Jason Kelly '95 | October 5, 2018
Required reading at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies’ annual summer conference included a comic strip. In this edition of Shoe, esteemed “Perfesser” Cosmo Fishhawk receives a letter asking him to weigh in on the question, “How do you think we can achieve world peace?”
The inquisitor has the courtesy to make this monumental task a little easier, enclosing a 3-by-5 card for the perfesser’s reply.
Several dozen leaders from global peace studies programs chuckle at the demand implicit in the punchline displayed on the screen in their meeting room at Jenkins Nanovic Halls. It’s a variation on a theme familiar to scholars in their idealistic discipline: Solve history’s most intractable problems and, please, be brief.
George Lopez, Notre Dame professor emeritus of peace studies and the founding director of the popular Summer Institute that attracts these peace experts to campus, turns the group’s attention to the index cards on their tables. “Your task for the next seven to 10 minutes . . .” Lopez begins, and the realization of their assignment spreads quickly. They’re going to have to distill their personal visions for world peace into the same space allotted to Perfesser Fishhawk.
That prompts some murmuring. (Professors, it turns out, generate the same bemused buzz as students when surprised with a pop quiz.) Whispered uncertainty about the parameters — Write on one side or both? Share answers? — circulates the room, along with laments about illegible handwriting and flares of laughter.
Instead of the promised seven to 10 minutes, Lopez speaks up after about three, sensing restlessness and diversity of opinion in the increasing conversation.
“I can tell nobody is on the verge of consensus,” he says, cutting through the crosstalk and getting to the point. “Sixty-five experts in the room, how do we achieve world peace?”
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