MAYDAY! Highlights Global Issues

Posted on September 1st, 2009 by

Each year, the MAYDAY! Peace Conference addresses an issue of pressing or long-range concern in the areas of peace or social justice.

Each year, the MAYDAY! Peace Conference addresses an issue of pressing or long-range concern in the areas of peace or social justice.


By Cara Carlson ’08

One day this spring, the Gustavus Adolphus College Marketplace had no bottled water for sale? Did you notice? Did you care? Do you know why this occurred?

It was done intentionally in conjunction with the annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference, “Troubled Water,” held April 30, 2008. The College’s Dining Service was helping to reinforce information regarding the world’s water supply and concerns regarding the future of water and the environment.

Each year a MAYDAY! Peace Conference is held at Gustavus Adolphus College. And, each year the conference addresses an issue of pressing or long-range concern in the areas of peace or social justice.

This year’s conference focused on ongoing processes of globalization that have turned water from an abundant basic human resource to an increasingly scarce and polluted commodity. Examining this emerging crisis through the lens of social justice, the conference speakers and workshops surveyed and analyzed the global plight of water, and proposed practices and policies to ensure clean water for the future.

A one-day event like this can help raise consciousness about peace and justice issues on campus and in the community. It helps to proclaim who we are at Gustavus, a community of seekers for peace and social justice,” said Gregory Mason, professor of English who has been an instrumental member of the MAYDAY! planning committee for more than 20 years.

Gustavus and the MAYDAY! planning committee have chosen a variety of domestic, international, and topical themes over the years. “We have sought both to address different areas of peace and social justice and to educate the campus community about the way diverse areas play into each other in an integral search for social justice,” said Mason, who is retiring from Gustavus at the end of this academic year.

Previous conferences have focused on topics such as the necessity and effectiveness of international sanctions, global perspectives on the arms race, food security, the tension between energy and the environment as a roadblock to peace, and the unfolding crisis of AIDS in Africa, to name a few.

The Gustavus MAYDAY! Peace Conference has been held annually since 1981. By action of the faculty, there is a special class schedule on MAYDAY!, which allows the entire campus community to attend the morning keynote address in Christ Chapel. Workshops and educational sessions fill the rest of the day with calls to action and awareness-raising ideas.

The aim of the MAYDAY! Peace Conference is to encourage awareness on the Gustavus campus regarding these important issues, to provide a campus-wide annual forum for their investigation and discussion, and to encourage active civic engagement on their behalf.

The title—”MAYDAY!”—signifies both the international distress call and a call to action. The event is made possible by Florence and the late Raymond Sponberg of North Mankato, founders and sustainers.

 

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