students, faculty, staff and Peace Advocates.

    Reem Ghunaim, the executive director for the Rotarian Action Group for Peace in Portland, will also present a session titled “Everybody Can Be a Peace Builder.” Ghunaim served as chair of the Rotary Club of Portland’s Peacebuilder Committee and she’s a Global Peace Index Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace in New York City.

    The Peace and Justice From the Heart Conference is free to MHCC students and staff, a $5 suggested donation from community members. Event sponsors include MHCC’s Diversity Resource Center and TRIO-SSS programs, the West Columbia Gorge Rotary Club, the Women’s Federation for World Peace, and the International Sufi School of Peace and Service.

    You can find additional information on the conference by visiting mhcc.edu/PeaceConference.

    The Peace and Justice From the Heart Conference includes drum circles and Dances of Universal Peace