In 1998, Kenneth and Margaret McCaleb of Huntsville, AL, donated stock then valued at $150,000 as an endowment to assist in finding ways to bring about peace and to prevent war. Each year the Peace Initiative provides at least one $5,000 grant to a student-faculty team selected through a campus-wide competition.
Although McCaleb died in 2002, his wife, Margaret, and son, Robert, still review the proposals. This year, they decided to fund three projects and make an additional donation to the Missouri Southern Foundation.
With all three projects, the students have pledged to write a series of articles that will make up special sections of the campus newspaper, The Chart. Kenneth McCaleb founded and named the paper while a student at Joplin Junior College (the predecessor of Missouri Southern) in 1939. He was shot down on a bombing mission over Germany in 1943 and spent 19 months in POW camps. During this time he became interested in studying the causes of war and ways of achieving peace.
The team of Thaddeus McCleary, a senior international business major from Neosho, and Chris Moos, instructor of international business, has been awarded a $4,800 grant for a project titled "The Colors of Revolution." They will travel to Ukraine on May 13-27 to study such topics as political activism, the Orange Revolution of November 2004 to January 2005, Radio Free Ukraine, the historical and modern connotations of the term "revolution," Ukraine's shared past with Russia and other former Soviet republics, consumerism, and civil disobedience. They will interview local journalists, embassy personnel, representatives of NGOs operating in Ukraine, small business owners, and young demonstrators.
McCleary also has been chosen for a fall 2007 exchange program with Ugra State University in Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra.
Off to Libya
The team of Lora Dean, a sophomore international studies major from Drexel and Dr. Carolyn Hale, a professor of communication, received a $5,000 grant for a project titled "Jamahiriya: Prevention of War in Northern Africa or Promotion of Terrorism?" They will spend four weeks in the Muslim country of Libya as soon as visas can be obtained.
Dean and Hale plan to examine Qadhafi's "Jamahiriya," a political philosophy the Libyan leader developed 30 years ago, and determine how Libyan culture is influenced by the communication of Jamahiriya and whether such communication reinforces terrorism. Other topics of study include how Libya seeks peace and reconciliation with Italy and the rest of the world, Libya's role in the search for peace in the Middle East, and the future of Libya. Nada Banun, a native of Tripoli who taught Arabic at MSSU during the 2006-07 academic year through the Fulbright Program, will be their guide and interpreter.
"The Muslim country of Libya is not well known to many people in the West and to few students at MSSU," Dean and Hale wrote in their application. "If we can discover why Libyans behave in a certain way and what passions they have, then we can begin to understand how we as Americans can improve communication with them."
Documenting struggles in Botswana
The team of John Carr, a junior biochemistry and mathematics major from Neosho, and Dr. William Kumbier, a professor of English, received a $5,000 grant for "Project Botswana: Bringing Peace and Hope to the War Against the AIDS Pandemic." The African nation has an adult HIV prevalence rate of 24 percent, the second highest in the world after Swaziland.
Carr will travel to Botswana from Dec. 12 to Jan. 12, 2008, to examine the struggle of families, the community, and the local government to cope with the HIV/AIDS epidemic; explore antiretroviral (drug treatment) hospitals and clinics; discuss with medical professionals and patients how the antiretroviral treatment has changed their lives, their community, and their society; observe the working class to determine if the treatment is allowing for workers to return to the force; and interact with patients and their families.
"Though severely struck by the disease, Botswana has continued to fight back, and lately, with some success," Carr said. "These African nations all share the same grim problem and the same grim future if HIV/AIDS is not curbed. The disease will continue to kill entire generations, bankrupt the country, and completely destroy the economies and societies. HIV/AIDS is the biggest threat to peace on the African continent."