The Virginia Tech Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention is a student-centered cross-disciplinary undertaking that builds on the academic, cultural, and security initiatives that evolved within the Virginia Tech community after the tragedy of April 16, 2007. Since its inception on July 1, 2008, the Center has adopted three thematic areas:
- The prevention of violence
- Peace studies
- Creation of opportunities for the development of new leaders for this Century
Advance scholarship, and practice violence prevention and peace through engagement with local and global communities.
Foster cross-disciplinary research, education, and development of leadership opportunities that prevent violence, promote peace and advance human security.
To guide program implementation during its formative years the CPSVP will focus on formation of a dynamic student support network responsible for different parts of the campus safety and security plan, i.e., awareness, identification of early distress symptoms, violence prevention, post traumatic recovery/healing process. This work will be led by the student organizations affiliated with the Center.
Research facilitated by the Center will address the complexity of socioeconomic realities of communities with a high proportion of youth at risk. To fulfill this objective, the Center will foster integration of the most current advances in science, engineering, communication and technology into hands-on experiences in K-12 curricula. Students, faculty, staff, and external partners affiliated with the Center, will actively participate in the design and implementation of 3 individual projects, taking advantage of the strength of each targeted community. Working with teachers, school boards, parents, local businesses, and communities, the Center facilitates development of customized approaches to learning.
The CPSVP will advance the scholarship and practice of violence prevention and peace by:
- Providing opportunities for student engagement in prevention of violence and peace building
- Fostering integration of disciplines in the creation of new knowledge and skills
- Ensuring development of engaged leadership for working with youth at risk
Short Term (1-3 years):
- Organize and convene the 2010 Student Symposium for Violence Prevention, entitled Cultivating Peace: An International Symposium for Violence Prevention on the Virginia Tech campus.
- Contribute to the post-traumatic healing process of the victim families and friends, injured students and alumni, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg community, and others affected by the tragedy of April 16, 2007.
- Facilitate formation of a Students for Non-Violence (SNV) undergraduate/graduate student club affiliated with the Center. (completed).
- Contribute (jointly with the Students for Non-Violence club) to the campus safety and security initiatives via creation of a Students’ Support Network.
- Participate in the development and implementation of an undergraduate minor area of study in Violence Prevention and Peace Studies, and generate funds for faculty instruction, advising and coordinating the minor.
- Lead a formation of an inter-institutional consortium developing post graduate certificate in Transformative Leadership.
- Establish a network of collaborators to secure competitive funding for the implementation of cross-disciplinary hands-on experiences in K-12 curricula at schools with high proportion of youth at risk.
- Organize and contribute to workshops, seminars, conferences, and cross-disciplinary research and outreach projects related to prevention of violence, peace and justice.
- Recruit and appoint an External Advisory Council comprised of professionals with expertise in youth at risk and prevention of violence.
- Initiate web-based fundraising for the Center and its program.
- Develop a strategic plan for the medium- and long-term objectives of the Center.
Medium term (4-8 years):
- Review and update strategic plan.
- Continue fostering direct participation of students in the campus safety programs.
- Work with teachers, school boards, parents, local businesses and communities to facilitate transformation of the role of school in the lives of youth by developing customized approaches to the learning style of each child/adolescent.
- Equip Virginia Tech students with the knowledge and skills to serve as resource personnel, role models, and leaders in the implementation of the hands-on customized learning opportunities for youth at risk.
- Develop and test a model approach to dealing with youth at risk based on the integration of local resources.
- Continue organizing and participating in workshops, seminars and conferences related to violence prevention, peace and justice.
- Generate $5 million in donations and endowments to establish five Endowed Fellowships for Virginia Tech students to conduct research on youth at risk and prevention of violence.
Long term (9-14 years):
- Review and update strategic plan.
- Generate $20 million in endowments and donations to expand the Center’s scope of operation.
- Expand curricular offerings and implement an undergraduate major in Violence Prevention, Peace, Justice and Development.
- Establish 32 Endowed Fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students, trained in a variety of disciplines, who will pursue research that promote hands-on interdisciplinary solutions relevant to the prevention of violence, promotion of peace and the development of leadership skills toward improving the socio-economic transformation of rural and semi-rural communities.