April 11, 2024 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

A group of 33 King’s students, plus 10 from the affiliated Western campuses, are headed to Rondine Cittadella della Pace (Rondine City of Peace), an international, Nobel Prize-nominated centre for conflict resolution and peacebuilding, for their annual involvement in the King's at Rondine Seminar.

The King’s at Rondine Seminar, a unique, interdisciplinary program that draws on multiple disciplines at King's, is in its eighth year. The students, including those from the Foundations in the New Liberal Arts, Social Justice & Peace Studies (SJPS), and several other departments, will spend May 2-31, 2024, in residence at Rondine where they will engage in workshops, symposia, site visits and seminars focusing on issues of inter-ethnic conflict, climate, religion, borders, migration and other fields of conflict and peacebuilding.

Deborah Canales, a third-year SJPS student, says her participation in Rondine will be “an academic journey I wish to take part in as it would allow me to enhance my understanding of displaced persons and the plight of members of our international community through the lens of social justice. Being able to meet individuals who were harmed by international conflicts and are now attempting to become role models to fight against that same violence is inspiring to me and will help me become stronger in my desire to help those in need by meeting inspiring like-minded people who will humanize the many concepts, stories, and inequalities that we so often research academically, but don't experience personally.”

King’s at Rondine is coordinated by Dr. Piero Pirani, Lecturer of Social Justice and Peace Studies. Several King's faculty members will also participate in this year's program including Dr. Ben Muller, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Migration and Border Studies; Dr. Allyson Larkin, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Social Justice & Peace Studies; Dr. Claudia Clausius, Associate Professor of English; Dr. Mark Yenson, Associate Academic Dean, and Dr. Josephine Gemson, Associate Professor of the School of Management, Economics, and Mathematics (MEM).

 “This wide range of disciplinary interests emphasizes the humanist approach to conflict resolution at Rondine,” says Dr. Larkin.

The founding principle that guides the Rondine method for peacebuilding is that enemies must learn to live with one another for there to be the possibility of achieving enduring peace. The full, two-year Rondine program has youth from Israel and Palestine, Russia and Ukraine, Sudan and South Sudan, the Balkans and many other countries living and studying together as a way to explore the challenges of living with their enemies.

"One of the reasons I love this opportunity for our students is that they see peacebuilding and social justice as a humanist project; conflict de-escalation is not just about ending violence. Here our students must engage with a new language and learn about the complex histories, beliefs and cultural elements of conflict while surrounded by Roman walls, medieval churches and art. It is an extraordinary learning experience that is truly unique to Rondine,” says Dr. Larkin. 

Canales says that she wishes to learn more about the personal struggles of the students at Rondine. “To face adversity on a cultural scale is a very straining and difficult process, and to be able to face this conflict, and choose to peacefully resist it rather than to escape or violently retaliate, to me, is the most honourable, mature, and difficult path one can take,” she says.

King's students will also take a course in Italian Language and Culture (ITAL 1045). All members of the Rondine community, including international participants, must learn Italian. It presents an incredible opportunity for King’s students to encounter a new language in the context of its history and culture.

“The study of Italian language and culture is a powerful way to bring together all students and Rondine community members. The study of the Italian language in this setting is a key element of community building at Rondine. Students take an intensive two-week course, to develop basic language skills that enable them to engage with other Rondine participants,” says Dr. Pirani.

Learn more about the King’s at Rondine Seminar.