Steve Cohen, Education Professor, PJS Faculty

“Well if all we do is talk about war, then we have policy based on war. I’m really struck by that now because you have actually grown up without there ever being a year of peace. What a thing to think about…We have now managed, our government has managed to have 20 years of war practically with most of the country not thinking about it, noticing it, that’s a horror. That makes war not something extraordinary or out of the normal, it makes war the everyday. I think what we really need more and more now is a way to think about active peacemaking as an alternative to this default…

A Peace and Justice major does do what folks talk about of thinking about the world as it should be but it critiques the world as it is and doesn’t just accept it. I think it is easy to say it has always been this way it has to be this way. Well in fact there hasn’t always been an era with as much war and the technology that makes war, one would think, could be a technology that can prevent war. And preventing it beyond mutually assured destruction… PJS students go out there and continue to work for topics of Peace and Justice and show you can in fact work for this…it really is something that is both doable and important to do, when has it ever been more important to do than now?”


Connor Bryan, History, Class of 2020

“I think that a Peace and Justice Education at Tufts is important. I think it should continue to be supported by the administration given all of the wonderful things that the department has worked towards achieving in the past, and all of the dedicated students and alumni who have been a part of this school with Peace and Justice Studies as a core component of their Tufts Education.”

Melissa Moore, Psychology, Peace and Justice Studies, Class of 2016

“I learned so much through my PJS courses that change the way I view the world every day. It gives you a perspective of justice and helps you see the world and others in a fairer, more equitable way. It makes you angry, patient, understanding, and ready to DO something, all at the same time… The role of the major should be to make sure students are well informed on the issues and equip them with ways in which they can unite and be active, both on campus and off. Many students may not have been activists prior to coming to college, so the PJS major should encourage students to speak up for what is right and get them to do something about it… The college needs to show that it values this major by actually hiring faculty, making more PJS classes, and supporting the PJS students.”

Erin Kelly, Department Chair of Peace and Justice Studies

Peace and Justice Education enables students to understand and proactively to address social conflict and injustice, with the aim of making society more peaceful, inclusive, and just. Students learn to identify and to approach pressing social problems equipped with interdisciplinary knowledge and with skills gained through experiential learning, including practical training in conflict resolution. While peace and justice education is important in any society, the current political climate in the United States makes it especially urgent. Political leaders who monger in fear and pander to hate call upon us to resist them, to be clear about what commitment to justice means, and to organize for political change. “

Taylor Wurts, International Relations and Economics, Class of 2020

“I do think that Peace and Justice Studies is especially relevant at this point in time especially for building understanding and common links between groups… Tufts generally prides itself as an institution that prides itself on its idea of building global citizens. Citizens that are not only engaged civically with domestic politics but who also have a broader sense of the impact and relevance of their actions… I think that Peace and Justice Studies is especially important within that larger conception of a global citizen in order to be able to foster understanding across different cultures, societies, worldviews, especially as oftentimes politics shifts towards politics of division and ‘us v. them’ mentalities.”

Jared Smith, Student Success Advisor at Tufts University, Sociology, Class of 2016

“I think it is extremely valuable and worthwhile given that so much of the system and the way we are socialized essentially marginalizes people’s stories, histories, existences. I think that Peace and Justice is just one small facet of that conversation, entering in from a different angle. My experiences with Peace and Justice Education deal more with education specifically, concepts of restorative justice, working to make a difference in students’ lives…I think that Peace and Justice should be studied at Tufts and I think it depends more on how it is studied than if, because I think that is a given. Of course it should be studied and covered. But where it fits into students’ lives is what I would think largely about.”

Abigail Barton, Peace and Justice Studies and Spanish, Class of 2020

“I want Tufts to recognize that there are people who want to major in PJS and that there are opportunities to build the program if we had more support and resources. I think that it would be great if Tufts could take a stand and say that PJS is still important. I want PJS majors to be more active on campus within social justice spheres, because I often see a little bit of distance between those areas. I think it would be really cool if we could bridge that divide. We also have the opportunity to create new projects and initiatives.

I think that Peace and Justice Studies is such a unique blend of perspectives and methodologies that allows us to look at the world in so many ways. It is so important to learn about what peace and justice looks like in in our own contexts and in others. I think that no matter what somebody does with their lives, peace and justice education can be useful. It fosters reflectiveness, communication, and conflict resolution skills that are really useful. I also think that learning about social justice in a context that reaches beyond just having that knowledge is so necessary. Peace and justice education has the opportunity to translate and apply social justice values to many diverse careers and actions.”

Emma Mitchell-Sparke, Sociology and Pre-Med, Class of 2020

“I took Intro to PJS last year and I thought it was really informative and super helpful in shaping my narrative and how I think about problems both on a smaller scale, like in a day-to-day context like how you negotiate with someone to come to a decision that you both can agree upon and somehow benefits both parties. And on a larger scale… how we can effectively and efficiently tackle broader systems and problems that we are seeing more and more now more than ever in our current political climate. I think taking Intro to PJS has definitely influenced all of my Sociology classes, with that mindset of seeing systems and looking for ways to a solution rather than reasons for division. I also think that in daily life that impacts me more on a subconscious basis. I don’t usually argue with people but if I did, I would think about ways to a solution or in a group project thinking about what could work for everyone and just being able to make those compromises. I think on a daily basis it has really shaped me.”

Tyler Bugden, Law Student, Peace and Justice Studies Major, Class of 2009

“This interdisciplinary focus gives students a unique perspective on catalyzing, framing, and organizing social movements. In era of ever-evolving activism, we need these agents of change more than ever. Whatever you want it to be/whatever fits your skillset. Some may want to document the problem – that is an important role. Some may want to petition the administration for change – that is also an important role. Some may want to set up a forum for reconciliation – that is also an important role. Peace and Justice Studies students understand that solving social problems requires the unique perspectives and unique skillsets of many actors. No role is more important than the other. Peace and Justice Studies students should be required to do a larger final project that engages with the community (i.e. broader impacts), but the school should provide them with funding. This will result in more innovation, but will also bring attention to the major, and Tufts in general.”

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