The Desmond Tutu Center, a five-year joint partnership between Butler University and the Christian Theological Seminary created in 2013 to promote the legacy of the Archbishop, will be renamed the Desmond Tutu Peace Lab and will get a new director, Butler Professor of Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies Siobhan McEvoy-Levy.
“Growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, we were inspired by Desmond Tutu and the struggles of South Africans against apartheid,” McEvoy-Levy said. “So it is a great honor to be named Director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Lab and to have the opportunity to further collaborate with Butler students and other colleagues and community partners in the cause of peace.”
McEvoy-Levy will be supported by three Faculty Fellows: Chad Bauman, Butler Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Classics; Terri Jett, Butler Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity; and Fait Muedini, Butler Associate Professor and Director of International Studies.
The Desmond Tutu Peace Lab will be dedicated to undergraduate research, activism, dialogue, and advocacy around peace and social justice issues broadly defined. The Lab continues work in the spirit of The Desmond Tutu Center by promoting peace, reconciliation, and global justice on campus and in the local community.
Student interns and a student “think tank” will work with faculty and local community partners to:
- Convene roundtables and dialogues on ‘cultures of future peace’ themed around the arts, media, religion, politics, gender, race, science, business, and other topics.
- Offer trainings in mediation, activism, interfaith engagement, and writing for social justice.
- Study “sites of conscience” and how divided societies have constructive dialogues about the past.
“With this new initiative, we will provide a new generation of students with space to explore and develop their aspirations for nonviolent change,” McEvoy-Levy said. “The Peace Lab will be a place for collaborations, recognizing that peace building is a dynamic and tension-filled process, and that inner peace, community violence prevention, reconciliation with our enemies or with our natural world, or advancing economic justice, are not achievable alone. The aim is to build on students’ already rich classroom, study abroad, and community-based learning experiences.”