Vanderhaar Symposium
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Vanderhaar Symposium


For 28 years, Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar was a professor of religion at Christian Brothers University. During his tenure, Dr. Vanderhaar was instrumental in starting the Peace Studies Minor program; was involved in bringing the Gandhi Institute to CBU; and brought speakers and peace and justice events to campus. A prolific writer, Dr. Vanderhaar authored six books and numerous articles including, Beyond Violence: In the Spirit of the Nonviolent Christ, the 1998 winner of the Pope Paul VI Book Award. In recognition of his wife’s work in promoting active nonviolence, Dr. and Mrs. Vanderhaar were co-recipients of the Dozier Award at CBU in 2003.

Locally, Dr. Vanderhaar was a founder of and served on the Board of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. At the national and international level, Vanderhaar played a key role in the founding of Pax Christi, USA, which emerged as part of an international Catholic Peace Movement following World War II. He twice chaired the National Council of Pax Christi, USA and served as the first editor of the Pax Christi newsletter. He played a key role in helping to develop Bishop Dozier’s influential pastoral on the Vietnam War, “Peace: Gift and Task.”   

Since 2005, Christian Brothers University has hosted the annual Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium in honor of Vanderhaar’s lifetime spent promoting peace and active nonviolence. The Symposium features a noted speaker who addresses a social and moral issue related to peace and justice and/or Catholic social teaching. Open to the public, this evening event includes the presentation of the Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar Student Peace Award to a Mid-South university student who has been involved in peace and justice work in our community.


Stephanie Teatro: 2018 Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium Speaker

7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 12
University Theater

Please join us for the thirteenth annual Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium on Thursday, April 12, to hear from Stephanie Teatro, the Co-Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), the state's preeminent organization working on immigration policy. Through community organizing, policy advocacy, and civic engagement, TIRRC works to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. TIRRC also leads award-winning initiatives to bring U.S-born Tennesseans together with their new immigrant neighbors to reduce tensions, build more welcoming communities, and strengthen our multicultural democracy. A national leader in efforts to defend America's proud history of welcoming refugees, Stephanie is the co-author of the report Countering the Backlash: Strategies for Responding to Anti-Refugee and Xenophobic Activity from the New South. She is an executive committee member of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and a board member of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). A Canadian by birth, Stephanie has called Nashville home since 2011.

Kevyanna Rawls: 2018 Student Peace Award Recipient

Kevyanna Rawls is a junior at the University of Memphis, double majoring in English and African American Studies with double minors in Sociology and Spanish, from Little Rock, Arkansas. Kevyanna serves as the vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA) where she advocates for more inclusive legislation that welcomes students from various cultures, ethnicities, and races. During her term, Kevyanna was able to implement a diversity and inclusion committee within SGA’s legislative branch, orchestrate and lead the University’s sexual assault awareness and prevention programs, and work with administrators to facilitate conversations with students regarding sexual assault and freedom of speech. Kevyanna was also recently voted to serve as SGA President for the 18-19 academic year.

In addition to her involvement with SGA, Kevyanna has had the opportunity to oversee an Alternative Spring Break Trip to Atlanta to impact the lives of over 700 people through various service activities. She is also a Truman Scholar finalist, Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa inductee and serves on the Strategic Planning Committee for the University of Memphis. After graduation, Kevyanna intends to pursue her JD and MPP with hopes of becoming a Civil Rights lawyer and going into to public policy.