A Message from the Fred J. Hansen Peace Chair
Peace is the fruit of justice
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid a global moment of racial reckoning, and
within the clutches of an environmental crisis, work for peace and justice is as urgent
and challenging as ever. The Fred J. Hansen Peace Chair is one of SDSU’s platforms
to engage with, and contribute to, the work for justice and peace that is happening
in our local San Diego and Tijuana communities, as well as in the wider world. As
we move into an unknown time of the on-going effects of the pandemic we are also faced
with deepening political polarization, the dangers of racial supremacy and gender
discrimination, and extreme economic injustices that threaten the well-being of millions
and maintain systems of structural and political violence around the world.
Peace studies is both a transdisciplinary area of scholarly research and a praxis-based
arena of “real life” engagement. Peace studies as a field of study draws from the
many different disciplines, including social sciences, humanities, the arts, and creative
STEM interventions to encounter and address the root causes of armed conflict, but
also confronts the structural violence caused by racial, social, and economic inequality.
In this sense, “peace” is understood as much more than simply the absence of war but
encompasses the conditions necessary for a just and sustainable peace that leads to
the guarantee of human rights and protection of all peoples, especially the vulnerable
and marginalized. Without justice, there is no peace. Peace is the fruit of justice.
A new vision
As the new chair, I am honored and excited to bring my knowledge and experience to
the work of the program. I have worked and studied in Colombia, South America for
almost 2 decades. Much of that time I was involved with local peace and justice organizations
which led to years of ethnographic fieldwork on political economies and belief systems
that maintain, and respond to, systems of structural violence. I am also committed
to peace and justice on the border, and I am excited to extend the purview of the
Hansen Chair to encompass peace and justice work on issues of migration justice, violence
and the militarization of the border, the criminalization of migration, abolishing
the immigrant prison system, and re-imagining the border region as one of opportunity
for learning and building a peaceable region, rather than division.
A word about our new icon
Since Greco-Roman times, the olive branch has been used as a symbol of peace. However,
the olive branch is often associated with Pax Romana, or a kind of peace that relies
on imperialism and military enforcement. The new icon for the Fred J. Hansen Peace
Chair features a knotty olive tree, stretching its branches to the sky, sturdy and
steady, roots deep, anchored in the soil. More than simply an olive branch, as a
gesture of peace or, problematically, surrender, the olive tree symbolizes the need
for long-term, rooted work that builds on the work of those who have come before and
engages endogenous knowledge systems. Work for peace is an endeavour that requires
patience, nurturing the seeds of justice and equity, while withstanding the storms
of economic crisis and political whims. Peace can never be the work of one person,
it must always be planted in the fertile ground of collaboration and community. The
tree, with its many branches, reminds us that the work for peace requires many strategies,
avenues, and interventions. Only together can we work toward a better world.
— Rebecca Bartel, Hansen Chair
Read the newstory on the CAL website.