Campus Theme

The Compelling Questions We All Face

The Campus Theme program facilitates and coordinates a host of events, lectures, and discussions centered around an enduring and ultimate question of human experience—a fresh question each academic year. Events are open to the general public.

2013–2014 Campus Theme: What Is Peace?

Past 2013–2014 Campus Theme Lectures

Aleksander HemonAleksandar Hemon

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
7:00 pm in Anderson Chapel

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, a 2008 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, as well as three collections of short stories: The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, and Love and Obstacles. Hemon's most recent book, The Book of My Lives, was published in early 2013. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago as a young journalist in 1992, intending to stay for only a few months. While he was in the States, Sarajevo came under siege in the Bosnian War, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995; he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 2004. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.

Allan Boesak and Curtiss P. DeYoung

Can There Be Peace in This Present Age?
Monday, October 21
5:00 pm in Isaacson Chapel

Authors of Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism 

Rev. Dr. Allan BoesakRev. Dr. Allan Boesak is an iconic figure in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa, joining the world stage in 1982 by introducing a motion to the World Alliance of Reformed Churches that requested the organization declare apartheid a heresy. The Alliance adopted the Declaration of Racism, suspended South Africa’s white Dutch Reformed Church because of its pro-apartheid stance, and elected Boesak president of the alliance—a post he held until 1989. Boesak is currently an honorary research fellow at the School of Religion, Philosophy, and Classics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He was named the Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies at Butler University in 2012, where he is currently serving a visiting professor and theologian, as well as at Christian Theological Seminary also in Indianapolis.

Rev. Dr. Curtiss DeYoungRev. Dr. Curtiss P. DeYoung is a professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. In addition, he served the university for six years as the special assistant to the president for reconciliation and community partnerships. DeYoung’s work began to include an international focus when he participated as a McKnight Fellow at the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria—an event that convened 70 people from 39 different nations to discuss issues of race and ethnicity. Since 2000 he has been to South Africa thirteen times speaking and consulting, as well as building relationships with leaders in the work of reconciliation.

Eboo PatelEboo Patel

Friday, November 1
10:30 am in Anderson Chapel

Eboo Patel’s core belief is that religion is a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He’s inspired to build this bridge by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship. As the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, he has spoken about this vision at places like the TED conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, as well as college and university campuses across the country. He has written two books about interfaith cooperation, Acts of Faith and Sacred Ground, and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, and CNN. Some people ask if Eboo ever stops talking about interfaith; if it’s any indication, his five-year-old son can define interfaith cooperation.

Past Related Events

Other events across campus this year enriched our discussions and learning by also considering the question, "What is peace?"

Fifth Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference: Achieving Peace by Embracing Diversity

Saturday, November 2; 8:30 am (full-day conference)
North Park University

Learn more

I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson's Life in His Words and Songs

Thursday, February 13; 7:30 pm
North Park University, Anderson Chapel

Vocalist Anthony Brown visited North Park University for a multimedia production celebrating the contributions of Paul Robeson, the late African American musician who challenged systems of injustice during the civil rights era.

Art & Peace: The role of art in peacemaking

Wednesday, April 23, 7:00 pm
North Park University

Renowned philosopher Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff delivered a public lecture on the subject of his forthcoming book—art—and its ramifications for justice and peace.

Ubuntu: A conference on peacebuilding and conflict transformation

Friday and Saturday, April 25–26
North Park University

Nonprofit leaders, grassroots activists, teachers, students, and neighbors joined to explore avenues toward peace in the city of Chicago and beyond during Ubuntu, a two-day conference sponsored by the conflict transformation studies program and the University's Campus Theme.