Gerard Vanderhaar

This website is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Gerard A Vanderhaar (1931-2005), author of six books on nonviolence as well as numerous articles and other publications. He was Professor Emeritus of Religion and Peace Studies at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee,  where he taught for 28 years.

The Vanderhaar Symposium was founded in honor of Dr. Vanderhaar who spent his lifetime promoting peace through active nonviolence.
The symposium seeks to continue his legacy by bringing to Memphis a noted scholar or peace activist each year  to address social and moral issues related to peace and justice and/or Catholic social teaching.

Also, as part of the symposium, a mid-south area college student will be honored with the Gerard A. Vanderhaar Student Peace Award. This award is presented to a student who best exemplifies the spirit and practice of active nonviolence, consistent with Dr. Vanderhaar’s life and work.

Tributes and Obituary

Click here to view video of Ida-Maria Isasi-Diaz at the 2012 Vanderhaar Symposium

Click here to view video of our 2014 speaker, Malik Yakini

The 2015 Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium presents

Mend the Gap, Heal the Divides
First Congregational Church
October 30, 2015 • 7:30 pm

Fresh off her latest Nuns on the Bus tour in answer to Pope Franci's call that a "a healthy politics is sorely needed," Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, visits Memphis to share the stories she's gathered from America's heartland where she connected with those who have been marginalized by our nation's politics. In her talk, she will look to amplify the concerns of individuals, families, and communities in places dealing with injustice, poverty, and division,
Sister Simone Campbell has served as Executive Director of NETWORK since 2004. She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues.
During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous "nuns' letter" supporting the reform bill and got 59 leaders of Catholic Sisters, including LCWR, to sign on. This action was cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act. She was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.
In 2012, she was also instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. This budget would decimate programs meant to help people in need. “Nuns on the Bus” received an avalanche of attention across the nation from religious communities, elected officials and the media.
She recently led a new cross-country Nuns on the Bus trip (May 28 through June 18, 2013), focused on comprehensive immigration reform. 
Simone has often been featured in the national and international media, including recent appearances on 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
She has received numerous awards, including a “Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award” and the "Defender of Democracy Award" from the international Parliamentarians for Global Action. In addition, she has been the keynote or featured speaker at numerous large gatherings, including the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Congratulations to the 2013
Vanderhaar Student Peace Award Recipient

Frankie and his family have live in the Millington community since the mid-1990s. At Millington High School he served as both captain of the football team and Student Government President. He also became heavily involved with BRIDGES, a youth service and outreach program with a 90 year history in Memphis.
When considering college, Frankie says the choice was between West Point and Rhodes College.
“The tipping point was when I was selected to participate in a service scholarship program at Rhodes, called the Bonner Scholarship,” he writes. “The Bonner Program gave me the opportunity to dedicate my college years to the Memphis and Greater Memphis Community. In August of 2010, as a college freshman, I immediately consumed myself in the BRIDGES organization. I started as an intern in Curriculum Development, helped develop the pilot program BRIDGES Change, and then served as one of the first intern coordinators of that program. This service opened my eyes to the potential change that young people could make in their communities.”
In May 2012, at the age of 19, Frankie left his role at BRIDGES to mount a campaign for Millington Alderman. After a summer of fundraising and door to door campaigning, he became the first teenager elected alderman in the city’s history, making him the youngest current elected official in Tennessee.

Panel of Community Organizers addressed Urban Social Conflict at 2013 Vanderhaar Symposium

The Eighth Annual Vanderhaar Symposium held March 14th at Christian Brothers University focused on peacemaking at home, as a distinguished panel of community organizers explored a variety of ways to confront issues that threaten to divide us and create injustice. Attendees were treated to a brilliant exchange of ideas as the four local panelists addressed issues regarding immigration, gang violence, racism, labor rights and other challenges. The program, entitled “Communities Engaged in Resolving Urban Social Conflict,” explored steps to bring positive change to our neighborhoods, city, county, nation and the world.
Panelist included (from left) Malik Shaw, Vice Principal of Pleasant View Islamic School and co-founder of the American Muslim Intercultural Network; Delvin Lane, leader of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s Gang Violence Prevention Team; Kyle Kordsmeier, Organizing Director of the Workers Interfaith Network and Gabriela Benitez, coordinator of the West Tennessee’s Immigration and Refugee Coalition.

Click here to view video of our 2013 Vanderhaar Symposium Panel

For more information on the Vanderhaar Symposium Speakers, please click here
Bishop Gumbleton Jeanette Rodriguez Bryan Massingale Jane Goodall Joan Chittister Patrick Ryan Isasi-Diaz Isasi-Diaz Isasi-Diaz
Bishop Thomas
Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Rev. Bryan
Goodall, Ph.D., DBE
Chittister, OSB
Ryan, SJ
Ida Maria
Isasi-Diaz, Ph.D.
Panel - Shaw, Lane,
Kordsmeier, Benitez