Bringing a Vision of Peace to a Divided World: Highlights From Prof. Andrea Bartoli's Recent Campus Visit

February 02, 2024
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Dr. Bartoli rests his hand on his chin as he listens in during a class at Soka University of America

In a time of intense division and partisanship, the path toward peace can seem daunting. For Prof. Andrea Bartoli, however, “Peace is not only possible: it makes the future possible.”

Bartoli, SIGS executive adviser, SUA Board of Trustees member, and president of the Sant’Egidio Foundation for Peace and Dialogue, emphasized the relational aspect of peace throughout his campus visit in January, noting that profound respect for others enables us to envision futures that are unthinkable when trying to resolve conflict from a place of hostility.

In his introduction of Bartoli for his University Talk on Jan. 8, Prof. Tetsushi Ogata highlighted his resolute action as a practitioner of peace with many years of experience on the frontlines of conflict resolution. He also reiterated the questions guiding the evening’s talk: How do we approach a world engulfed with so much violence and division, and how can dialogue and conflict resolution contribute to peace?

Bartoli set the warm but intellectually rigorous tone of his talk upfront, noting it would not be a strictly academic presentation, but rather the sharing of an old friend who has been thinking about conflict resolution for years.

Andrea Bartoli gestures with both arms during his presentation about conflict resolution

Bartoli also attended several SIGS meetings and participated in Prof. Ogata’s Learning Cluster on PreK-12 Global Citizenship Education, where he was struck by the active participation of each student and Ogata’s encouragement that they teach their classmates what they were learning.

“They were terrific!” Bartoli said. “All were very well prepared, and they engaged the texts with curiosity and questions. We all sought new and useful insights. I was touched by the caring and attentive attitude of the classmates.”

This same attitude was evident in Bartoli’s creative, dialogical engagement with each student he came in contact with. Kenta Okazaki ’24, who plans to study conflict resolution in graduate school, was moved by Bartoli’s cheerfulness despite being immersed firsthand in many conflicts and harsh realities around the world. Based on these varied experiences, Bartoli told Okazaki that even though wars always seem dire and never-ending, we can always find and create hope.

“Thanks to this dialogue with Dr. Bartoli,” Okazaki said, “I feel more hopeful and motivated to engage in conflict resolution just as I am in the future.”