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Department of Sociology

  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
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Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention: About the Center

The Virginia Tech Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention is an academic and research organization whose vision builds on the cultural initiatives that evolved within the Virginia Tech community after the tragedy of April 16, 2007.  The Center's educational mission envisions a world informed by cross-disciplinary work in violence prevention research, education, and hands-on learning experience.


Advance scholarship, practice violence prevention, and promote peace and human security, engaging with local and global communities.


Foster cross-disciplinary research, education, and development of leadership opportunities for the 21st century.

The Center's mission centers on inter-organizational partnership building, with the goal of fostering creative approaches to the study and practice of the prevention of violence.

Academics and Interdisciplinary Community

The CPSVP has developed an Undergraduate Minor in Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, under its own course catalog designation, "PSVP".  Faculty and students from numerous departments are affiliated with the Center, including Sociology, Philosophy, Geography, Political Science, and Agricultural and Applied Economics.  The Center is also affiliated with Psychology, Theatre Arts, Religion and Culture, History, Green Engineering, and Human Development.  The University Curriculum Committee has approved the minor, and introductory course, and a capstone seminar course.  Courses are being taught by faculty across Virginia Tech and have also brought in visiting instructors from outside organizations such as the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC).

In its role as an innovative hub for transdisciplinary research, education, service learning, and outreach, the CPSVP organizes educational conferences and symposia that bring together scholars, practitioners, and other members of the community in a dynamic learning environment dedicated to the study and prevention of violence in global and local contexts.


The CPSVP will advance the scholarship and practice of violence prevention and peace by:

  • Providing opportunities for students to prevent violence and build peace.
  • Fostering integration of disciplines in the creation of new knowledge and skills. 
  • Ensuring development of engaged leadership for working with youth at risk.


Objectives and Achievements:

  • We are working to establish a network of collaborators to seek out and secure competitive funding for the cross-disciplinary and cross-organizational projects. Our first Summit will take place at the Hotel Roanoke in April, 2015.
  • We continually organize and contribute to workshops, seminars, conferences, and other programs related to prevention of violence, peace and justice. Our ongoing series on Human Rights, Reconciliation, and Community Resiliency draws audiences from numerous disciplines as well as the outside community.
  • The Center successfully organized its third biannual Student Symposium for Violence Prevention, "Cultivating Peace: An International Symposium for Violence Prevention," on the Virginia Tech campus in February 2015.  The weekend event featured a keynote and workshop by Timothy Phillips, an active peacebuilder and longtime advocate for green energy, founder of the organization, Beyond Conflict. A workshop was also led by filmmaker Adam Mazo, founder of Amazo/UpStander Productions. Mr. Mazo also presented a screening of his powerful feature-length documentary, "Coexist," on the quest for community reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda
  • Under the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (CLAHS), in affiliation with a network of international peace and violence prevention scholars, we have published a collaborative work of scholarship on violence within and between demographic groups.  The publication was refined and discussed in depth at an international conference and working group in Rabat, Morocco in fall 2013.
  • In spring 2012, the CPSVP co-sponsored an initiative to design Norris Garden, a peaceful green space envisioned as the flagship station on the Hokie Spirit Garden Trail.  We are seeking funding to bring this project to fruition. We are seeking major funding to initiate and continue this project.
  • Since our inception, we have sponsored the Students for Non-Violence (SNV) undergraduate/graduate student club, and served in an advisory capacity in its ongoing mission to connect students across the campus in a spirit of public service and compassionate leadership. The SNV club has been affiliated with the on-campus Peace Garden, on Washington Street near Cassell Coliseum.
  • In affiliation with the VT Victims' Families Foundation, the Center continues to contribute to the post-traumatic healing process of the victim families and friends, injured students and alumni, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg community, and others affected by the tragedy of April 16, 2007.  Whenever our doors are open, we welcome visitors who are recovering from their experiences on that day.
  • The CPSVP continues to offer a capstone seminar: "Global Society, Violence, and Prospects for Peace."  The Center's Director continues to teach an undergraduate course on "Peace and Violence as Critical Incidents" and oversee advanced undergraduate student research projects.