July 20, 2021 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Written by Yichen Fang, Communications Intern

SJPS 3211G: Global Networks for Justice is one of many courses at King’s offering students the opportunity for experiential learning. Rondine, a Nobel Peace-Prize nominated center for conflict resolution and peace building, located in the Tuscan city of Arezzo, brings together youth from war-torn and conflict-ridden regions of the world.  While they are in residence at Rondine, youth who at home would be considered enemies to one another work on joint projects designed to engage their communities at home in conflict de-escalation and cross-cultural understanding. King’s students participate in a month of workshops, symposia and site visits with the other Rondine residents.  It is an extraordinary opportunity to participate in international peace-building work, at the highest level.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students could not travel abroad in 2021 and the course was held virtually. Despite the restrictions, 20 students enrolled in Social Justice & Peace Studies (SJPS), Religion Studies and Philosophy participated in the seminar led by Dr. Pietro Pirani, SJPS, and supported by Dr. Mark Yenson, Religious Studies. It is a unique partnership which includes Italian Studies at UWO and Rondine, Cittadella della Pace. In addition to completing the King’s at Rondine Seminar, students also take a course in Italian Language and Culture, to facilitate their communication and integration into the Rondine community.

The digital delivery of the Rondine Seminar included virtually visited the Vatican Centre for Migrants and Refugees, brainstormed solutions to current global crises with European NGOs, received lectures by internationally recognized faculty and worked on interdisciplinary research projects.

While students were unable to travel to Italy, they were still able to engage digitally in many of the course experiences. This allowed an even greater range of King’s students to participate, for example, mature students who would not have been able to participate if the course required travel to Italy. SJPS is continuing to seek ways to make international experiential learning more accessible for those who may not be able to actually travel. “They were very grateful for this opportunity,” says Dr. Pirani.

Students met with global leaders who are working on the front lines of migrant and refugee concerns in Italy. They also met with and viewed presentations from representatives of two Humanitarian NGOs: Loly Rico from the FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto and Haizae Mariti from the Jesuit Asalli (Centro Astalli) in Rome (Italy), Chapter in Rome of the Jesuit Refugee Service. “Our students are very responsive, very attentive and actively engaged in the classes,” says Dr. Pirani. Students who complete the King’s at Rondine seminar not only come away with a unique intellectual experience; they build a network of professionals in the world of peace-building and conflict resolution and are part of the global family of Rondine graduates. 

The SJPS department is excited to announce that they will be offering their international experiential learning courses in May 2022. “Every year we change themes, depending on contemporary geopolitical events. It is different content every year,” says. Dr. Pirani.

To learn more about SJPS 3211G: Global Networks for Justice, Migration, Borders, Violence and Peace and other experiential learning opportunities through Social Justice and Peace Studies, please contact Dr. Pietro Pirani or Dr. Allyson Larkin.