Goshen College students speak on peace and justice in annual oratorical contest Jan. 18

GOSHEN, Ind. – What do gangs in Honduras, Darfur and community nutrition have in common? They will be among the topics of speeches during Goshen College’s 2005 C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest.

Five Goshen College student speakers will continue the college’s near-century-old tradition of conversation and action about peace and justice issues in the Jan. 18 event in Umble Center at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Participants in the college’s 2005 C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest include:

Junior Dominique Burgunder-Johnson (Vilseck, Germany, and Beavercreek, Ohio), a peace, justice and conflict studies and history double major, will speak about the responsibility of the international community in responding to the threats of human security in Sub-Saharan Africa. She became interested in speaking about this topic after participating in the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Seminar in New York last year and “I realized that it would not be enough to just internalize the information gained from attending this seminar, but that it was important to share it with the local campus community in the hope that they would be inspired to take action in their own lives to dealing with the issues that face sub-Saharan Africa today,” Burgunder-Johnson said. She is the daughter of Sylvia Burgunder-Johnson and Ronald Johnson and a 2002 graduate of Vilseck American High School.

First-year Krista Ehst (Bally, Pa.), a religion and music double major, will speak about worldwide female genital mutilation in her speech, “The Stakes of Womanhood.” She is the daughter of Tim and Sheryl Ehst and graduated from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in 2004.

Sophomore Dawit Kebede (Goshen), a peace, justice and conflict studies major, will speak about “The Darfur Saga: Another Rwandan Genocide in the Making.”

Junior Elizabeth Miller (Danvers, Ill.), a history major, will speak on “Community Nutrition: Long-Term Solutions, Stability and Sustainability.” She is the daughter of Darrel and Lynette Miller and is a 2002 graduate of University High School.

Junior Josh Weaver (Bluffton, Ohio), a mathematics and history double major, will speak on “Marked Men: Gang Membership in Honduras.” He chose this topic because in the summer of 2002 he traveled to Honduras and worked with reformed gang members and learned of their struggles. He is the son of Jim and Jane Weaver and is a 2002 graduate of Bluffton High School.

Coordinator of the speech contest Pat McFarlane, associate professor of communication, said, “I believe this event is important because it allows students the opportunity to articulate their beliefs in a public forum, challenging them to present effectively in a public speaking setting which is larger than the classroom can offer. It also offers students the opportunity to reflect deeply on peace and justice issues and then articulate their position.”

Each participant will step to the lectern to deliver an 8- to 10-minute speech on their chosen topic relating to peace, in a universal or specific context, including war and violence, political policies, agencies of justice and peace, peacemaking strategies or current events. The addresses will be judged on originality, the integration of topic and a peace position and general standards of delivery.

Participants compete for cash prizes and the top winner may enter the U.S./Canada Mennonite Central Committee-sponsored C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest. The trust of C. Henry Smith, a Mennonite historian and professor at Goshen and Bluffton (Ohio) colleges, funds the contest, which gives students an opportunity to become involved with the peace cause while cultivating rhetorical skills. Speech contests have been part of Goshen College’s history since the early 1900s; the C. Henry Smith contest allows the campus community to hear more about relevant, contemporary issues.

Umble Center is accessible to people using wheelchairs and others with physical limitations.

Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit http://www.goshen.edu/.

Editors: For more information, contact News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.

Categories: Campus Events, Communication, GC Community, GC News, Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies, Students