2022 Award Winners

Featured co-sponsor, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (University of Notre Dame)


Awardees will be honored at PJSA’s annual conference (October 13-16, 2022) and receive a $300 travel stipend to attend the conference, a waived registration fee for the conference, and a 2-year membership to PJSA!

Have any questions? Reach out to Deeb Kitchen, PJSA’s Student Awards Chair, PJSA Board @ dpkitchen@marian.edu.


2022 Best Undergraduate Thesis of the Year Award Winner: Tristan Alston
Swarthmore College, Peace and Conflict Studies

Lessons of Black Armed Resistance: White Violence, Black Subjectivity, and the Forceful Pursuit of Revolutionary Change”

Throughout U.S. history, Black men and women have taken up arms not only to defend themselves and their communities against the violent forces of white supremacy, but also to pursue a more just and inclusive society, complicating claims that nonviolence and armed self-defense are incompatible. Drawing on a range of secondary sources, from seminal texts in the historiography of slavery to foundational civil resistance theory, I trace the histories of armed resistance in Black communities, noting its basic practical functions and revealing its aspirational and imaginative dimensions—centering not just Black subjects, but Black subjectivity. Use of arms has been both functional and ideological, preserving, empowering, and transforming African American communities. Illuminating the historical arc and evolution of Black (armed) resistance enhances our understanding of white supremacy by exposing the primacy of white violence and advancing knowledge about collective action that has been taken to challenge it. Moreover, discourse around such resistance reveals Black aspirations and visions of the future that might continue to inform organized resistance today. Ultimately, the question is not whether armed resistance is the most righteous or most effective tool to pursue racial justice. Strategic nonviolent action has often been, and continues to be, the predominant form of organized resistance in the long struggle for liberation. Rather, the question is what we might learn about effective resistance against white supremacy and violence today by exploring histories of armed resistance within African American communities.

Click here to read the thesis!

2022 Best Graduate Thesis of the Year Award Winner: Rebekah Hanson

Iowa State University, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Food as grounds for peacebuilding: Conceptualizing a food peace framework for the field of nutrition and dietetics

The prevalence of food insecurity with the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted disparities and fragilities within the United States and global food systems. The U.S., though not wrought with violent outbreaks of conflict, has faced political tensions and social grievances that limit food security and peace within the food system. The relationship between food and peace is largely defined as the lack of violent conflict in association with food security. The food peacebuilding approach represents a paradigm shift that integrates food and peace to foster right and just relationships with self, others, and the Earth for sustainable, resilient, and equitable food systems. This grounded theory, qualitative study conducted as virtual, pre-interview surveys and semi-structured individual interviews, elicited the perceptions and understandings from a purposive sample of registered dietitians working within the U.S. food system. It also sought to build and validate a food peace framework to evaluate the role of food in the context of peace.

Participants included registered dietitians working within the food system from twelve states and one district of the United States (Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C.). Participants (n=22) completed an online pre-survey managed through Qualtrics™, then participated in a semi-structured interview via Cisco Webex. Grounded theory iterative coding was performed in three phases for theoretical integration and analysis: initial coding, focused coding, and theoretical coding. Thematic coding analysis with NVivo (ver12.0) was used to organize and interpret data. Findings revealed important patterns pertaining to perceptions of peace, food and peacebuilding, and implications of a food peacebuilding framework.

Perceptions of peace identified registered dietitians’ overall perceptions of peace and specific recognition of peace within the context of the U.S. food system. Five primary categories x of perceptions of peace emerged including (1) access to resources; (2) characteristics of peace; (3) conflict and control; (4) levels of peace; (5) values of peace. Four primary categories recognizing peace in the context of the U.S. food system emerged including (1) barriers to peace; (2) conflict in the U.S. food system; (3) values in systems; (4) new understandings of peacebuilding in the U.S. food system. Food and peacebuilding identified registered dietitians’ views on specific words that characterized peacebuilding in the context of food and specific examples of peacebuilding in the U.S. food system. Food peacebuilding characteristics were represented as word frequencies largely represented as relationships, access, and respect. Two categories of peacebuilding pathways emerged including (1) applications; (2) groups. Implications of a food peacebuilding framework identified registered dietitians’ responses on the use of a food peacebuilding framework in practice. Four categories of implications of a food peacebuilding framework emerged including: (1) education and research communities; (2) health and nutrition approaches; (3) local organizations and programming; (4) policy.

