Interviews by Dani Salvatore
The department of Peace and Conflict Studies’ student organization C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T Alliance is proud to announce the new Head Office/President Christelle Barakat and Vice-President Marc Caron. Both Christelle and Marc are currently pursuing Masters of Arts degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies. Additionally, both Christelle and Marc are currently working as contributing editors of UNCG’s Peace and Conflict Studies Journal, The Global Journal of Peace Research and Praxis. The two took the time to answer interview questions regarding these two activities.
What are your goals and hopes for C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T Alliance?
Christelle: I am very excited about the prospects of what we could do and where we could go with the Alliance. The past year has been somewhat stagnant and tough for all university clubs. As we move forward towards a (hopefully) more normal year, I hope that we are able to build community amongst Peace and Conflict Studies students in particular, but also members of the Alliance, in general. I am thrilled that Marc is the Vice President because he also cares deeply about the club and together, we want to create a nurturing space in which students grow in their peace journeys. We also want to have something for everyone and this will be reflected in the different events that we will be organizing.
What are your plans for C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T. Alliance this year?
Marc: To help bring awareness and prestige to our department through the work of the C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T. Alliance and the reboot of our department journal (Global Journal of Peace Research and Praxis)
Christelle: We would like to invite alumni to speak to students about their experiences in the job market, post-graduation. Also, movie nights with Q&As, book circles/a Peace and Conflict Studies book club event format, potentially organizing a conference and having the papers from it feed into a journal issue, country-themed events with our international Peace and Conflict Studies students and Alliance members sharing about their countries… the possibilities and ideas are endless. We have many plans and a willingness to pivot between in-person and online should there be a need to do so. In all cases, we would like to also create events for online students who are numerous at UNCG.
Why should students want to join C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T Alliance?
Marc: Simply put, to apply what they learn in their classes toward their personal and professional aspirations, and within the community, all while being surrounded by like-minded individuals who have a passion for helping to grow the department and serve their communities.
You’ve mentioned the Global Journal of Peace Research and Praxis run by the department. Please tell me a little bit about that and why it’s important to you?
Marc: The Global Journal of Peace Research and Praxis is a peer-reviewed academic journal that aims to offer students and professionals in the field of PCS the opportunity to publish their original research, book and movie reviews, essays, opinion pieces, and academic papers focused on conflict resolution and peacebuilding. We want to build a reputable academic journal that publishes creative and original pieces two times per year. We have a mix of students and faculty involved who believe providing a place for students, faculty, and student/faculty to publish their original pieces will help open doors to future academic or professional opportunities.
Christelle: The journal is meant to be student-led and housed within the department, and specifically within the Alliance. I think it is important because it allows us, students, to take initiative and perhaps to get published (we follow guidelines; even though the journal is student-led, we value high standards of publication in order to convey prominence to it). The journal also acts as a space for students to grow in their writing skills and peace journeys. This is why we will be accepting reflections and other artistic forms of expression in upcoming issues.
For any questions regarding the C.O.N.F.L.I.C.T Alliance, or the Peace and Conflict Studies’ Global Journal of Peace Research and Praxis, please feel free to reach out to Christelle or Marc. To join the Alliance, please find us on Spartans Connect and send us a membership request.