Peter McBride, the new director of the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide studies, has joined the on-campus Keene State College community.
“I come from Northern Ireland, so up until moving here, which I did a couple of weeks ago, I’ve worked all my professional life in Northern Ireland,” McBride said.
Dr. Jim Waller, professor of Holocaust and Genocide studies, says of McBride’s new role as director, “Having been born and raised in Northern Ireland, Mr. McBride brings a uniquely important perspective to what it means to live, and work, in a conflict and post-conflict society. This experience gives him eyes and ears that most of us don’t have. That experience, combined with his empathy and compassion, will be invaluable assets to our students and our community.”
McBride grew up in Northern Ireland during the context of The Troubles, an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland during the last half of the 20th century.
McBride said of his background, “My particular interest historically in mental health and specifically in trauma. As I was growing up in Northern Ireland and then started to work there, I started working in
mental health services. I became interested in the impact and community violence has on a population and on the impact trauma has and how people are able to make peace.”
McBride became interested in working in Holocaust and genocide work after working with a professor of Holocaust and Genocide studies here at Keene State College.
“I became interested in the holocaust and genocide work through working with a colleague here [at Keene State], Dr. Jim Waller, in Poland, where I was doing some teaching on the experience of trauma as a risk factor around communities returning to violence after they’ve had experience of atrocities,” Mcbride said.
McBride, who was offered the role of director of the Cohen Center in February of this year, was slated to start in July. However, being from Northern Ireland, McBride says the move to Keene was anything but ideal.
“With the coronavirus, and the presidential proclamation, which happened on June 22, in which President Trump closed down all visa applications, that included my visa, which meant my wife and I were banned from entry into the US,” McBride said.
With McBride joining the Keene State community fully on-campus, he is happy to be onto campus, “I’ve been overwhelmed by how welcoming and friendly people are and how excited key stakeholders are and how we develop the work of the Cohen Center, so I’m really excited.”
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