CRS’ Fr. Headley to take peace studies post at U. San Diego

Fr. Bill Headley, counselor to CRS President Ken Hackett and an internationally recognized expert on peace building, has agreed to become the dean of the newly formed Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. Here is an article on his appointment from Catholic New Service.


CRS official to take peace studies post at University of San Diego
By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Spiritan Father William Headley, currently counselor to the president at Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, has been appointed the founding dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, scheduled to open in the fall.

Father Headley will assume the new post at the Catholic university Aug. 1.

For CRS, he has helped to oversee its relief, development, and justice and peace programs, as well as participate in critical decision-making activities to establish strategic directions for CRS, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency.

In a May 11 telephone interview from Baltimore with Catholic News Service, Father Headley said one thing he would miss about his CRS experience is “hands-on service to the poor in a peace-building capacity.”

He added, “I am not unhappy at CRS. There is a great sadness at leaving here.” One concept he has in mind with his new ministry, though, is “bridging the work at the university and the work we do here.”

Father Headley has an extensive background in peace and justice work. In 1987, he started his order’s first international justice and peace office in Rome, and directed it for five years.

During that time, he used a sabbatical to research grass-roots peacemaking efforts in Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, South Africa and Haiti, spending two months in each locale. It is a time he remembers fondly.

At the time of his sabbatical, he told CNS, “they were the hot spots in the world. (Nelson) Mandela had not come out of prison yet (in South Africa). Northern Ireland was still in the throes of its (separatist) intensity. Palestine was moving in and out, depending on what else was happening politically.”

South Africa, he recalled, “was a very special situation.” In pre-Internet days, “oftentimes the group that I was associated with … would serve to gather the basic information (on the continuing anti-apartheid struggle) while the news was still quite fresh.”

In Northern Ireland during the summertime “marching season,” when Catholic-Protestant antagonisms threatened to add more fuel to the sectarian fire, “there would be a group from the house I was staying in that would go out and serve as monitors” during the marches.

The marching season lasts from Easter until the end of August, with Protestant fraternities staging thousands of parades, some through areas predominantly populated by Catholics.

In Palestine, according to Father Headley, “you could get on a certain bus at a certain corner on a certain evening” and be driven to a dwelling to take part in a Jewish-Palestinian dialogue. While the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “certainly has seemed relatively intractable to this moment, it certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking at new ways” to resolve it, he added.

“Lots of peace people are working in the background … working diligently,” Father Headley said. “It’s struck me many times as I go around the world: If a conflict is intense, you find groups among them working very diligently to bring about something that is peaceful.”

In July 1993, Father Headley established a graduate program in conflict resolution and peace studies at Spiritan-run Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. In addition to his advanced degrees he has done postdoctoral work in Virginia at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

While the University of San Diego currently has academic and nonacademic peacemaking programs, they’re “all kind of spread out and separated,” he told CNS. “They need to be creatively bundled in a way that’s appropriate for the school.”

Father Headley also alluded to the “large military community in San Diego,” and the university’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexican border as further opportunities for peacemaking. “If you could take Iraq out of the question, border security would be a major concern,” he said.

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3 Responses to “CRS’ Fr. Headley to take peace studies post at U. San Diego”

  1. odqnseiwor Says:

    Hello! Good Site! Thank you!

  2. deborah headley rowell Says:

    Fr. Headley,

    So interesting about you!

    I had an uncle, Bill Headley, who served and died in WWII.

    I have been looking for infomation about him when I came across you.

  3. crays Says:

    thanks you

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