Bross Lecture Series

The Institute for Peace Studies is proud to announce a new (2014) program addition – "The Bross Lecture Series," which honors Drs. John R. and Helen H. Bross, two members of the RMC family and their lifelong witness to peace and involvement with the Institute for Peace Studies. It will explore the wide range of peace education attempts – some positive and some less successful. It is typically held in the Selover Board Room of Bair Family Student Center. It is open to the RMC campus and to the public, by invitation. A smaller, focused group with good interaction following the presentation is our goal.

The first lecture was by Ms. Francine Spang Willis, who spoke on "Coming-to know: overcoming a limited understanding of Native American knowledge" – the focus of her master's thesis. Francine is a former Institute Board Advisor with an impressive professional background that includes serving as the Director of the American Indian Tribal Histories Project with the Western Heritage Center.

The second lecture featured Dr. Danell Jones speaking on "Virginia Woolf, the Dreadnought Hoax and World Wars" – exploring pacifism, humor, and the British navy – a "ripping good yarn with a lot of humor as well as some serious thoughts about being a pacifist in a time of war."

Danell's works have appeared in various publications, including the Denver Quarterly, British Writers, Beyond Baroque, and Virginia Woolf: Themes and Variations. She is the author of the Virginia Woolf Writers' Workshop: Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing. She has also been a member of the Institute for Peace Studies Board of Advisors.

The third lecture welcomed Dr. Tasneem Khaleel, who spoke on her experience on being a Muslim woman in Billings and clearing up common misunderstandings about Islam.

The fourth lecture was given by Father John Naumann, speaking on his work with Amani.

Our fifth lecture was presented by RMC's Dr. Tim Lehman. Entitled "God, Guns, and Guts - A Quaker Historian Looks at the First Two Amendments," it covered the changes and the evolution of the meaning from the 18th Century to current times. He gave insights into these Amendments from his point of view as a historian, along with his personal experience growing up as a Mennonite and then as a Quaker.

The sixth lecture featured David Orser in an interactive discussion on the Middle East.

The seventh lecture featured Ms. Bonnie Ayre discussing the "Impact of Environmental Issues on World Conflicts," which challenged us to look at issues at a level above the "tree hugger" or the "Granola" labels so often attributed to issues such as recycling and environmental protection, giving us a broader picture. In our Institute for Peace Studies, we have observed firsthand the impact the environmental issues can and do have on our world.

Our eighth Bross Lecture was given by Co-Founder of the Yellowstone County Area Trafficking Task Force, Ms. Penny Ronning. She discussed “The Prevalence of Human Trafficking in Yellowstone County: Learn the Signs and What You Can Do to Fight Against This Danger in Our Community”.

Please contact the Peace Institute at or 406.657.1042 for additional information on this presentation or this series of lectures.