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Westheimer: 2023 Peace Symposium: Schedule of Events

33rd Annual Westheimer Peace Symposium

33rd Annual Westheimer Peace Symposium

For further information contact:
 or call 937-481-2371

About the 2023 Westheimer Peace Symposium:
The 2023 Westheimer Peace Symposium focuses on “Peace and the Nature of War” through the topic of “Combat Trauma and Healing.” For this year’s symposium we have asked our invited guests to share their insights and knowledge regarding the types of traumatic experiences soldiers from diverse backgrounds face in combat as well the emotional and psychological impact of committing violence within the military context. How can veterans heal from violent and traumatic experiences carried out in a time of war? How do soldiers experience the transition from the military environment to civilian life after experiencing traumatic events in war? What is the responsibility of the state and society to help veterans reintegrate and resume emotionally healthy and stable lives? Knowing the costs to soldiers and veterans, what is the responsibility of state and society to prevent violent conflict from occurring?
About the Westheimer Peace Symposium:
The Westheimer Peace Symposium, established in 1991 by a generous endowment from Charles and May Westheimer, is an annual event with four rotating themes: Peace and Nonviolence; Peace and Social Justice; Peace and the Environment, and Peace and the Nature of War. As a result, it is a key reflection of Wilmington College's Quaker heritage and its core values of peace, social justice, respect for all persons, and integrity. 



Conversation: Coming Home: Veterans Navigating Life and Community after Military Service, August 30, 2023, 5:00-6:30 p.m.


5:00-6:30 p.m.
Coming Home: Veterans Navigating Life and Community after Military Service

Speaker:  Ms. Carley Wilson, Peer Leader Specialist, Wounded Warrior Project, Wounded Warrior Project (Wilmington College Alum 19')


Carley Wilson (WC Alum ’19) shares her work in supporting veterans through the lens of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in navigating life, work, and community following military service. She will share what types of challenges veterans and their families face in reintegrating to their local communities and what types of support she and the Wounded Warrior Project provide.

Registration: Through 8/30/23 4:00 p.m. Click here to register.

Location: T. Canby Jones Meetinghouse, Boyd Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington College

Campus Map and Directions:

Talk: Transforming Conflict in the Midst of Violence, September 7, 2023, 6:00-7:30 p.m.


6:00-7:30 p.m.

Transforming Conflict in the Midst of Violence

Speaker: Mr. Rick Polhamus, Community Peacemaker Teams


Rick Polhamus is a member of Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT – formally Christian Peacemaker Teams) and has worked in the Middle East over the past 22 years. He has training and experience in violence reduction, conflict resolution and conflict transformation, negotiation, and mediation. At the Nobel Peace Prize Luncheon in Dayton, Ohio on January 18, 2014, Rick was presented a Peace Hero Award by the Dayton International Peace Museum in honor for his lifetime of peacemaking work.  

Registration: Through September 7, 5:00 p.m. Click here to register!

Location: McCoy Room, Kelly Center, Wilmington College

Campus Map and Directions:

Talk: Acquiring Peace in the Crucible of War, September 12, 2023, 7:00-8:30 p.m.


7:00-8:30 p.m.
Acquiring Peace in the Crucible of War

Speaker:  Reverend Paul Abernathy, CEO, the Neighborhood Resilience Project


Having served as an U.S. Army veteran in the Iraq War, Father Paul Abernathy is currently an Orthodox Christian priest at St. Moses the Black Orthodox Church, Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the founding CEO of the Neighborhood Resilience Project. Since 2011, Fr. Paul has labored with his community to address community trauma with Trauma Informed Community Development; a framework that facilitates the transformation of trauma affected communities to resilient, healing and healthy communities so that people can be healthy enough to sustain opportunities and realize their potential.

Registration: Through September 12 at 6:00 p.m. Click here to register!

Location: McCoy Room, Kelly Center, Wilmington College

Campus Map and Directions:


Film: This is Not a War Story (followed by dialogue with director Talia Lugacy), September 20, 2023, 7:00-10:00 p.m.

7:00-10:00 p.m.

This is Not a War Story (Film showing from 7-9:15 p.m. followed by dialogue from 9:00-10:00 p.m. with director Talia Lugacy, moderated by Professor Jeff Hazelden)

Post screening dialogue with: Ms. Talia Lugacy, Director, Writer, Actor, Assistant Professor of Screen Studies at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts 


THIS IS NOT A WAR STORY tracks a ragtag group of combat veterans in New York whose anti-war art, poetry and papermaking keep them together, despite the spectre of their friend’s suicide and the ever-crystalizing fact that healing from war is sometimes an impossible mission.
Talia Lugacy is a filmmaker, actor, and writer based in New York. Talia co-wrote and directed the feature film Descent starring Rosario Dawson, which premiered in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically by Warner Independent. Despite an NC-17 rating DESCENT was championed by The New York Times as a Critic's Pick calling the film "...essential to see, a vividness never seen in an American film.” Her second feature film This is Not a War Story was an NYFA Grant Recipient for 2020 and was shortlisted for Director’s Fortnight at Cannes before the event was canceled. The film has since won the Audience Award at SF Indie and was a Spotlight title at Cinequest with universal praise from publications such as Film Threat, Hammer to Nail, and Screentology. Talia is a full-time Assistant Professor of Screen Studies at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, in NYC. She was a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights & Directors Unit, and began studying filmmaking at NYU Tisch at the age of 15. She has directed numerous short films as well as directed environmental PSAs with Frack Action, Water Defense, Mark Ruffalo and Food & Water Watch.

Registration: August 23 through September 20, 6:00 p.m. Click here to register!

SPECIAL LOCATION: The Murphy Theatre, 50 W Main St, Wilmington, OH 45177

(***For registered students: Shuttles from Wilmington College to the Murphy Theatre will be provided from 6:15-6:45 from Winthrop Circle (Next to the Boyd Cultural Arts Center) and from 10:00-10:30 from the Murphy Theatre to Winthrop Circle at Wilmington College.)

Conversation: Trauma-sensitive Peacebuilding, September 26, 2023, 12:00-1:30 p.m.


12:00-1:30 p.m.

Trauma-sensitive Peacebuilding

Speaker: Dr. Lucy Steinitz, Senior Technical Advisor for Protection and Equity (global), Catholic Relief Services


Dr. Lucy Steinitz (WC Alum ‘72) brings a wealth of information to the post-Westheimer lunch-and-learn. She has twenty years of experience in domestic social policy, international learning and consultation, and non-profit management. Having traveled much of the world, Lucy now works for Catholic Relief Services on issues of justice, mental health, and peacebuilding. She has authored, co-authored, or edited over fifty publications including two books and multiple training manuals for children and adults affected by conflict, illness, and trauma.

Registration: Through September 26, 11:00 a.m. Click here to register!

Location: T. Canby Jones Meetinghouse, Boyd Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington College

Campus Map and Directions:

Blackboard // Campus Map // Student Success Lounge // WC Homepage // WC Directory // WC Bookstore // WC Portal

Address: Watson Library - Pyle Center Box 1227, Wilmington College, 1870 Quaker Way, Wilmington, OH 45177

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