Peace in the Basque Country
The recent trip to the Basque Country examined the Spain–Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) conflict, an armed political conflict from 1959 to 2011, and the peace-building strategies to deal with the historical memory of violence.
“To meet the victims and politicians who endured the conflict gave us new, more emotional, and in-depth insight into what navigating a conflict looks like and how difficult, but worthwhile peace in a society is,” Ayesha Iqbal (SFS'22) said.
Alonso Sáenz de Oger challenged her students to apply their experience in the Basque Country to questions about the nature of conflict and possibilities for reconciliation.
“At the end of the course I have encouraged students to engage in a normative reflection about the use of violence for achieving political goals, its consequences over whole societies, and the prospects for peace in post-conflict situations,” said Alonso Sáenz de Oger.
Jesuit Values in Action
Students in the spring course originate from Egypt, Sudan, Bahrain, Malaysia, Qatar, Syria, France, Algeria, Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Palestine, Somalia, and the United States, reflecting the diversity of Georgetown’s GU-Q campus.
“All of the people we met were fascinated by our diversity, which added to the discussions both in class and on the trip,” said Salma Hassan (SFS’20).
Alonso Sáenz de Oger highlighted the group’s coordinated activities with the Institute of Applied Ethics of the University of Deusto, a Jesuit university. Students were encouraged to reflect about the normative and ethical challenges of building peace in a society broken by violence.
“This is a learning experience that neither the students nor myself will ever forget,” Alonso Sáenz de Oger said.
“This aligns with Georgetown's objectives of providing students with formative experiences through which they can learn Jesuit values.”
Ultimately, students found the course not only academically fulfilling, but also significant to their personal growth and pursuit of making a difference in the world.
“It was honestly the most life-changing experience for me and the highlight of my freshman year,” Iqbal said of the program. “The course, though demanding, challenged me in the best way, and I believe it has contributed a lot to my growth as a novice researcher, student, and a global citizen aspiring for a peaceful world.”