From Military Captain to Peace Activist, Paul Chappell to “Wage Peace” at Wittenberg
War, human nature and world peace will all be on the agenda Thursday, Oct. 10, when the Department of Sociology brings warrior-turned-peace monger Captain Paul Chappell to campus.
The event, titled “Why Peace is Possible: Exploring the Anatomy of Violence and War,” will be in Bayley Auditorium, and will begin at 7 p.m. The event will include a lecture that addresses the anatomy of violence, the possibility of ending war, and whether human beings are inherently violent or peaceful; a discussion on the art of what Chappell describes as “waging peace;” and a question-and-answer session.
Jerry Pankhurst, chair of the Sociology department, said that he thinks Chappell’s visit is important amidst ongoing U.S. military conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, arguing that citizens “should not take the option of peace for granted” during a time in which he thinks perspectives like Chappell’s are underrepresented, citing student opinions in a previous Torch article on ISIS as an example.
“War fever seems to be growing, [and] perhaps there are alternatives that need greater consideration,” Pankhurst said. “Chappell, who is a military veteran and well-schooled in war, will give some alternative ways of seeing [the conflicts].”
Chappell graduated from West Point in 2002, was subsequently deployed to Iraq, and left active duty in 2009 as a captain. The veteran has since dedicated his career to ending war, penning four books of a seven-part series, titled, “The Road to Peace.” Chappell has also written various essays and articles that critique the size of the United States military budget, highlight the war-related psychological implications faced by soldiers, and challenge what he describes as “the popularized myths of war.”
Peggy Hanna, administrative assistant in the sociology department and founder and leader of the Clark County Peace Alliance, said that Chappell is important not only in terms of addressing war-related issues, but also in regards to interrogating and ending the violence people experience in everyday life: from violence driven by public policy, to violence in interpersonal relationships, to the violence people do to themselves.
“He will show us all our own inner-need for peace — that peace begins within us,” Hanna said. “He will also give us the hope and inspiration that’s necessary for proactively finding peace.”
Chappell currently serves as the Peace Leadership Director at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that, according to its website, works to “educate and advocate for peace and a world free of nuclear weapons, and to empower peace leaders.” Chappell also lectures internationally, and teaches workshops and college courses on peace leadership.
Courtney Biede, ’15, president of the Wittenberg Student Peace Alliance, said she hopes that Chappell’s expertise will grant her group insight in regards to the peace-building process, in addition to showing students and Springfield community members the importance and possibility of living peaceful lives.
“Why we need peace, how to make a peaceful world and whether or not we can make a peaceful world are all questions that everyone needs [to] address,” Biede said. “Whether you know a lot about peace or very little, you can benefit and learn a great deal from Chappell’s message.”
Doors will open 30 minutes before the lecture begins. The event is open to the general public, is free of charge and is also sponsored by the Student Peace Alliance, the Sociology Club, Weaver Chapel and the Faculty Endowment Board, as well as the Departments of Political Science and International Education.
Related, the Clark County Peace Alliance and Student Peace Alliance will be holding a peace-building workshop the following night, Oct. 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Blair Hall, room 101. The workshop will feature Chappell, and be lead by the field-director of the National Peace Alliance, Dan Kahn. The workshop is free of charge and open to all who are interested, but aspiring participants are encouraged to RSVP by emailing Hanna at: firstname.lastname@example.org.