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Hope Elizabeth May

Teaching about peace in South Korea

CMU professor receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award

Contact: Heather Smith

​A Central Michigan University philosophy professor is teaching this semester at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies at Kyung Hee University in Namyangju, South Korea, through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

Hope Elizabeth May credits her former student and 2014 graduate Ben Harris for inspiring her to compete for the distinguished Fulbright opportunity. Harris was awarded a Fulbright English teaching assistant grant in South Korea in 2013.

“We’re not born with innate knowledge of the personalities driving the peace-through-law movement. Their stories have to be transmitted again and again.”
— Hope Elizabeth May

"Ben brought the Fulbright program to life for me," May said. "I was doing quite a bit of guest lecturing in South Korea and often would see Ben when I did. Through our conversations and meetings, I became interested in pursuing a Fulbright grant, and the opportunity of teaching at a graduate school devoted to peace studies in Korea seemed like the natural thing to do."

May's Fulbright project title is "The Virtues of Untold Stories: Peace History of the United States and Korea." She'll teach in South Korea through December.

Stories of international law and ethics

As an educator, May creates innovative educational activities to introduce students and the public to international law

May, who also has a law degree, directs the CMU Center for International Ethics and is internationally recognized for her work on international law and its connection to the 19th century peace-through-law tradition of The Hague in the Netherlands.

The Hague is home to numerous international courts, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

Hope Elizabeth May

Philosophy faculty member Hope Elizabeth May (center) chats with students and faculty at the annual peace flag ceremony at Central Michigan University.

May's efforts include developing a study abroad course focused on the International Criminal Court, the United States and The Hague. She also has organized international master classes on peace history, as well as an annual ceremony to raise a symbolic peace flag at the Peace Palace in The Hague and at CMU.

She recently published, in partnership with the Peace Palace Library in The Hague, the first complete English translation of Bertha von Suttner's "The Barbarization of the Sky." Suttner was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1905) and is credited with inspiring Alfred Nobel to create the prize.

May focuses on the peace movement work of the early 1900s before World War I, in which Korea was involved, and at a time when the country still was unified.

"There were numerous visionaries involved in the 19th century peace-through-law movement. Some of these individuals were in Korea, and some of them were based right here in Mount Pleasant, such as CMU's own E.C. Warriner," May said. "We're not born with innate knowledge of the personalities driving the peace-through-law movement. Their stories have to be transmitted again and again."

May said she hopes her Fulbright experience will help link the peace histories of the United States, The Hague and Korea. She also hopes to build educational opportunities for CMU students during her time in South Korea.

About the Fulbright Program

May is one of more than 1,200 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and provide expertise abroad for the 2017-18 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. It's designed to build relations among the people of the United States and the people of other countries to solve global challenges.

Fulbright award recipients are selected based on academic and professional achievement, as well as service and leadership in their fields.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges – from sustainable energy and climate change to public health and food security – while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the U.S. and the world. Fifty-four Fulbright alumni have received the Nobel Prize, 82 have received Pulitzer Prizes and 33 have served as a head of state or government.

Fulbright recipients are among more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars administers the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

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