Reflecting Back on the 30th MAYDAY! Peace Conference

Posted on May 5th, 2010 by

Hundreds of people of varying ages gathered to “Imagine Peace” at Gustavus Adolphus College’s 30th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference on April 28, 2010. Each spring, the conference seeks to stimulate discussion and action on a variety of global social justice and peace-related issues through several events including keynote speakers, workshops, and contests.

Speaking to a large and captive audience in Christ Chapel, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, assistant professor of justice and peace studies at the University of Saint Thomas, delivered the keynote address, “The Peace Imperative: Our Great Challenge and Opportunity to Create a More Peaceful World.” In his 2010 address, he called on attendees, especially the current generation, to make an effort to create and sustain peace in the world when much of our attention is drawn to violence that demands our resources. He recognized issues of militarization and global warming and their possible ramifications on the future.

Conference attendees also had the opportunity to create and sustain peace in an interactive manner during the World PeaceGame simulation workshop led by Medard Gabel from BigPictureSmallWorld Inc. In teams of countries, political groups, unions, and news organizations, participants used their imagination to communicate, collaborate, solve problems, and set goals to bring peace to a region of the world.

The MAYDAY! Oratory Contest was revived after a 15-year hiatus. Facilitated by Gustavus’s Kris Kracht, award-winning forensics coach and instructor of communication studies, three rounds of speeches were held throughout the day where senior high school students provided their insight into the question, “How would you create, nurture, and preserve peace in your community?” The oratory contest winner earned a $750 prize.

The conference also included a resource center where several representatives from non-profit, peace-focused organizations provided education on a variety of peace and social justice issues. A wall display, “The Long and Winding Road: MAYDAY! at 30,” hung in the hallway of the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center to visually display the ever-changing history of MAYDAY! Peace Conferences. Photographs and descriptions of past conferences illustrated the broad and diverse conference themes and symbolized the long and winding road to sustaining peace.

The annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference was established at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1981. Past conferences included topics of arms control, political policies relating to peace, food security, violence in communities, immigration, energy and global water issues. The conference was founded and is sustained by Florence and the late Raymond Sponberg of North Mankato, MN.

Here is a video of highlights from this year’s MAYDAY! Peace Conference:

This story and video were put together by Jaimie Farel ’10, an intern in the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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