Grant Award: Muslim Journeys Bookshelf

GCC Library & Learning Commons is one of 840 libraries and state humanities councils nationwide receiving this special collection of materials. It is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association ALA) Public Programs Office Bridging Cultures initiative, which aims to familiarize public audiences in the United States with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. A collection of twenty-five books and three films were awarded to each library. Additional materials included bookmarks, bookplates, posters and rights to host free public screenings of films.

The award came as a result of an application developed by a GCC team that included Clara Ogbaa, Director of Library Services, who will also serve as project coordinator for the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf; Susan Chenard and Renee Gaines, both Professors of English in the Humanities Department. GCC was among only 10 organizations to receive NEH awards here in Connecticut, and one of only two in New Haven. Additionally, GCC was the only community college among state awardees; joined by Southern Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University and the Suffield branch of the Lincoln College of New England as the only Connecticut institutions of higher education to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf.


Grant Award: USIP Public Education for Peacebuilding Support initiative

GCC Library and Learning Commons has received $2,000 in funding support from the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). With the funds, Gateway has established a new Peace Studies Special Collection which will serve as a resource center for educators, youth and families on topics related to nonviolence, justice and peacemaking. It will feature books, media sources and access to databases, focusing on nonviolent communication and international conflict resolution.

Dr. Ogbaa, Carol Brutza, a GCC Social Science professor of peace studies and language literacy, and Martha Hayes, humanities professor, who applied for the grant, are building the collection and will facilitate the discussion series. Gateway offers courses in peace and conflict studies and the college embeds civic action, mediation, healthy responses to violence, nonviolent communication and collaborative conflict resolution into its interdisciplinary curriculum. Violent conflict is one of the most serious problems in the world today, and New Haven directly attempts to address community violence. The Gateway community is actively involved in many organizations that seek to understand the causes of this conflict and to examine ways to transform the culture to one of building a peaceful society.

The United States Institute of Peace is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. USIP works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security. USIP is headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in Baghdad, Iraq, and Kabul, Afghanistan. “USIP is pleased to support organizations like Gateway Community College and their contribution to the national conversation around international conflict – and methods for resolving those conflicts nonviolently,” commented USIP President Jim Marshall. As part of its congressional mandate, USIP devotes a portion of its budget to support organizations that will advance the field of conflict management by developing new techniques, establishing best practices, and professionalizing the field through education and training. The Public Education for Peacebuilding Support is a program of USIP administered by the Institute of International Education.

The Library and Learning Commons, in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities departments, will host a discussion series, “Nonviolent Conflict Resolution: From the Personal to Communal, Local to Global.” The first in the series will be a March 7 film screening and a discussion led by scholars in the field. GCC will also hold a Big Read, a community-wide shared reading experience of a book with a theme of peace, and a book discussion on April 22.