Affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, Bethel University offers a 34-hour bachelor’s degree in reconciliation studies that includes a mandatory term of study at Cornerstone Christian College in Cape Town, South Africa. At present, the major primarily focuses on racial and cultural reconciliation. With a curriculum drawing from the fields of restorative justice, conflict transformation, religious studies and justice and peace studies, the university says this degree is distinctive in that “its core understanding of reconciliation emerges from a Jesus-centered theological foundation.”
The South Africa term centers around an in-depth study of the reconciliation process that took place there after the apartheid system ended. In South Africa, students enroll in four classes offered by Cornerstone Christian College, plus two additional classes on South African history and culture. Bethel University also offers a 19-hour reconciliation studies minor that does not include the study abroad component.
Dr. Harley Schreck
Dr. Curtiss DeYoung
The Department of Justice and Peace Studies department at the University of St. Thomas places significant emphasis on “engaged learning” and active involvement with “real-life situations of injustice, poverty and social conflict.” Core courses for majoring in justice and peace studies include active nonviolence, conflict resolution and theologies of justice and peace. A summer- or semester-long internship involving peace and justice work is also required. In addition to a general major in justice and peace studies, the department offers three career-oriented concentrations in conflict transformation, public policy analysis and advocacy, or leadership for social justice.
The program “promotes understanding and appreciation of widely diverse ideologies, cultures and world views” while giving particular attention to Catholic teachings on social justice and spirituality. Students are encouraged to pursue opportunities for hands-on study through an urban immersion program in the Twin Cities and/or study overseas in one of several programs (e.g., South Africa, Northern Ireland, Central America) that examine issues of peace and justice.
Emphasis is also placed on preparing graduates to work at a community or grassroots level, by educating students in “active citizenship, conflict resolution and interfaith dialogue.”
Dr. Amy Finnegan