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Lehman College graduates and one current student have been selected to attend a global conference in Hiroshima, Japan.

Lehman College Co-Sponsors Conference in Hiroshima to Help Build a 'Culture of Peace'

Three 2006 Lehman College graduates and one current student have been selected to attend a global conference in Hiroshima, Japan from August 31 to September 3 entitled "Building a Just and Sustainable Peace." Lehman College has joined with a coalition of international institutions and organizations to sponsor this conference, which seeks to galvanize support for improving education, health, the environment and social equity as a prelude to peace.

Junior Jeniffer Herrera and graduates Alice Michelle Augustine, Frank Critton and Monique McPherson—all Bronx residents—were chosen based on their outstanding academic achievements and keen interest in the conference's goal of building a culture of peace. The conference's keynote speakers include Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi of Iran and Jody Williams of the United States, as well as U.N. Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chowdhury of Bangladesh, Mitsuko Horiuchi of Japan, and former Minister of Political Affairs Yunsook Lee of South Korea. Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba is honorary chair. He is president of Mayors for Peace, an organization of more than 1,300 member cities.

Herrera, a sociology and psychology major who has lost friends and family in the Iraq war hopes that conference will "help to spread the knowledge of what peace is about through the power of education." Herrera is a member of Psi Chi, the National Psychology Honor Society and received the 2004 Peter Jennings Laurel Award, a scholarship given to those who complete the GED and go on to college at CUNY.

Augustine, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's in English and political science says, "I appreciate the chance to hear speakers discuss human rights and peace in this time of extreme violence." As a Jeannette K. Watson Fellow, she traveled to Ghana to work at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in 2005. She was also the only undergraduate in New York City to be awarded the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, a competition that drew nearly 800 applicants nation-wide. Augustine is currently attending Loyola Law School in Louisiana.

Elementary school teaching assistant Critton looks forward to sharing his experiences in Japan with his 4th and 5th grade students. He adds that, "The opportunity to network with other students, administrators, foundations and organizations that are working toward human rights and sustainable peace is very appealing." Critton has worked in his Westchester school district for 13 years. He is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society and will graduate Summa Cum Laude in September with a bachelor's in political science.

In addition to co-sponsoring the conference, Lehman plans to establish a Center for Peace and Human Rights Education to foster cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research, develop appropriate K-12 curricular materials, and encourage public engagement in the movement away from war and violence and toward peace and justice.

Other speakers include Dr. Sorosh Roshan, president of IHAN and program chair for the conference; environmentalist Henry Mensen; Dr. Purificacion Quisumbing, chair of the Philippines Human Rights Commission; human rights lawyer Mikiko Otani; leaders from the fields of education, politics and health; and representatives of the sponsoring organizations. Go to blog >>