A Scholar and Peace Educator
Amy Cox, PhD, earned her doctorate in Political Science from McGill University, an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from Arcadia University, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Temple University. Dr. Cox’s scholarly expertise is in non-traditional international security, particularly political violence, ethnic conflict, and terrorism. She has completed fieldwork in Quebec and Ireland. Dr. Cox is a scholar-practitioner, facilitating numerous conflict resolution workshops including Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops at Graterford Prison. She was awarded the United States Institute of Peace to Support Public Education for Peacebuilding grant to support the IPCR Forum on Transforming Conflict and Building Peace in 2013. Her more recent scholar-practitioner interests include developing approaches to conflict and trauma healing, emotional learning and conflict resolution, and grassroots peace building. She is currently the Director of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
What are some of the websites that you visit after you get up and why?
I listen to the BBC and NPR to get headline news, and I check social media sites to see what is trending.
Tell me about a book that has had an impact on your life and why.
There are so many its impossible to name only one.Dostoevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor, which is a poem in the Brother’s Karamazov, speaks to my intellect. I have a particularly contentious relationship with organized religion and this poem so brilliantly illuminates the role of power in truth-telling.
Pema Chodrun’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice in Difficult Times speaks to my soul. There is a lot of unnecessary suffering in the world and some days it is hard to bear. She reminds me that this is life – it is not easy, it is challenging and my purpose is to be conscious, be present, and to serve others.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe was also really enlightening because it helped me understand the colonial experience.
I could go on and on.
Who are your favourite authors?
Camus, Foucault, Erich Fromm, Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre, Neitzsche, Betty Reardon, Pema Chodrun, Thich Naht Han, Franz Fanon, Thoreau, Paulo Freire, Paulo Coehlo, Hannah Arendt, George Orwell
What historical figure do you identify with?
It’s an unfair question: either one is inflating one’s ego or denying it. As a woman I thank god every day I live in the present moment. I aspire to be as prolific, philosophically astute and liberated as Simone de Beauvoir, but in a modern sense.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Survivors: Recovering addicts, rape survivors, returning vets with PSTD, all of those people who struggle on a daily basis to survive, stay sane, and heal from the past. It’s intensely emotional and painful to open old wounds and clean them out. Most people don’t or can’t do it, yet it’s the only thing that liberates us from insanity.
What is your favourite occupation?
Whatever increases one’s happiness quotient. Life is too short to be miserable unnecessarily, I only wish everyone could be paid for work they love to do. I love to writer, to think, and to talk.
What influenced your career path?
There was no path. I stumbled through the forest and ended up here driven by passion, curiosity and a desire to serve.
What do you like about what you do?
I love learning, reading and writing. I don’t like to write for academic journals per say; I’m not a rationalist or a positivist. I like to write memories and reflective pieces — often just for myself, although I aspire to write more philosophy. Philosophy is my greatest love.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?