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The University’s annual Adela Dwyer St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award honors an important and implicit part of our education and growth as humans: how to establish and sustain peace. Peace and justice permeate the conditions that allow for our flourishing, whether on a personal or communal level, or in social, academic, or economic spheres. The quality and limits of our conditions are defined by the ways in which peace and equality exist in society. Our conception of the good life is inextricably attached to our conception of peace, and our realization of the good life is therefore governed by our realization of peace.

The Center for Peace and Justice Education awards individuals or groups who exhibit and promote moral imagination, a valuable skill that, beneath the surface of particular majors and programs, is cultivated by the University’s curriculum. One develops a moral imagination through immersion into a community oriented toward the values of peace and justice. The University’s ethos of Veritas, Unitas and Caritas succeeds in doing so, as core teachings and campus events give students exposure to such values in a variety of disciplines and mediums. The utility of an education is not limited to preparation for one’s career. It also prepares one for the pursuit of the good life in both present and in future endeavors.

However, the Center for Peace and Justice Education sets forth another criterion: recognition of the relationship of peace in human conditions. Adding a dynamic element to the concept of peace, this allows it to be adapted and transposed to the changing modern world, producing challenges for us as the future generation.

Wendell Berry’s charge that peace is found through a simple life and a return to an agrarian societal organization of the past is somewhat impractical and incongruous with the advances of modern society, rejecting the potential upside of urban life or industrialization. Nevertheless, he lives out his message by changing his own conditions, making an effort to maintain a scrupulous commitment to peace.

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