Peace Monuments at Universities & CollegesBy Edward W. Lollis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monuments may lack the depth of the written word and of other forms of communication, but they are permanent and highly visible. They dot our landscapes, and they cry out to passers-by for interpretation.
I've been trying to interest PJSA members in peace monuments.1 I find them fascinating as evidence of ways in which our predecessors sought to popularize and disseminate their respect for peace. And I think that every peace monument is a ready-made site for ongoing communi-cation between teachers and students and with the general public.
My website (http://peace.maripo.com) illustrates 3,000 or more peace monuments in many different times and places. In 2011, I created a subset of 156 peace monuments on 127 university and college campuses and used the PJSA listserv to invite readers to identify additional examples. With their help, my campus monuments web page (http://peace.maripo.com/p_univs.htm) now illustrates 210 different peace monuments on 151 campuses, and I think that the number is now sufficiently large to draw some preliminary conclusions.2
-- First, campus peace monuments are widely but unevenly distributed. This reflects what I have learned about peace monuments in general. Most monuments are the result of local initiative and are thus subject to extreme variation among the ideas of sponsors in different times and places, not to mention the availability of public land and the money of motivated benefactors.
-- Second, peace monuments exist on campuses in at least 18 different countries: Austria, Brazil, Canada (4), China (2), Columbia, Congo, Costa Rica (3), Germany (4), Israel (2), Japan (3), Libya, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (3) and United States (156). The US share is very large since the data were collected in the USA but also because the impulse to create peace monuments seems to be more widespread here than abroad. At least that's my impression.
-- Third, like peace monuments in general, campus monuments represent many of the different meanings of peace. But they are almost always secular and tend to represent idealized and abstract meanings. Campus monuments rarely represent specific peace events, such as a peace treaty or the end of a given war. Here are some of the recurring themes of campus monuments: Anti-War & Pacifism (7), Children, End of War or Conflict (5), Ethics of Peace, Hiroshima & Nagasaki (4), Individual Peacemakers (52), International Friendship (12), Lion & Lamb (2), Multiple Peacemakers (5), Native Americans (3), Peace Art (2), Peace Heroism (7), Peace Idealism (25), Peace Institutions (7), Peace Museums (4), Peace Treaties (3), Non-Violence (3), Reconciliation (7), Regional Unity, Swords Into Plowshares, United Nations (3), Women, World Peace (2), World Peace Prayer on Peace Poles (36+), and 9/11.
-- As noted in the previous paragraph, at least 52 campus monuments honor individual peace-makers (many of whom are local heroes, i.e. lived or worked nearby): Jane Addams, Hannah Arendt, Eliza Evans Baker, Ralph Bunch (2), Nicholas Murry Butler, Jimmy Carter, Edith Cavell, Cesar Chavez (2), Elihu Burritt, Winston Churchill, Mary Dyer, J. William Fulbright (4), Mahatma Gandhi (3), George Fox, Edwin Ginn, Isaac & Sarah Harvey, Benito Juarez, Martin Luther King Jr. (5), Abraham Lincoln (2), George C. Marshall, Gladys Muir (3), A.J. Muste, Linus Pauling, Peace Pilgrim, Alexander Pushkin, John Rabe, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Edmund L. Rice, Bert Roling, Elihu Root, Edward Said, Sadako Sasaki, Sophia & Hans Scholl, Sojourner Truth (2), Dalton Trumbo, Harriet Tubman, Carl von Ossietzky, and Walt Whitman.
-- Lastly, campus peace monuments come in a wide variety of physical forms: Bells (4), Busts (3), Centers (4), Chapels (2), Colleges or Universities (9), Dormitories (4), Fountains (3), Globe, Grave, Halls (3), Historic Sites (2), Libraries (4), Markers (2), Museums (9), Murals (7), Paintings (4), Peace Gardens (11), Peace Parks (4), Peace Poles (36+), Plaques (2), Plazas (2), Rooms or Alcoves (2), Sculptures & Memorials (46), Trees (6), Statues (14), Walk, and Walls (4).
In my opinion, it's remarkable that campuses have so many expensive peace constructions (e.g. fountains, museums, sculptures, memorials, and statues) and so few monuments which are less expensive and therefore easier to create (e.g. peace gardens, so-called peace parks, peace trees, and renamed buildings and avenues). Of course, the data shown here largely depend on Google's searches of English language websites and therefore no doubt under report foreign campuses and smallest monuments, e.g. peace poles.3
In compiling these statistics, I have employed very loose working definitions of peace, peace-maker, and peace monument. I won't argue with others who may choose to use more or less restrictive criteria. You may learn more about any monument mentioned here by visiting my website http://peace.maripo.com.
In my view, it is important to identify peace monuments on university and college campuses (and elsewhere) in order that we, our students, and the public can become more aware of them, so that we can visit and discuss them, and so that we might use them to help popularize and disseminate the culture of peace that we are all striving to attain.
1 See my three previous articles in issues of "The Peace Chronicle" for Winter 2009-2010, Spring-Summer 2010, and Winter 2010-2011. return
2 Numbers in this article are accurate but indicative. Their sums may not be the same in all cases due to imprecise definitions and occasional double counting. return
3 The peace pole and the World Peace Prayer ("May Peace Prevail on Earth") were created in 1955 by Japanese philosopher Masahisa Goi [1916-1980]. Today, the prayer is universally known and imprinted in multiple languages on tens of thousands of peace poles in all parts of the world. Peace poles are a very economical way to create a peace monument and to connect to like-minded people everywhere. return
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