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Exploring 'Perpetual Peace'

Inspired by Immanuel Kant’s 18th-century essay “Toward Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch,” The 'Perpetual Peace' Project is a joint initiative of The Syracuse University Humanities Center, the Slought Foundation, the European Union National Institutes of Culture, the International Peace Institute and United Nations University.

To date, the project has commissioned a documentary film and art exhibition, both presented at Manhattan’s New Museum of Contemporary Art; a day-long symposium at United Nations Plaza; and various workshops and seminars throughout the Northeast. More events are scheduled this spring, in addition to a re-publication of Kant's landmark work.

On Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in Sharpless Auditorium, three guest speakers will bring the ‘Perpetual Peace’ Project to Haverford, with a series of lectures and a workshop sponsored by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, the John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center and the Slought Foundation. Visiting campus will be Gregg Lambert, dean's professor of the humanities in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences; Aaron Levy, founding executive director and chief curator of the Slought Foundation; and Martin Rauchbauer, head of the department of literature, drama and debates of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

"We are thrilled to partner with Haverford College, which is committed to the classical humanities and to contemporary intellectual, artistic and ethical currents on the public stage," says Lambert.

The evening discussion, says Lambert, will begin by defining international peace, in the traditional sense, and then expanding to cover issues involving intra-state conflicts, global governance and human security.

The lecture will be followed by a day-long, invitation-only workshop, at which Lambert and his colleagues will engage participants in a series of dialogues about international peace. "The objective of the project is not to formulate public policy, but to create conditions in which a peace movement might occur among the participating institutions," he adds. Workshop topics include "non-state actors" on the international scene, new concepts of asymmetric warfare and complex battlefields, post-9/11 security concerns, the fate of international norms governing war and peace, and the prospects for international community and world governance to reduce geopolitical conflict.

“By bringing together experts and students who trace their origins and identities to Kant's essay, I like to think that the 'Perpetual Peace' Project has, in a sense, already been a success." To be fully successful, though, says Lambert, "It must take the form of a sustained dialogue that lasts long after our events are over"

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Prof. Anita Isaacs (Political Science) and students cross Founders Green after class.

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