Ted Herman (1913-2010)

By Ian Harris | 2011-04-01 13:00:00

Ted Herman was a pioneer in the peace studies community. He was one of many Quaker scholar/midwives who helped nurture the field of peace studies in the 1960s. He founded a peace studies program at Colgate University in New York at the height of the Vietnam War. This program now has both a minor and a major in peace and conflict studies.

Ted Herman grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1935. He completed a Ph.D. in geography at the University of Washington. In the interim he taught in China. He became a professor of geography at Colgate in 1955, and in 1971 founded one of the earliest peace studies programs in the United States. He inspired many students to study nonviolence and pursue careers devoted to peace. Because of Ted the Colgate program emphasizes geography and global trouble spots, integrating trans-disciplinary academic approaches with the study of particular regional conflicts.

Ted Herman was a fantastic mentor. He mentored me and many other young professors in the 1980s who were attracted to peace studies in response to the growing nuclear threat. I well remember meeting with him at conferences of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education, and Development (COPRED) and International Peace Research Association (IPRA). He brought together enemies on multiple sides of the Balkan conflict. In his retirement he often visited the Balkans, trying to get Serbs to talk to people from Bosnia-Herzegovina. He helped establish a peace studies program in Macedonia.

Towards the end of his life Herman threw his considerable talents behind the International Peace Research Association Foundation (IPRAF), which has carried out research projects in the Balkans and the Middle East. It offers women from developing countries scholarships to study peace at the graduate level. Ted Herman is held in the hearts of hundreds of peace educators.

By Ian Harris

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2011

Peace Magazine Apr-Jun 2011, page 29. Some rights reserved.

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