• MHCC to Host Fourth Annual Conference on Nonviolence

    Posted: 05/09/2017

    On Friday, May 12, Mt. Hood Community College welcomes people of all different viewpoints and ideologies to the “Peaceful Resolutions: Nonviolence, a Choice” conference. The event brings together community members to discuss, in a safe place, some of the issues that they may feel uncomfortable talking about in their day-to-day interactions, like race and social justice.

    “It's a chance to have meaningful dialogue in a divisive time,” said Roseann Kennett, academic advisor with MHCC's TRiO-SSS program. “It's an opportunity to learn how to communicate better with your friends of different viewpoints and how to hold these types of intense discussion in a nonviolent way.”

    The nonviolence conference, now in its fourth year, has always been a place to learn how to communicate peacefully and effectively. The conference sessions and workshops help teach a particularly difficult skill: how to listen with empathy and compassion, said Kennett.

    “No matter what your viewpoint, this is a place to be safe and to share your view,” she added. “And if a person is using nonviolent communication, they can really learn where a person is coming from.”

    Nonviolent communication is a useful skill to have, said Andrea Gonzalez, TRiO program intern and Portland State University student, and an area that many students do not receive formal training in.

    “That's something that we really don’t get educated on,” said Gonzalez. “Learning how to communicate in an effective, non-confrontational way: that's really tough. And I think this training is important.”

    Steven Nakana, Ph.D., serves as this year's keynote speaker. His presentation, “Through the Eyes of a Peace Fellow: Rotary's Peacebuilding Journey, from 1917 Onwards,” investigates the Rotary Club's peacebuilding initiatives across the world, including in his home country of South Africa. Additional speakers and presenters include Gary and Nancy Spanovich, executive directors of the Wholistic Peace Institute; Doyle Banks, a nonviolent communication educator; and Dr. Crystal Davis, an expert in servant leadership.

    Conference events include a student panel; a Dance of Universal Peace; and breakout sessions on meditating, energy medicine, the healing power of forgiveness and unlearning racism. The nonviolence conference will take place in the Student Union on Friday, May 12, from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    Beginning Thursday, May 11, the MHCC Student Union will display the Peacemakers Exhibit. The exhibit will feature biographies and achievements of 27 Nobel Peace prize laureates. Organized by the International Sufi School for Peace and Service, the exhibit will remain open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., May 11-12.

    “Peaceful Resolutions: Nonviolence, a Choice” is hosted by the MHCC Diversity Resource Center, TRiO-SSS, the International Sufi School for Peace and Service, and the Women's Federation for World Peace. The event is supported by the MHCC Associated Student Government and the West Columbia Gorge Rotary Club.

    Learn more about “Peaceful Resolutions: Nonviolence, a Choice” at mhcc.edu/Conference-on-Nonviolence/