GV to rededicate Peace Pole for 10th anniversary

Rachel Matuszewski, Staff Reporter

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Grand Valley State University is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Peace Pole, which stands outside Lake Ontario Hall. The rededication ceremony for the landmark will be in Lake Ontario Hall on Sept. 20, the day before International Peace Day. 

“It’s kind of a representation of a universal or worldwide hope for peace on earth,” said Brooks College office assistant Aubrey Dull.

The Peace Pole has the phrase “may peace prevail on earth” inscribed on it in eight different languages including Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, Potawatomi, Hindi, Swahili, English and Spanish. Another similar pole on campus can be found outside the Honors College. 

The rededication at GVSU will be brief, only about five minutes in length, but holds meaning behind every word. It will be a similar ceremony to the first installation of the pole, put on by the Padnos International Center and the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. The interim dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies Mark Schaub will give short remarks. He plans to explain the reasoning behind the silence of the eighth language, Potawatomi, to pay respects to the native speakers, the Odawa and Ojibwe people, who settled along the Grand River near GVSU’s campus. 

Next, GVSU faculty members will vocalize their hope for peace to prevail on earth, beginning with Provost and academic president of student affairs Maria Cimitile. Following her will be English professor Shinian Wu in Mandarin, Shardul Kachare in Hindi, Aya Hansan in Arabic, followed by coordinator of faculty-led programs at the Padnos International Center Elena Selezneva in Russian. Alejandra Zamora Hernandez will speak in Spanish and Mark Musyoka will speak in Swahili. Finally, Cimitile will repeat her first line. 

A reception will preside in Lake Ontario Hall after the rededication. Schaub encourages all to join, but expects many attendants to be Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies faculty and staff. 

“Peace Poles are visible reminders for us to be our best selves, as a species,” Schaub said. “The folks who install and maintain them aspire to be true peacemakers, whether in their office, their family, their nation, their world. We don’t always succeed, but we certainly will not and should not stop trying.” 

According the UN.org, the International Day of Peace began in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, committed to peace above all differences and working to build a culture of peace. The International Peace Day theme is “Climate Action for Peace.” On Sept. 23, the United Nations plans to find solutions at a Climate Action Summit to focus on solving climate change. By searching for answers, they hope to further peace and protect peace in our world.