MAYDAY! 2022: Individual Peacebuilders, Global ResultsGustavus Adolphus College will hold its annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference, Growing Peacebuilders, on Wednesday, April 27.
Posted on April 25th, 2022 by

Gustavus Adolphus College will hold its annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference, Growing Peacebuilders, on Wednesday, April 27. The day’s events will be free and open to the public, and the morning keynote will be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person.

Maya Soetoro

This year’s topic, Growing Peacebuilders, focuses explicitly on the individual. Maya Soetoro and Kerrie Urosevich ’93, this year’s speakers, co-founded the organization Ceeds of Peace, whose mission to raise peacebuilding leaders identifies closely with that of MAYDAY! Peace Conference.

Both Urosevich and Soetoro have taught courses through the University of Hawai’i in peace and conflict resolution. Together, they discovered a local demand for learning about peacebuilding, and as a result, they started Ceeds of Peace to provide members of the community with tools and inspiration for making peace. From war to political polarization to climate change, the women believe that the world needs peacebuilders now more than ever. In addition to leading Ceeds of Peace, Soetoro serves as a consultant for the Obama Foundation, an organization founded by her half-brother Barack Obama. Urosevich is a Gustavus alumna of the class of 1993.

“I hope people will take away a few nuggets that inspire or challenge them to think differently about the world,” said Barb Larson Taylor ’93, associate vice president of marketing and communication and a driving force behind the organization of MAYDAY! Peace Conference.

“This year’s conference intends to answer questions such as: Where in your world do you want to make a difference? What are you most passionate about or where do you see a need, and where do you fit into making a positive change?” Larson Taylor explained. Through lectures and workshops, attendees will learn how they can get involved, build resilience, and contribute to a more peaceful world.

Kerrie Urosevich ’93

Soetoro recently had an Earth Day op-ed published in USA Today through her work with another nonprofit, the Institute for Climate and Peace.

“Historically, peace has been too often confused with the topic of security and defined simply as an absence of war and violent conflict, otherwise known as ‘negative peace.’ However, there is another type of peace: ‘positive peace,’ which means the presence of active systems and processes that allow human potential to flourish,” Soetoro wrote with co-authors Kealoha Fox and Zelda Keller.

Founded by the late Florence and Raymond Sponberg in 1981, MAYDAY! has educated the Gustavus community about issues related to peace, human rights, and social justice, with the goal of inspiring attendees to take action toward peacebuilding within their own communities.

Over the years, the conference has tackled many topics, from global conflicts to domestic crises, but always with a central focus on peacebuilding work. Previous topics include government power in the age of information, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and the Vietnam War. Even when the conference centers on past events, the conference discusses how such events still influence our world today.

“Ultimately, the hope for MAYDAY! is to inspire attendees to take action, creating a foundation of peacebuilding that they can continue to build upon as they journey through life,” added Larson Taylor.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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