This past Sunday, San Diego residents, students, faculty and activists joined together at San Diego City College for the Conference for Peace Education and Activism.
The day was aimed at spreading the message of peace and activism through study and volunteer opportunities, along with personal stories and experiences.
Dr. Stephen Bouscaren, chair of the department of Behavioral Sciences, and Jelena Cingel, M.A., Peace and Justice, organized the event, along with student organizers.
The day consisted of presentations from various local and international organizations including Amnesty International, Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, Survivors of Torture, Human Rights Watch, Hostelling International, United Nations Association San Diego, Art Miles, Peace Corps, and the National Conflict Resolution Center.
Among the organizations present, one of SDCC’s Peace Study professors, Katie Zanoni, and a representative of USD’s Institute for Peace and Justice, Karla Alzarez, discussed their respective programs and future goals.
With the establishment of the Peace Studies program here at City College last fall, Dr. Bouscaren wanted to put on a conference to spread awareness about the program; he and Cingel plan to put on many more conferences in the coming years.
Azim Khamisa, author and inspirational speaker, was the keynote speaker at the conference.
After a 14-year-old gang member murdered his 20-year-old son Tariq while he was delivering pizzas in 1995, Khamisa decided to forgive his son’s murderer.
Khamisa began speaking out against youth violence in schools and at other events, and has written three books detailing his journey to forgiveness and his crusade to stop violence from devastating the lives of others.
In the 14 years since his son’s death, Khamisa founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and the Constant and Never Ending Improvement program. He has offered his son’s murderer a job working for him, hoping they can travel and speak to youth together, advocating for change.