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San Diego State University

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Faculty speakers add to
the powerful message of
International Peace Village

Dipak Gupta 


By Michael Klitzing


When SDSU students from all over the world flock to Montezuma Hall for the 60th annual International Peace Village on November 17, they’ll be coming together to put their unique culture and customs on display. But Dipak Gupta, professor emeritus of political science, believes they’ll be doing something even more significant.

They’ll be helping to create a more connected, less fearful world.

Gupta - former Fred J. Hansen Professor of Peace Studies and a founder and former director of the International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) program - would know. As a native of India, he’s lectured all over the world, including an experience in regional rival Pakistan that he called “wonderful.”

“When people meet you as an individual, they react differently than when they think you represent some sinister force,” said Gupta, who joined SDSU’s faculty in 1977 and was named a prestigious Albert W. Johnson Distinguished Lecturer. “That’s the perspective that I bring.”

Gupta will join two other professors in bringing a faculty perspective to International Peace Village for the first time as part of a special breakout session. Other presenters include:

Susan Keine, associate professor of global health at SDSU. Keine will discuss her global health research in rural Uganda, where she is seeking methods to better link individuals who use home-based HIV testing to health care services and treatment.

Marcos Bosquetti, professor of management at Federal university of Santa Catarina in Brazil. Bosquetti will explore the roots and consequences of social inequality in Latin America, particularly Brazil.

Gupta’s topic is “Rise of Authoritarianism and the Need for Mutual Understanding in a Fractured World.” He will discuss the recent worldwide trend toward authoritarianism – and why it seems to be happening at a time of relative abundance and peace that is unparalleled in modern human history. The reason he argues is anxiety of three types – economic, cultural and demographic – that often leave people feeling under siege. That leads to “incredible polarization all over the world.”

The good news? You might not need to search very far for a solution.

“Doing an International Peace Village is one of the tools by which we can come out of this,” Gupta said. “We create enemies in our own minds. In the animal world, troops are formed by genetics. In the human world it’s formed by imagination – nationalism, religious identity.

“But these imaginary stereotypes are broken when we come face to face with one another.”

Learn more about International Peace Village

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