Belmont Partners with STARS for Mid-South PeaceJam

Iranian-born Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi to participate in January event

PeaceJam Slam

Belmont President Bob Fisher and STARS CEO Rodger Dinwiddie are introduced to more than 300 middle and high school students by PeaceJam Slam participant Mia Laub, a 7th grade student from Heritage Middle.

In an extraordinary joint initiative, Iranian-born Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi was announced Tuesday as the partner for Nashville’s first ever PeaceJam, to be held at Belmont University in January 2013. PeaceJam is an international education program that seeks to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world. Belmont recently partnered with locally-based nonprofit Students Taking A Right Stand (STARS) to become the PeaceJam Mid-South affiliate. The January PeaceJam will explore issues of peace, violence, social justice and oppression with a community service component.

The announcement of Ebadi, the first ever Iranian and first Muslim woman to earn the Nobel Peace Prize, was made by Belmont University President Bob Fisher with STARS CEO Rodger Dinwiddie in a kick-off rally Tuesday, the PeaceSlam, on Belmont’s campus with students from 23 area middle and high schools attending.

Dr. Mimi Barnard, Belmont’s assistant provost for interdisciplinary studies & global education, has been heavily involved in bringing PeaceJam to Middle Tennessee. “In announcing PeaceJam, it’s fitting that this year’s Campus Theme is E Pluribus Unum—out of many, one. We live in an increasingly complex geopolitical context, yet we are called to love our neighbor. To that end, Belmont is thrilled to partner with Students Taking a Right Stand (STARS) to become the PeaceJam Mid-South Affiliate, which includes Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky. PeaceJam exists to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities, and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skill and wisdom they embody. Our collaboration will enable leadership training for hundreds, if not thousands, of youth throughout the Mid-South,” Barnard said.

Dinwiddie said the currently exiled Ebadi will be returning to Nashville January 25-27 for the PeaceJam where she will work with Belmont and STARS students on a global issue empowering students to return to their schools and community with initiatives for change.

Schools from across the mid-state were represented at Tuesday’s event, including Brentwood Middle, Fairview Middle, Freedom Middle, Gra-Mar Midde, Grassland Middle, Heritage Middle, Hillsboro Middle, Jere Baxter Middle, Page Middle, Spring Station Middle, Sunset Middle, Woodland Middle, Wright Middle, Brentwood High, Centennial High, Fairview High, Franklin High, Glencliff High, Maplewood High, Middle College, Oakland High, Page High, Peal Cohn and West Wilson High.

About Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer and activist who received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2003 for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights. She was the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to receive the award. After the Islamic republic established power in Iran in 1979, she personally struggled for her own civil rights. She has written several books on the subject of human rights.

About STARS
A nationally recognized and evidenced-based resource for student assistance, training and professional consultation, STARS assists students, families and schools with prevention, intervention and treatment services addressing bullying, substance abuse, violence, and social and emotional barriers to success. Founded in 1984, STARS staff operate in schools and community sites throughout Middle Tennessee via STARS Specialists, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services as well as through Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse (YODA) as a licensed alcohol and drug out-patience treatment facility. Their Kids On The Block puppetry program helps educate kindergarten through sixth grade students about health and social concerns that affect their lives while promoting an understanding and acceptance of all children and adults regardless of their differences. For more information, visit www.starsnashville.org.


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About Belmont University

Ranked No. 5 in the Regional Universities South category and named for the seventh consecutive year as one of the top “Up-and-Comer” universities by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University consists of approximately 7,300 students who come from every state and more than 25 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The University’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs, With more than 80 areas of undergraduate study, 22 master’s programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual's horizon.

For more information visit www.belmont.edu