A Tradition of Peace at the University of Dayton

Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen, SND, taught history at UD from 1967 to 1971.  She worked with students who were struggling with their response to the war in Vietnam and considering conscientious objection.  This experience changed her response to war itself, and some years later she became a pacifist.  She eventually became the first national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, in 1979, and in 1984 was elected vice president of Pax Christi International.  Dr. Jegen served on a team representing Pax Christi at the United Nations, 1991-2000 (Pax Christi International has special consultative status as a nongovernmental organization at the United Nations).

She is the author of several books, including Just Peacemakers: An Introduction to Peace and Justice (Paulist Press, paperback 2005), and How You Can Be a Peacemaker: Catholic Teachings and Practical Suggestions (Liguori Publications, 1985).

Sister Mary Evelyn has been arrested several times and jailed overnight for nonviolent resistance, and is currently (November 2007) under a suspended sentence for an action in 2006 in which she and three other persons occupied a U.S. Representative's office and read names of victims of the war in Iraq, both Iraqis and members of the U.S. military.

Sister Mary Evelyn received her doctorate in medieval European history from St. Louis University.  Write to Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen at mejegen@yahoo.com

Joseph C. Kunkel, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy.  Dr. Kunkel began teaching an Ethics and Modern War course in 1980, and he created a Philosophy of Peace course a decade later.  Dr. Kunkel writes:
     “The Ethics and Modern War course began after Ronald Reagan started campaigning for more nuclear weapons (than the 25,000 the United States possessed) to keep our nation secure.  Unbridled security efforts encompass many, many evils as Martin Luther King, Jr. enunciated in his 1967 address against the Vietnam War.  Post-Second World War America has never learned how to use power with moderation.
     “The Ethics and Modern War course discusses a negative peace (that is, an 'absence of warfare' that comes about through a balance of military forces. This approach does not necessarily ameliorate the underlying causes of conflict) with an ethical moderation (that is, an approach that tries to reduce the use of military force by applying ethical criteria to each time military use is contemplated.  In other words, we have a contrast between power politics that uses military for a nation's own advantage, and just war doctrine that only approves of the use of military force when five major conditions are met.)
     “The Philosophy of Peace course, on the other hand, represents a positive approach to peace that strives to undercut the roots of war by ensuring that all human beings have their basic needs satisfied.  Meeting the basic needs of human beings is what true democracy is all about, especially when democracy means more than holding elections.  Enjoying true democracy is an ongoing challenge when our country prefers security, guns, and prisons over human rights and education.”

Dr. Kunkel is co-editor of Issues in War and Peace: Philosophical Inquiries (Longwood Press, 1989) and In the Interest of Peace: A Spectrum of Philosophical Perspectives(Wakefield, NH: Longwood Academic, 1990).  He was also founding general editor (1994 to 2003) of a special series of books on the philosophy of peace published by Rodopi in Amsterdam (http://www.rodopi.nl/senj.asp?SerieId=POP).

Dr. Kunkel has been a member of Concerned Philosophers for Peace since its inception in 1981, and has served as executive secretary (1989–1995) and as president (1997).  (http://benezet.org/phpnuke/ or www.peacephilosophy.orgWhile on the full-time faculty he was active in accompanying University of Dayton students to the annual School of Americas Watch vigil in Fort Benning, GA (see entries of M. Knapke, M. Doty on home page).  
 
Write to Dr. Kunkel at Joseph.Kunkel@notes.udayton.edu

 

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