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Belmont Partners with STARS for Mid-South PeaceJam

Iranian-born Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi to participate in January event

PeaceJam Slam In an extraordinary joint initiative, Iranian-born Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi was announced Tuesday as the partner for Nashville’s first ever PeaceJam, to be held at Belmont University in January 2013. PeaceJam is an international education program that seeks to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world. Belmont recently partnered with locally-based nonprofit Students Taking A Right Stand (STARS) to become the PeaceJam Mid-South affiliate. The January PeaceJam will explore issues of peace, violence, social justice and oppression with a community service component.

The announcement of Ebadi, the first ever Iranian and first Muslim woman to earn the Nobel Peace Prize, was made by Belmont University President Bob Fisher with STARS CEO Rodger Dinwiddie in a kick-off rally Tuesday, the PeaceSlam, on Belmont’s campus with students from 23 area middle and high schools attending.

Dr. Mimi Barnard, Belmont’s assistant provost for interdisciplinary studies & global education, has been heavily involved in bringing PeaceJam to Middle Tennessee. “In announcing PeaceJam, it’s fitting that this year’s Campus Theme is E Pluribus Unum—out of many, one. We live in an increasingly complex geopolitical context, yet we are called to love our neighbor. To that end, Belmont is thrilled to partner with Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS) to become the PeaceJam Mid-South Affiliate, which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky. PeaceJam exists to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skill and wisdom they embody. Our collaboration will enable leadership training for hundreds, if not thousands, of youth throughout the Mid-South,” Barnard said.

Dinwiddie said the currently exiled Ebadi will be returning to Nashville January 25-27 for the PeaceJam where she will work with Belmont and STARS students on a global issue empowering students to return to their schools and community with initiatives for change.

Schools from across the mid-state were represented at Tuesday’s event, including Brentwood Middle, Fairview Middle, Freedom Middle, Gra-Mar Midde, Grassland Middle, Heritage Middle, Hillsboro Middle, Jere Baxter Middle, Page Middle, Spring Station Middle, Sunset Middle, Woodland Middle, Wright Middle, Brentwood High, Centennial High, Fairview High, Franklin High, Glencliff High, Maplewood High, Middle College, Oakland High, Page High, Peal Cohn and West Wilson High.

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