Abigail Disney, philanthropist and award-winning film producer, delivered a convocation address titled “Peace is Loud” in the Memorial Chapel Thursday, Jan. 28. As part of the same convocation, President Jill Beck presented Disney an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. The ceremony opened with traditional Balinese music from Lawrence’s Cahaya Asri Gamelan ensemble. Beck called Disney a “compassionate philanthropist, filmmaker, ambassador of justice and fervent champion of women’s rights,” before presenting her with the honorary degree. Disney’s address focused on her 2008 film, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.” The documentary tells the story of a group of Liberian women who broke down barriers of religion to stop the prolonged, bloody war that had taken over their country. Disney told the audience the same story that the Liberian women had told her: Civil unrest and tyranny had consumed the country when former Liberian president and “vampire on steroids” Charles Taylor was in power, having sucked up public resources and “gutted institutions.” The women in Disney’s film overcame religious barriers to band together, first fasting, singing and praying on the sides of roads frequently driven on by the president and eventually following their government to peace talks in Ghana. The women took drastic measures, locking arms around the building and taking the warlords hostage. The police began arresting the women for “disrupting the justice,” which inspired one woman to strip naked, which, as Disney put it, is “as ballistic as an African woman can go.” The police refused to arrest the women, forcing peace negotiations to take place within the building. With the tale as illustration, Disney explained, “Peace is something you make and not something you can take for granted … peace is something you do; peace is a verb. We all choose peace or not every day with every action, decision or omission we make in our daily lives.” Disney also emphasized the necessity of cooperation, stating, “We are all interrelated and interdependent. Every day we are bolstered and empowered by thousands of little moments of faith and generosity of which communities are made.” War is “the failure of women and men to live in respect and empathy,” Disney said. Disney also addressed the trouble that American audiences who have never seen war might have in identifying with the film. “We are at war, but few of us have seen war since the Civil War. We have been treated to an Orwellian spectacle full of language designed to disguise,” she said, referencing the way our culture has glamorized conflict, specifically by “sanitizing” the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The filmmaker ended her speech with a reference to the “alchemy” of the Gamelan music heard at the beginning of the convocation, and how the music is able to turn “disparate pieces into one unified whole.” “No one person can solve any of the problems this world faces,” Disney said, “but then again, no one person is expected to, either … and that’s how change is made in the world.