Mary Baldwin to House International Beliefs Organization

December 9, 2009

Building on the reputation of its Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, Mary Baldwin University is the new home for a developing international effort that examines how human beliefs and values influence the actions, policies, and practices of individuals, groups, organizations, governments, and societies. That’s the mission of the International Beliefs and Values Institute, or IBAVI, which relocated from James Madison University to Mary Baldwin this month.

Mary Baldwin hosted a brief reception at the Spencer Center on December 10 where IBAVI founder and director Craig Shealy joined Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox to sign a resolution that solidified the partnership. In welcoming Shealy and the Institute, Dr. Fox said she is confident that the partnership will create a “powerful correlation in years to come.”

Shealy expressed his “heartfelt appreciation” to Mary Baldwin, adding that he knew a little about the college before talks started about locating IBAVI here, but did not realize the depth of work being done here.

“I am honored to be affiliated with this college and its leaders,” Shealy said.

IBAVI is a perfect complement to the Spencer Center, which was established in 2007 to promote engaged learning and service at the local, national, and international level. Much like the staff at the Spencer Center, Shealy said he, too, hopes to make use of the best that Mary Baldwin has to offer — its students.

“Bright, motivated students who are interested in our mission are encouraged to get in touch,” he said.

IBAVI has grown from a grant-funded project led by a few professors responding to the traumatic events of September 11, 2001, to a non-profit worldwide network that publishes a scholarly journal with articles from international experts and is working to produce a professional television series and other resources. IBAVI works primarily in six areas: conflict resolution, human and minority rights, sustainability, equal treatment and access, global education, and religious and cultural understanding.

“We hope to develop joint work where our missions overlap,” said Heather Ward, director of international program at Mary Baldwin.

Mary Baldwin administrators will work with Shealy to organize conferences and projects that incorporate Mary Baldwin initiatives with ideas from other colleges, universities, and beliefs and values organizations. Mary Baldwin’s minor in peacemaking and conflict resolution and social entrepreneurship movement are logical starting points for IBAVI projects.

Learn more about IBAVI at www.ibavi.org.