Speaking of peace on Earth . . .

A new partnership will bring University of Central Florida students closer to international peace and security efforts.

The United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., will provide one of several instructors to UCF to team teach a newly designed course in American foreign policy.

Retired Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas, director of UCF’s Diplomacy Program, plans to lead the course.

“We will have better access to informative reports and analyses from USIP for use in our programs and courses, as well as in our work with community partners such as middle and high schools,” John Bersia, special assistant to the president for Global Perspectives, said in a university news release.

Bersia, a university professor and former Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer at the Orlando Sentinel, was the key UCF player in securing the partnership with the peace institute, a 25-year-old organization created by Congress.

“As we continue to develop cutting-edge ideas and policy analysis that contribute to understanding and managing conflict, and building peace, this partnership with the University of Central Florida enables us to make such ideas accessible and relevant for students, teachers and scholars,” said Jeffrey Helsing, deputy director of domestic education and training programs for the institute.

Sibille Pritchard, president of the Global Connections Foundation and the namesake of a peace fellowship at UCF, said she has long wanted to see the university develop a peace studies program and the new partnership “sounds like a strong step in that direction.”