From the Editors

By Wim Laven

This second issue of the new Peace Chronicle magazine aims to continue the trend of transformation from newsletter to magazine with another timely theme: dignity. It is the editorial team’s effort to both follow up on and move beyond the ugly events—hate crimes and violence—that motivated the first issue. In this issue, we showcase positive responses to conflict and collective and individual efforts to remain strong and push forward. We hope the reader finds balance between the honest appraisal of persistent adversity and the hope and enthusiasm inspired by successes both big and small.

The theme of dignity is also appropriate for the winter season as part of the larger metaphor of renewal and the desire to start the year with robust reminders of positive engagements around the world. For a variety of reasons, this was a challenging undertaking. Many authors expressed being overwhelmed with workloads, while others expressed the challenge presented by the speed of developments; how, for example, could one write a good piece about dignity and the death penalty—with specific cases as examples—without the risk of it reading as tone deaf if it came to print following the execution of a profiled defendant? The answers to what initially appeared a simple and positive question—How does dignity fit into your work?—still wound up incorporating considerable description of ongoing struggles and challenges. Knowing that the same complexity will likely apply again, we welcome submissions for our next issue, on Decolonization.

In this issue, dignity is covered in a variety of contexts. We look at mandatory reporting of sexual assault in colleges and universities and its relationship to survivor dignity. Also in the context of higher education, we assess dignity in student services, with a focus on addressing the needs of undocumented students. We also include a looks at dignity and migration at the U.S. border as well as the fundamental indignity embedded in colonization and the experience of colonized people. Another article reflects on the theme of dignity in Gandhi’s philosophy. Amanda Byron’s poem muses, “ [w]hat can we do when dignity falls out of fashion?” and Izzeddin Hawamda’s poems examine a childhood in West Bank and the dream of returning to home.

These pieces are all incredibly personal and passionate. They help us explore nuances in current events that are frequently overlooked, and provide thick descriptions challenging and promoting themes of peace and justice. The overarching presentation argues the central role of dignity in our commitments and work.

I would like to acknowledge the editorial privilege I enjoyed in this process. It was a special bonus to have the chance to highlight the important work of my sister, Anna Laven, as she—like so many administrators—does truly valuable work that is frequently unrecognized, if not invisible. Her article presents a reality of the violence inflicted by the structure of higher education, and one way it is being addressed. I hope you all appreciate this motivation and present the Peace Chronicle team with more opportunities to include marginalized voices and important cases, dilemmas, and examples for our future issues.

Speaking for the Peace Chronicle team and our larger Peace and Justice Studies Association, I hope we can all find and foster increased dignity in 2020.

In Peace,

Wim Laven