Peace Week: ‘Community Colleges and Peacebuilding’

Sept. 21 was National Peace Day, and in honor of this day David Smith of the U.S. Institute of Peace came to Montgomery College to speak. His speech, titled “Community Colleges and Peacebuilding,” was appropriate and accurate. Most have never heard of the U.S. Institute of Peace, and in response Smith explained the role of this organization through a question.

“What is the role of the United States around the world?”

America’s role in the world is peace, Smith said. More specifically, the organization’s goals are to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance our national security, according to the U.S. Institute of Peace website.

[frame_right src=”https://mcadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/David_Smith-150×150.jpg” href=”https://mcadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/David_Smith.jpg”]David Smith[/frame_right]It is evident that Congress has a huge concern for international peace among various nations. Smith goes on to say that the United States’ goal is to “focus on international conflict.”

“This is important to remember,” he said. “Often I speak around the United States and I talk about the institute and people point out to me, rightfully so, that we have issues with conflict and violence in our own communities, which I recognize, but congress really felt the need to focus on the international.”

Because this organization is not affiliated with any political party, it allows the USIP to focus solely on conflict management skills. “We’re trying to teach skills and aptitudes to resolve conflict,” Smith said. “We are non-partisan bipartisan. By that, I mean we are not a politicized organization. We don’t want to be a politicized organization.”

As the speech progressed, Smith clarified that the organization is concerned with educating people on ways to deal with conflict. Conflict is inevitable but with the management skills the USIP teaches, it gives a positive outlook for those who are living in war and discord. The organization has gone into some of the most dangerous and hostile environments, including nations in the Middle East.

“Clearly we have worked in the most serious conflict zones that the United States is involved in. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan,” Smith said.

The U.S. Institute of Peace is working to save lives.

“Trust your passion,” he said. That is exactly what he, as well as the USIP, is doing. This speech not only showcased the great work that is being done, but also the fact that good can prosper. Even in the most hostile of nations, a flickering bit of hope and peace is coming to the surface through the speech of David Smith and the work of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

To read more, visit the US Institute of Peace website.