Urbana University hosted the opening of the Cities of Peace exhibit Monday with a panel discussion that included local officials speaking on how they contribute to making Urbana a city of peace.
The exhibit includes panels showing Cities of Peace from around the world including Urbana, designated as the 140th City of Peace.
The exhibit was held at the Urbana University Student Center’s Sara Landess Room and is being sponsored by the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund.
The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund was started in 2002 by her parents John and Bev Titus in memory of Alicia Titus, killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Titus was a flight attendant on United Airline Flight 175 that crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
Since the founding of the Peace Fund, Mrs. Titus said, there have been over 50 programs held on campus and in the local community to help promote a culture of peace.
On Monday, Mrs. Titus thanked the panel members for their contributions to a culture of peace.
“Thank you all so very much for agreeing to be part of the panel and share what you do to add value to our community and create a culture of peace,” she said.
Six people were on the panel including Urbana Mayor Bill Bean, Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell, Urbana City Schools teacher Corina Fain, Urbana University student and president of the Urbana University Student Athletic Advisory Committee Brandon McRae, Our Champaign Locally Grown representative and Hippie and the Farmer co-owner Pam Bowsier, and Shelley Harmon from Bridges Community Action Partnership.
Fred Arment, Executive Director of International Cities of Peace, said cities of peace are communities that have established a culture of peace based on values the residents of the city know.
“Urbana is really important because what you’ve put together here is a template for other organizations around the world,” Arment said. “I want to hold Urbana very, very high over the next year or two because what you’re doing, what all of you are doing is what needs to be done.”
Urbana University CEO Dr. Christopher Washington said it is an honor to have Urbana as a city of peace and the display to be represented at Urbana University.
“My hope through this exhibit and having the opportunity to host it here is that we remind ourselves of our responsibility as citizens to defeat injustices and to bring about a more peaceful and prosperous world,” Washington said.
The exhibit will be on display at the university through May 6.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777.