College to hold 30th edition of Westheimer Peace Symposium virtually


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WILMINGTON — Wilmington College’s Westheimer Peace Symposium has always prided itself as being international in its scope of presenters, topics and concerns. This fall, the 30th annual event will be available for a global audience with exclusively online programming Oct. 1 and 2.

Given the uncertainty over safety protocol and travel restrictions regarding COVID-19 pandemic, the College’s milestone 30th annual Westheimer Peace Symposium will be held virtually while highlighting the theme “Peace and the Nature of War.”

The Symposium will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 6 and 9, 1945, in conjunction with WC’s Peace Resource Center, which houses an extensive, internationally recognized archive of atomic bombing materials.

Keynote speakers will feature Susi Snyder, managing director for Don’t Bank on the Bomb, a collaboration between PAX and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Dr. Carlos Umana, president, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Costa Rica. Ten additional experts from across the country, as well as Wilmington College, will serve to facilitate a variety of workshops and panels related to nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament.

In addition, the Westheimer Peace Symposium and the Peace Resource Center are working with Dr. Brianna Matzke, assistant professor of music, to hold virtual performances and exhibits by seven artists, writers and composers from across the United States who have been participating in the “Response Project.” These individuals will utilize archival materials from the Peace Resource Center to create an original works commemorating the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings.

The Westheimer Peace Symposium was established in 1991 after philanthropists Charles and May Westheimer endowed an annual lecture series to reflect the Quaker commitment to peace making, social justice, humanitarian service and respect for all persons. Since then, the annual Symposium has brought together national and international speakers to address peace, society and the environment during daylong conversations with the College, community and guests.

A standing committee oversees the events.

The four rotating general themes for the Symposium include: Peace and the Nature of War, Peace and the Environment, Peace and Social Justice, and Peace and Nonviolence. Each year the Westheimer Peace Symposium Committee invites nationally and internationally known speakers and experts who can address the key theme from a variety of perspectives: personal stories, scholarly studies and practical action at the local, national and international levels.

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