Dear TLED Team,

Today, as we remember the victims and heroes of 9/11,  Austin Peace Day initiatives begin.

From today until the International Day of Peace on Sept 21, Austin and the world will see compassion games, presentations, speakers, art, dance, music and hear poems for peace. “Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.” (  In Austin, this movement was inspired in part by one of my high school teachers in Indonesia who is now also a colleague, mentor and friend, Latifah Taormina. I’ve known Latifah for more than 30 years, and during her time in Austin leading the Cultural Alliance and Circle of Theaters , she was an ardent supporter who tirelessly championed the cause of peace with themes like, “Choose not to hate.”

Local agencies and organizations, including ACC, have been involved in this work from the onset.

  • Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at ACC – Founded by Professor Shirin Khosropour, PhD, the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) program engages students in various topics through the lens of human rights, social justice, conflict studies and peace processes. Issues related to these pillars are explored on the interpersonal, local, national, and international levels.
  • AISD’s Whole Child/Every Child focus includes a plan for integrating the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate campaign. The campaign highlights student coalitions that plan and implement projects and activities, resulting in students owning the projects and being responsible for enacting the campaign’s main beliefs. No Place for Hate was developed to help schools work together and develop projects that enhance the appreciation of diversity, and foster harmony among diverse groups.
  • Austin Chapter of the United Nations Association 3rd annual Pathway to Peace event on September 21st, 2019 in partnership with GlobalAustin and Bahai house of worship.
  • ACC Library Lib Guide – Interdisciplinary Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies Lib Guide houses a wealth of articles and resources.

As an educational institution and as a community, we have a call to action. We can all get involved in some way by participating in existing events and programs or making our own. What will you do?

In times of uncertainty or tension, I challenge all of us to keep these words and the premise of their purpose in mind and heart. Choose not to hate – No place for hate. Avoiding negative or derogatory speech is not easy when emotions are high, but if we make a concerted effort to take a look at words and messages, and use the lens of compassion and empathy, the next time our words may be a little more hopeful, a little more positive, and a little more peaceful.

There are many good people in the world….let us strive to exemplify the message of peace.

Peace be with you all
Assalamu ‘Alaikum السلام عليكم
que la paz esté con ustedes

Peace out –



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Susan M. Thomason, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President, TLED

Austin Community College District

5930 Middle Fiskville Rd. Austin, Texas 78752

512.223.7796 / 512.223.7667  |