OSU Peace Studies recognizes those OSU students who are using their knowledge and skills from Peace Studies courses to change the world. Meet some of our recent Peace Scholars:
Cody Donahue '05
Cody Donahue works on monitoring and evaluation of social norms change programs in the Child Protection Section at UNICEF New York. Prior to that, Cody was Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning at Tostan International, working for 6 years in Senegal, Guinea, Washington DC focusing on evaluation, strategic partnerships and resource mobilization. Cody also serves as Secretary of Alliance Guinea, a NGO created to advocate for democracy and justice in Guinea. He serves on the Board of Directors of Tostan France and Taaru Askan, a Community-Powered Waste Management Organization. Cody holds a Master of Arts from SIT Graduate Institute in Sustainable Development, in addition to BAs in Political Science and International Studies from Oregon State University.
What did the Peace Studies Program mean to me?
Since graduating from OSU in 2005, I have consistently made use of the skills and knowledge I developed by participating in the OSU Peace Studies Program to advance my work in the field of international sustainable development. From my roles at NGOs in Africa to my current work with UNICEF headquarters in New York, I have relied on peace studies competencies such as critical analysis of development and social issues from a holistic and systems-based perspective.
I’ve found that it is very important to link all work on social change back to its implications for human peace and human security—whether it be in conflict context in Somalia or a stable democracy like Mali. Most essential have been the negotiation skills I learned through the program: from working with donors to maximizing partnerships, from collaborating with government counterparts to ensuring programs are designed with the most successful strategies, the negotiation techniques I learned in the Peace Studies Program have made me a more effective leader and activist.
Joel Southall '11
As I found myself drawn toward philosophy of nonviolence during my studies at Oregon State University, the Peace Studies program allowed me to explore coursework geared to this topic. Focusing on Ethnic Studies and Political Science within the Peace Studies program, I developed a more concrete understanding of issues, such as sustainability, globalization, and race relations, which are crucial to creating a more peaceful world.
I currently work as a co-editor and contributor for a local weekly publication, The Corvallis Weekly Independent, which is focused on promoting community and sustainability through promotion of local business, local culture, and local events. Along these lines, I divide my efforts between editing the work of other contributors and using my studies in philosophy to write my own articles related to promoting positive local mindsets. I think the goals pursued by The Corvallis Weekly Independent are vitally important to spreading peace in our world. Community is the antidote for many of the problems that stand in the way of a peaceful world.
I plan to eventually continue my study of philosophy, particularly in the area of peace and justice as it relates to critical race theory and especially to finding alternatives to so-called Western models of thought. In many ways, Peace Studies has provided me with a clear understanding of what I want to do to help our world and the path I would like to take professionally. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in making the world a better place.
Ylai Martinez '12
Ylai is a Sociology major who graduated in 2012.
I first considered taking PAX courses after taking Dr. Orosco’s class on Mexican-Americans and The Law, and I ended up wanting to register for more classes that gave me the same type of learning experience. Hoping to work as an immigration lawyer, I wanted to broaden my knowledge on social justice issues and, in particular, gain a deeper understanding of what can be done to resolve conflict concerning ethnic minorities. Much of what I have learned from PAX courses - including movements of nonviolent direct action, the social structures that encourage peace and violence, how we are affected by harmful and potentially violent worldviews, or even just the paradox of how simple and yet complicated all of this can be – has been more than just a rich learning experience. This has given me a deeper, clearer understanding of my place in the world in the context of peace building and social justice. I have stronger faith in my personal cause of standing up for immigrant rights knowing that I am in solidarity with others that are also working for a better world.
Zachary Dunn '12
B.S. Ecological Engineering, Peace Studies Certificate.
Graduation: June 2012
Master's of Public Policy and Laurel's Scholarship recipient. Expected graduation: June 2014.
I came to OSU to pursue a degree in Engineering. However, college quickly become much more to me than simply a means to a degree. I started asking myself questions about my responsibility to society and what kind of impact I would like to make in the world. The Peace Studies program helped me to clarify these questions and to begin to seek answers. As an engineer, I see myself as a problem solver. Peace Studies has prompted me to think more broadly by asking the question: what problems need to be solved. This has led to the study of issues such as globalization, sustainability, and global justice. As a privileged member of society, I believe it is my responsibility to take on such issues and develop effective solutions.
For over two years now, I have utilized my skills as an engineer and the lessons I learned from Peace Studies as a member of Engineers Without Borders. Through this organization, I have had the opportunity to travel abroad and work on a water accessibility project in Kenya. The field of Peace Studies, concerned with issue such as global justice, has helped me to put this work in perspective. It has served as the foundation upon with I have developed a conceptual model of the world and how I would like to develop a professional career. I highly recommend the Peace Studies program to anyone who seeks to make a positive change in the world.