UIW SPS Student takes part in Global Online Peace Game

May 10, 2024

Kira Gonzalez part of Global Program to promote Peace on Earth by 2030

San Antonio – May 10, 2024 – “My experience was incredible.”

Kira GonzalezThat is the way Kira Gonzalez, a Psychology student in the University of Incarnate Word School of Professional Studies (UIW SPS), describes what happened in her life after taking part in a program known as the Global Online Peace Game.

The initiative was created and hosted by The Empowerment Institute, which was founded in 1981 by David Gershon and Gail Straub. According to the group, the Institute has been a global leader for four decades in applying behavior change, community empowerment and transformative social change methodologies to address humanity’s greatest challenges and opportunities. The Peace Game is part of the Institute’s effort to promote Peace on Earth by 2030.

“I saw that Sister Martha Ann had announced the opportunity,” recalls Gonzalez. “I had taken a course with her about a year ago and value so much what I learned. So, I thought that anything Sister Martha was promoting was worth looking into.”

“Kira was so fine serving through the ‘Compassionate Integrity Training’ series,” says Sister Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI. “Then she was willing to go into a deeper level of service with the ‘Peace on Earth’ series.”

A group of six individuals affiliated with the University of the Incarnate Word participated in the eight-week Peace Game program along with approximately 110 individuals from various global locations. Over the course of those eight weeks, participants took part in weekly assignments that covered several topics: empowerment, oneness, unity, cooperation, abundance, love and faith. Each topic provided an opportunity for personal growth, through community, patience and love. The participants were divided into international teams. Kira’s team included Dana Osaily from Hebron, Palestine and local businessman Mark Wittig, who also serves on the UIW Board of Trustees.

“I would say the biggest thing I learned would be self-empowerment,” says Gonzalez. “It’s the first topic discussed and it’s quite literally the foundation to peace.”

“The program is very thoughtful,” says Wittig. “When you water a new transplanted tree, you water slowly so the water does not roll off but goes deep. Their process has many layers and is very intentional. I would highly recommend it. Many people, and I will be one of them, take the course a second time to increase the opportunity for it to really sink in. It is very well done.”

And the effort is not lost on leadership at the UIW School of Professional Studies, who praised not only Kira’s involvement in the Peace Game, but the program as a whole.

“The Peace on Earth by 2030 global peace movement has emerged as an exceptional service-learning experience for our students,” says Dr. Osman Özturgut, dean of the UIW School of Professional Studies and associate provost for Strategic Outreach and Partnership. “They are not only studying literature, but also engaging with individuals worldwide, forging enduring relationships and actively participating in meaningful peacebuilding efforts. We take immense pride in our students’ contributions and Kira stands as a role model for us all, demonstrating how each of us can profoundly impact the lives of others.”

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have been provided with an opportunity to participate in this course,” concludes Gonzalez. “I’ve had the ability to integrate this training in my own personal life and in my community. Since completing this training, I can say the quality of my life has improved significantly! I would encourage anyone to participate in this training if given the opportunity.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Kira Gonzalez and her daughter, Emerson / UIW SPS Student and Peace Game participant


MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Valdes, Media and Public Relations Manager, Office of Communications & Brand Marketing, (210) 829-6001, (210) 422-4052 or michael.valdes@uiwtx.edu