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Duke graduate students develop innovations for peacebuilding

Through the Peace Innovation Lab, students created solutions to issues related to peace, conflict and security.

Informed by their lived personal, academic and professional experiences, students in the Introduction to Peace and Conflict Resolution course developed innovative solutions to address the vexing problems of conflict, violence and injustice.

The class, taught by Maureen Moriarty Lempke, introduced students from the Master of International Development Policy (MIDP), Master of Public Policy (MPP), Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, and International Development Policy certificate programs to the multi-disciplinary field of peace and conflict studies, and provided a theoretical, conceptual and practical holistic approach to problems of conflicts and prospects for peace. The course featured a Peace Innovation Lab, which provided students with the time and space to incubate a project with a peacebuilding outcome.

“We created an ‘innovation lab’ where each person could take their idea and bring it to life with coaching and applying project design tools such as theory of change and systems thinking,” Moriarty Lempke explained. “Their innovations were deeply personal, based upon both their work and lived experiences and yet practical and scalable. It was an honor to watch their ideas grow into something that could be implemented and give them agency as peacebuilders."

For Anna Hallahan MPP’24, this was an opportunity to combine her interests with her studies to better connect to the course material. Her project, “The Art of Peace,” explored how art has been used to advocate for peace. She created a virtual museum exhibit of peace-focused propaganda to tell a compelling story of nation and peace through art.

“This project has been such a great way to flex my creative muscles and engage with our course material in a very hands-on way,” Hallahan shared. “Professor Moriarty Lempke created a really positive and supportive environment that encouraged us to think outside of the box and experiment with different ideas. I loved being able to marry my interests – like art – with my academic pursuits and create a personal and meaningful connection to the material.”

The students presented their projects in a poster showcase in the Sanford Building lobby. They talked to students, faculty, staff and community members about their ideas, as well as potential plans to implement their projects.

“I hope to continue working on my project after the semester ends and would love to explore other avenues to share my work,” Hallahan said. “I talked to several students at the Poster Showcase that brought up really interesting points about peace propaganda and art in social media – I hadn’t thought about that before, but I think there is a really interesting connecting there that I could expand upon in future work.”

The innovation projects:

  • “The INPUT Wall” - Abi McDougal
  • “Food Security Can Bring Peace—But What Makes It Last and how we can address the roots of hunger” - Aleksandra Zaborowska
  • “Narrative Sovereignty” - Andrea Ryan
  • “The Art of Peace” - Anna Hallahan
  • “Children's Perceptions of Peace in Conflict-Affected Areas” - Antonella Di Ciano
  • “The Circle of Life: Peace In An Age Of Broken Cycles” - Brendan Botosan
  • “Building Peace: Interactive Classroom Models for Stability” - Claire Kidwell
  • “BUILDING BRIDGES OF PEACE; Empowering Young Men in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi” - Gideon Kapalasa
  • “ARTistory: Online Matching Platform for Craftspeople” - Haruna Fukaya
  • “Uncoiled: Cultivating Curious Conversations” - Jacinta Bailey
  • “Using My Lived Experience to Break the Stigma, Discrimination, Domestic Violence Associated with Hepatitis B in Uganda Communities” - Kenneth Kabagambe
  • “In the Fog of War What Issues Are Emerging, But Have Not Received Attention?” - Laila Abed
  • “’My Peace Constellation’: A Story of and with Peacebuilding” - Paola Saldivias Mendez
  • “Peace in our heARTs!” - Patrick Asiñero
  • “Menstrual Kits for Dignity” - Ja San Gawlu
  • “Bridges of Trust: Transitioning Together to Sustainable Peace” - Yohan Alvarez

Poster Showcase