Holy Cross Philosophy Professor Receives Fulbright to Research ‘Peace, Nonkilling, and Humanity’

Travels to India will inform faculty member
April 17th, 2012 by 

Photo by: John Buckingham

Predrag Cicovacki, professor of philosophy and director of Peace and Conflict Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, will be a Senior Fulbright-Nehru Fellow at the Malaviya Centre for Peace Research at Banaras University in Varanasi, India in the fall semester, where he will undertake a teaching and research project titled “Educating for Peace, Nonkilling, and Humanity.”

Cicovacki, of Auburn, Mass., is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-13.

Long committed to educating younger generations toward building a more just and humane world, Cicovacki is interested in augmenting how to teach about nonviolence and nonkilling. India is one of the best places in the world to learn about the tradition of nonviolence and nonkilling because of its unique religious, cultural and political history, he says.

In addition to teaching a course titled “The Western Tradition of Nonviolence,” Cicovacki will observe how education for peace is being conducted at the Malaviya Centre. He is especially interested to learn how Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy is being preserved and continued in India.

Gandhi gave the greatest impetus for a widespread use of nonviolence and remains the most important figure to study, Cicovacki says. He is particularly interested in the influence that religion played on Gandhi’s views and conduct, and especially in the role of Jainism — with its emphasis on nonkilling — on Gandhi’s thoughts and action. Cicovacki plans to spend a portion of his research activity by living for two to three weeks in a Jain community, where he plans to learn firsthand not only what the Jain approach involves, but how it is practiced and disseminated.

The trip to India will help Cicovacki restructure the current Peace and Conflict Studies program upon his return to Holy Cross. “I believe that after getting acquainted with how peace programs are being structured and run in India, I may bring some useful and fresh ideas about what kind of changes need to be implemented at Holy Cross,” he wrote in his proposal.

A native of Yugoslavia, Cicovacki, who describes himself as a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the world, has traveled to about 40 different countries, and lectured all over the world. After his first trip to India in 2007 and the exposure to Hinduism and Jainism, he became a vegetarian. He has also visited China three times, a country which fascinates him so much he has started studying Chinese (Mandarin) and Chinese philosophy and literature.

Cicovacki earned his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and his B.A. from the University of Belgrade in Yugoslavia. A member of the Holy Cross faculty since 1991, he was the editor-in-chief of “Diatoma: A Philosophical Review,” the College’s philosophical journal, from 2000 to 2002. Cicovacki has published more than 70 essays and papers and authored or edited about 10 books, including the recently released “Dostoevsky and the Affirmation of Life” and “The Restoration of Albert Schweitzer’s Ethical Vision.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

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