January 14, 2019
Maarten Halff, Senior Political Affairs Officer, Electoral Assistance Division, United Nations, New York City, describes the large number of requests from client nations for technical assistance in conducting elections, especially in emerging democracies. The UN neither observes nor evaluates the results. It works with local officials to encourage people to vote, establish voting procedures, and count the votes. Human rights are an important consideration in these consultations.
Presidential elections in the Central African Republic, Feb. 2016. UN Photo/Nektarios Markogiannis
December 17, 2018
Gretchen Natter is the Executive Director of the Center for Public Service and Assistant Dean of College Life, Gettysburg College; and Communications Liaison, Project Gettysburg-Leon. In this podcast she describes the current political crisis in Nicaragua brought about by protests against President Daniel Ortega, the long-time leader of the Sandinista Movement that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship but is now using similar tactics to suppress opposition. The situation has directly affected the work of groups that encourage cultural interchange and assistance such as Project Gettysburg-Leon and others around the country.
July 29, 2018
A widely traveled, award-winning “ambassador” of peace, Rev. Sandra Mackie, Spiritual Director, Ruth House, and Recipient of the Lifetime Peacemaker Award, Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice, believes that fear is a significant factor in war, and that better understanding is a key ingredient for peace. She observes that Iran should not be lumped together with other Mid-East nations. Iranians are not Arabs, but Persians with a long and proud history. They want to be democratic and open to the West, but free and independent; and when threatened, they think it necessary to develop a nuclear program.
July 6, 2018
Kim Davidson, Director, Center for Public Service, Gettysburg College, recently returned from a study tour of El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico maintains that current policy toward Mexican and Central American immigrants is based on racism, and that it is made more acute by the lack of transparency in the practices of I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). She suggests several things that advocates can do, including making their voices heard and providing legal services to those wrongly detained.
June 4, 2018
Richard Michael, Interim Pastor Big Spring United Lutheran Church, discussed his recent travel to the Holy Land. Having led several groups over the years, he described the sites the group visited, the orientation to the trip for participants and the benefit of the trip for participants. For him and individuals in the group, the arrival to the Holy Land was “coming home” since the sites (cities and roads) are familiar to Christians through their reading of scriptures. In addition, Michael discussed the political realities which exist. Such a trip helps pastors to preach and teach more effectively and assists participants to reflect more critically when reading scripture and listening to sermons.
May 21, 2018
In the second of two interviews (the first on immigrating to the United States), Odila describes the circumstances of his arrest, imprisonment, brutalizing, and eventual escape. He was apprehended while working with the Red Cross in the Republic of Congo because he opposed the use of children as soldiers in Congo’s civil war, some as young as seven or eight. He continued his counseling during the 17 years he lived in an immigration camp in Zambia.
Recorded live on Sunday, May 6, at St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg.
March 12, 2018
Justine Odila talks about his journey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States. While in the Congo, he worked to help child soldiers to return to school, their families and mental stability as well as helping other young children to not become soldiers in the first place. This work resulted in him being arrested but he escaped to Zambia where he lived in a refugee camp for 17 years where he carried assisting those around him. After a 5-year vetting process, he was finally able to come to the United States via a resettlement program. He presently works at Walmart, works part-time as a mental health counselor, and attends classes at the community college.
To learn more about the Democratic Republic of the Congo you can begin here:
November 6, 2017
Phil Roth talks about his experience as a volunteer in the PAX program sponsored by the Mennonite Church as his alternative service for the military in the mid-1950s. He described the history of the program as well as the challenges for him and his fellow workers.
August 14, 2017
Lou Charest, Manager for University Engagement for Catholic Relief Services, describes the current global refugee crisis and explains why Catholic social teaching, as well as Pope Francis, calls us to welcome migrants and refugees. He offers suggestions for how local communities can provide support, from encouraging legislation to linking with refugee families.
July 18, 2017
Dr. Maria Erling, Professor of American Church History, ULS, and author, “The Augustana Story” sets the Lutheran World Federation Assembly, held in Windhoek, Namibia in the context of justice and reconciliation in Namibia and the abused women in the Congo.