These results can inform the field of nutrition and dietetics on the current perceptions of peace and understandings of food and peacebuilding of registered dietitians, along with the implications of a food peacebuilding framework. The new understandings from registered dietitian nutritionists around food peace incentivize a call for greater awareness, education, and research on peacebuilding for the field of nutrition and dietetics. These results necessitate a paradigm shift that integrates food and peace as it pertains to nutrition, health, and the broader U.S. food system in conjunction with food justice and food sovereignty movements. In addition, results can be utilized to further conceptualize a food peacebuilding framework and apply concrete food peacebuilding pathways for change.

Click here to read the thesis!

2022 Peace Scholar Award Winner: Laura Finley

Barry University, Sociology and Criminology

Laura Finley has served as the co-chair of the PJSA for many years while working as a Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Barry University in Miami, Florida. She is also author, co-author or editor of more than thirty books and numerous book chapters and journal articles. In addition, Dr. Finley is actively involved in a number of peace, justice and human rights groups. She is a board member of The Humanity Project and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Prior to being elected co-chair, Dr. Finley was Publications Chair for PJSA. She also coordinates PJSA’s Speaker’s Bureau.

2022 Next Generation Peacemaker Award Winner: Bryson Davis

Bryson Davis is a Husband. Father. Pastor. CEO. Instructor. Learner. Bryson wears many hats that have afforded him rich experiences in some of the most challenging and beautiful places around the world. From his own upbringing in poverty to winning college championships, Bryson hopes his story will encourage and inspire others to embody stories of solidarity, liberation, and grace. You can learn about Bryson’s background more here.

2022 Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Ethelbert Miller

Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of two memoirs and several books of poetry including The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his work. Miller’s poetry has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. For 17 years he served as the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. Miller is a two-time Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel. He holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Emory and Henry College and has taught at several universities.

Miller is host of the weekly WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV which received a 2020 Telly Award.  Miller was inducted into the 2015 Washington DC Hall of Fame and awarded the 2016 AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the 2016 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for DistinguishedHonor. In 2018, he was inducted into Gamma Xi Phi and appointed as an ambassador for the Authors Guild. Most recently, Miller was given a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and a congressional award from Congressman Jamie Raskin in recognition of his literary activism. Miller serves as a board member for the DC Collaborative for Humanities and Education, The Inner Loop, and Folger Shakespeare Poetry. He was awarded the 2019 Literary Award for poetry by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for his book If God Invented Baseball. Miller’s latest book is When Your Wife Has Tommy John Surgery and Other Baseball Stories, published by City Point Press.

2022 Social Courage Award Winner: Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter (AADVS)

The community of Alliance responded to the issue of domestic violence by creating the Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter (AADVS) which was founded in 1979 as P.A.C.E. – Project for Assisting in Crisis Emergence. What started as a grass roots, all-volunteer effort by local citizens concerned about the problem of domestic violence in Alliance and the surrounding area has grown tremendously since its inception 42 years ago. P.A.C.E. became incorporated in 1979, received 501(c)(3) status in 1981 and changed its name to do business as the AADVS shortly after.

The mission of the AADVS is to empower and assist survivors of verbal, emotional, financial, sexual, and physical abuse by providing education, resources, emergency shelter and transitional support services. The AADVS values the life of each person affected by abuse regardless of age, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability/ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression (real or perceived), marital status, class, politics, religion/spirituality, veteran status, educational level, genetic information (and other protected statuses). AADVS believes that all abuse is unacceptable. The AADVS envisions a community wide collaboration focused on breaking the cycle of abuse, reduction and prevention of abuse by educating individuals and the community, and a secure, supportive home environment to safely guide survivors toward a better future.