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Mississippi Valley State Partners to Form MLK Conflict Resolution Center in Italy

Mississippi Valley State Partners to Form MLK Conflict Resolution Center in Italy

Mississippi Valley State University is partnering with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to develop a third Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Conflict Resolution Center — this time in Italy.

“My goal is to have students more involved in global society,” says Dr. Lester C. Newman, president of MVSU. “Students need to understand the world is a lot smaller … and interact with other cultures.”

The university is developing a program in international studies which focuses on conflict management and language immersion in uncommonly taught languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian.

With a growing international program at MSVU, the center will also help students and faculty study and research abroad. The university will offer a certificate in conflict management, with plans to eventually offer a degree based on coursework that utilizes King’s philosophy as a foundation.

The center will be built in the northwest town of Ivrea, Italy, and will be open to students in Italy as well as existing students at MVSU. Newman says university officials did not choose the Italian center, but it was selected for them through the SCLC president’s ongoing relationship with the country.

The first center, established in Dimona, Israel, with the African Hebrew Israelite Community, was followed by a second center in Dayton, Ohio.

 “The initiative was put into place to assist in decreasing violence, not only in our communities, but communities around the world,” says Charles Steele Jr., SCLC president and CEO.

Added Newman: “Given the … lack of cultural understanding we have about people in general, not only in the country but worldwide, it is important to have people trained who can relate to each other and hopefully allow us to deal with those conflicts that keep us apart and to deal with each other as human beings.” 

— By Shilpa Banerji

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