“Peace Studies” was the title of an initiative of professors at Seton Hall from 1977 to 1983. A group of 35 faculty members across all of the Colleges of the University wished to build on the University’s Masters programs and related academic work with a focus on the contribution that the major religious and philosophical traditions of East and West can make to peace. This was within the context of the United States Catholic Bishops Conference’s preparation of a “Peace Pastoral Letter” during this period. Bishop John J. Dougherty, former President of Seton Hall, was in residence here at the time. He was an early supporter of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, but we had to wait more than two decades for another President to guide the University in creation of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, beginning with the undergraduate curriculum, soon followed by a Master’s program. This school developed several facets of our dream.
For many decades the Holy See has promoted the search for peace on every level. The elderly among us recall Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Pacem in Terris” to all people of good will and the dramatic words of Pope Paul VI at the United Nations in 1964: “War never again!”
Seton Hall has plans to review the work of the three more recent popes who continue this sacred tradition. The lecture by Peter Cardinal Turkson of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development on September 30th will inaugurate a conference that presents a review of Pope Francis’ initiatives. In coming years the focus will be on the teachings of Popes Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II.
The announcement of the 2019 conference brings an invitation to all our friends: https://www.shu.edu/diplomacy/peacemaking-conference.cfm. If possible, join with us for these events and keep the promotion of peace as a special intention in your prayers.