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This past week, the residents and staff of Miller Hall held a dedication ceremony for a Peace Pole, a monument that sits outside the dorm bearing the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Arabic. The message behind the Peace Poll certainly speaks volumes and represents a message that every member of the University of Louisville community should hold in high regard.
As ongoing war activity, political hostility and cultural divides continue to plague the American media, it seems as though the five-letter word we call “peace” is turning into a far-fetched idea.
Symbols meant to unite groups of people through a common desire for peace may seem small in the big scheme of things, but these small steps will surely add up, allowing an important message to be heard.
“The tangible Peace Pole is a symbol for the enduring interest in peace,” said Al Herring, a representative for the Ali Institute for Peace and Justice, and former U of L staff member. “Miller Hall and leadership here has it right. If we are going to talk about peace, it starts here.”
Currently, U of L hosts several diversity events and club memberships for students. These ongoing efforts to promote cultural awareness should be applauded as the beginning stages of promoting peace across race lines. After all, the university is the last place students can learn about peace and tolerance before going out into the real world. Perhaps if these values weren’t already instilled at home or in school, a student can manage to find them while at the university.
Moreover, the erection of The Peace Pole goes on to make a statement about what it means to be educated. The university’s essential function is to train its students to be some of the most productive and valuable members of society.
Emphasizing the value of peace among mankind is part of this role. The model set by the staff and students in Miller Hall is something that all of us at U of L – and other schools, too – should strive to mimic. Without a desire for peace, our years as students are overshadowed by ignorance. One cannot truly understand the value of cultural awareness until they are educated about it. If anything, the pole should also serve as a reminder that students should take the initiative to educate themselves about peoples of the world.
So, next time you walk by Miller Hall, take a look at the Peace Pole and remember that peace starts with people. This especially applies to students who will serve as the leaders of tomorrow.
Whether we face issues of globalization or immigration in the future, a healthy respect for diversity will make these transitions ones that unite instead of divide.
It is unlikely that global conflict will end tomorrow, but if we all adopt a more tolerant mentality, it will not only better our campus but will improve our future.