Hope Gallagher is a senior majoring in Liberal Studies with a supplementary major in Peace Studies. Originally from Larchmont, New York, she is passionate about listening to people affected by conflicts and is interested in restorative justice and institutional change. In this Student Q&A, Hope shares her plans after graduation and her experience at the Kroc.
Why did you decide to study Peace?
I chose peace because the major takes a pragmatic and empathetic approach to solving the world's problems. While we study and read a lot of theory, the crux of Peace Studies is that you should listen to the people who are affected by any given issue as they know best what they want and need and from there, you can come up with creative and innovative solutions to help based on data and past experience. I really enjoy how practice-oriented the major is and have had the most incredible professors who have all worked in the field. They continue to conduct research and bring invaluable first hand experience to class.
How would you describe your experience with the Kroc Institute?
All of my experiences with the Kroc Institute have been positive. They really care about students' success and have the resources to provide us with the support and services we need. Everyone is really kind and passionate about their work, which just gives the institute a really good energy.
This summer, you participated in the Madrasa Discourses intensive. How was it?
The Madrasa Discourses summer intensive was an amazing experience that truly expanded my horizons. Discussing crucial questions of constructing history, science, gender roles within religion, tradition, pluralism and modernity from an Islamic perspective was illuminating. I learned more about how other cultures approach these questions while questioning my own beliefs which are all informed by Christinianity and American culture. I felt really well prepared for the sessions because of courses I took as a part of my Peace Studies supplementary major. But when I was confused, scholars like Khan Asfandyar Shairani and Dr. Joshua Lupo were incredibly helpful and always able to provide extra context. Khan Asfandyar Shairani was particularly helpful in that he helped myself and the other Notre Dame students bridge the language gap by translating presentations that were given in Farsi or Arabic. Fortunately though, every participant spoke English, so myself and the students on the trip were able to discuss the presentations, our cultures and our beliefs over meals and Chai. A real strength of the organization of the program was that every Notre Dame student had roommates that were Madrasa students; for example, I had roommates from Pakistan and India. As roommates, we became friends and the room was a really nice informal setting to talk. I also became friends with all of the other Notre Dame students on the trip and had so much fun getting to know them all. It has been great to see them all now on campus and reminisce.
What is your dream professional path, and how is it connected to peace?
I am still figuring that out! Right now I am leaning toward law school and pursuing a path in which I could work to hold government agencies responsible for their actions and make sure they are providing their citizens with the resources they need to thrive, particularly surrounding education. I think my Peace Studies courses would provide an excellent foundation for both success in graduate school, as well as all the work I will do after.
Where do you see yourself on the Strategic Peacebuilding Wheel?
I think on the Peacebuilding Wheel I am most interested in structural and institutional change, but I am also a huge proponent of restorative justice!
Any fun facts about you?
After the Madrasa discourses concluded, I stayed in Nepal for an extra ten days and went on a seven day trek to the base camp of Annapurna, which is the tenth highest mountain in the world! My siblings joined me from the States and while it was an extremely difficult endeavor physically, I have never witnessed such incredible nature before. It was an amazing experience, only made possible by the Kroc Institute working with me and booking my return flight after my trek rather than when the rest of the students departed, for which I am extremely grateful.