Peace-ing together communities

Conference addresses systems of oppression


The fifth annual San Diego Peace Building Conference was at the City College Career Technology Center April 14.

This year’s theme was “Creating Peace by Addressing Systems of Oppression.”

The main focus of the event was to help get people involved in making a difference and the variety of organizations and workshops that were present were able to do just that.

Through a series of workshops, the conference was able to emphasize the goal of creating peace throughout the world.

The workshop included a number of discussions on different issues. Topics including solutions to police oppression, the Millionaire’s Tax, student activism and oppression in the workplace, among others.
Global issues like those in Uganda, Palestine, and Chiapas were also discussed.

Aside from workshops, the peace conference featured entertainment throughout the day to keep the theme of peace going.

The Acholi Traditional Dancers of San Diego, a group of young girls and women demonstrating the traditional dance of the Acholi tribe from Uganda, danced their way through the entrance to a crowd filled with applause.
Jon Kanis, a 47-year-old spiritualist, musician, producer, composer, disc jockey, artist and writer performed an acoustic set of songs that incorporated a theme of various social issues. One of those songs was John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero.”

Aside from an emphasis on the arts, a farm tour took place at the Seeds at City urban farm in which Paul Maschka, one of City’s farm instructors, discussed the relationship between farming and peace.

Josh Fattal, one of the three American hikers arrested in July 2009 by Iranian border guards and charged with espionage, was the keynote speaker of the event. During the hour and a half discussion, he shared his views on oppression through his experience of imprisonment in Iran.

Hostel organizations were also available at the event.

“The biggest thing City College students can get out of this is really learning and meeting and connecting with other people,” said Andrea Carter, a marketing and communication manager for San Diego Hostels.

“Whether it’s speakers or nonprofit organizations or community group members, connecting with those people, hearing what other people are doing, it’s a learning that just doesn’t take place in the classroom always.”

The conference sponsor, Hostelling International USA, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting international understanding of the world and its people through their hostels.

They provide an environment that works as a home away from home for those travelling from other countries and offer overnight accommodations for travellers at affordable prices.

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