OSU chosen as PeaceJam site; Nobelist Williams coming March 18-20


CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will host a PeaceJam event this March 18-20, during which Oregon and Washington high school students will meet with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams and then take part in community service projects in the area.

Williams received the 1997 Peace Prize for leading a global move to ban land mines.

PeaceJam International, founded in 1996 in Denver, Colo., is designed to use Nobel Peace Prize laureates to encourage youth to become involved in volunteer activities focusing on peace and civil rights. After working with a Nobel laureate for the weekend, participating students often work with teachers, community leaders, mentors and PeaceJam volunteers on service projects.

"It's an inspiring program and this is one of first times PeaceJam has worked with a university to host one of the events," said Frank Ragulsky, director of OSU Student Media, which is coordinating the university's participation. "We hope to bring in 200 to 250 high school students to campus and make this into an ongoing venture for OSU."

PeaceJam was last held in the Northwest in 2004 in Vancouver, Wash.

Ragulsky said participating students will study the work of Jody Williams at their high schools as part of a social studies curriculum prior to coming to OSU. Dawn Engle, the co-founder of PeaceJam International, will be at OSU this Jan. 22 to lead curriculum training for Oregon and Washington teachers.

Williams is the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was launched in 1992 by six non-governmental organizations. During the past 12 years, the effort has grown to include more than 1,000 organizations in 60-plus countries and Williams has been invited to serve as a technical adviser to the United Nations' Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children.

Williams will give a free public lecture at OSU's LaSells Stewart Center on Friday, March 18, at 8 p.m.

High school students, parents and teachers who would like more information on the OSU PeaceJam event may call OSU Student Media at 541-737-4604, or send an e-mail to: peacejam@oregonstate.edu.

OSU will soon set up a website with information at http://www.oregonstate.edu/peacejam. The website for PeaceJam International is: www.peacejam.org.