LOWELL -- UMass Lowell's annual Day Without Violence will take place on Tuesday, April 8, at the O'Leary Library Learning Commons on UMass Lowell's South Campus at 12:30 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Justice Albie Sachs, an anti-apartheid advocate from South Africa who has been named UML's 2014 Greeley Scholar for Peace.
Sachs is a member of the African National Congress, a judge, author and teacher. Early in his career, Sachs represented defendants who were charged under South African laws shaped by apartheid. In 1963, he was arrested twice under a law that allowed the government to detain political prisoners. In 1966, Sachs went into exile but stayed connected to South African politics. For 11 years, he taught and studied law in England and later worked as a law professor and legal researcher in Mozambique. While in that country's capital in 1988, he lost an arm and was partially blinded by a bomb planted in his car by South African security forces. In 1994, then-President Mandela named him as a judge to the country's first Constitutional Court, capping his work in the ANC to help establish South Africa as a democracy and draft its constitution. Since his retirement from the court in 2009, Sachs has traveled the world to share his insights about South Africa and to help heal divided societies.
The Greeley Scholar for Peace Studies is selected annually in recognition of the honoree's distinguished humanitarian achievements and ability to effectively promote peace and conflict resolution at the local, regional, national or international level. The honor is named for Rev. Dana McLean Greeley, an internationally respected advocate for peace, human and civil rights, and a longtime Unitarian Universalist minister in Concord.
The event is free and open to the public. For information on the Day Without Violence, visit uml.edu/Research/PACSI/Day-Without-Violence.aspx.
Other special events:
- "Reflections on Peace-Building" -- Wednesday, April 9, 12:30 p.m., in Comley-Lane Theatre in Mahoney Hall on South Campus at 870 Broadway St. Sachs and past recipients of the honor including Leymah Gbowee, Linda Biehl and Padraig O'Malley will deliver a free public program on how to transcend conflicts and unite people.
- Greeley Peace Scholars Benefit Reception - Wednesday, April 9, 5-7 p.m., followed by a reception until 9:30 p.m. at UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St. Sachs, Gbowee, Biehl and O'Malley will be the honored guests at a gala to benefit the Greeley Scholar endowment. Includes a discussion about peace and conflict resolution moderated by Marcellette Williams, University of Massachusetts senior vice president of academic affairs, student affairs and international relations. Tickets are $75 per person. For details, visit uml.edu/Greeley-fundraiser.
- Nelson Mandela Memorial Groundbreaking -- Thursday, April 10, 11 a.m., western lawn, Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way; UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, Sachs, public officials and members of the local African American Alliance will help break ground on a city of Lowell memorial that will pay tribute to Mandela, who was Sachs' friend and colleague. Free and open to the public. A reception inside the Tsongas Center will follow.
- "Soft Vengeance in a Violent World" -- Sunday, April 13, 3:30 p.m., Congregation Kerem Shalom, 659 Elm St., Concord. During this free public event, Sachs will discuss his work with Mandela to achieve peace in South Africa.
-- PETE MCQUAID