University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Seminars

The Interdisciplinary Seminar on Conflict and Violence is designed to promote interdisciplinary exchanges among faculty and students interested in the topics of conflict, violence, and peace, from a wide range of departments across campus. Each meeting includes a 30-35 minute presentation followed by a half-hour discussion.

Dennis J. Barr
Dennis J. Barr

Educating for Democracy Through Facing History and Ourselves

December 4, 2014
Room 423 Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

What kind of preparation do teachers need to be able to foster student's reflective engagement in the complex and controversial social and civic issues of our times, and how would we know if such preparation were successful?  In this seminar we will examine the role of education in promoting a civil society, focusing on the approach of Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.  Facing History integrates the study of history and ethics in ways that help teachers to promote young people’s informed and responsible civic engagement. We will discuss the evidence base for the program and the need for more research that documents the complex links between teacher development and student learning. There will be time for discussion regarding the program, relevant research, and implications for policy.

Dennis J. Barr, Ed.D., is a developmental psychologist interested in theory, research and practices related to fostering the social, moral, and civic development and engagement of youth.  He is the Director of Evaluation at Facing History and Ourselves, an international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. Dr. Barr is also an Adjunct Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he teaches a course on civic education using Facing History as a case study.  Dr. Barr has conducted numerous studies, and was most recently the principal investigator of a nationwide randomized controlled trial evaluating Facing History. The research team also developed several innovative measures of teacher and student growth for the study, which was published in Teachers College Record in March 2014.

David E. Matz
David E. Matz

Dialog, Coexistence and Power in Arab-Jewish Schools

October 16, 2014
Room 423 Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

There are only a few schools in Israel that intentionally bring together Arabs and Jews and teach a curriculum that reflects their joint presence in class. David Matz will discuss some of the issues raised by this arrangement, and some of the ways which the schools use to deal with them.

David E. Matz is Professor, founder and former director of the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance; McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston. He is also an active dispute intervener. Professor Matz has focused his work on the techniques of mediation and negotiation and on the relationship of these to the workings of organizations and courts. In the United States, he has led in the development and use of assessment tools for court mediators and trained mediators, judges, and engineers. In Israel, he was central in developing policies and practices for the Israeli Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court in integrating mediation into the judicial system. He has also studied these approaches to the peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians and he has worked extensively with Arab and Jewish groups, here and abroad. More recently, he has begun work with courts and law schools in China and Nigeria.

Michael Klare
Michael Klare

Fueling the Fires: Resource Competition and Inequity

September 25, 2014
Room 423 Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

Most modern conflicts have multiple roots, usually involving some combination of ethnic, national, or religious antagonisms along with a history of grievances and provocations.  But underlying all this, more often than not, is competition for vital resources - land, water, food, energy, minerals, etc. - coupled with inequities in their allocation (or in the allocation of the revenues, or "rents," produced by their exploitation).  These issues must be addressed in any successful efforts at international peacemaking.

Michael Klare is the Five College Professor of Peace and World Security Studies, a joint appointment at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  His also serves as Director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies.

Professor Klare has written widely on world security affairs, resource geopolitics, and energy issues.  His most recent books include Resource Wars (2001), Blood and Oil (2005), Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet (2008), and The Race for What’s Left (2012).  Klare is the defense correspondent of The Nation magazine and written for many other publications, including Current History, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, and Scientific American.

In addition to his academic and writing pursuits, Dr. Klare has worked with many non-governmental organizations on issues of peace, disarmament, human rights, and the environment.  He currently serves on the board of directors of the Arms Control Association.

Bert Ingelaere
Bert Ingelaere

Violence and Healing in Central Africa

March 31, 2014
Room 423 Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

Central Africa and more in particular Africa’s Great Lakes region is marked by a history of intense violence. In this context, peace agreements, transitional justice processes, (psychological) health initiatives or poverty reduction strategies are implemented to restore peace, to facilitate reconciliation or to ameliorate socio-economic wellbeing. However, experiences of extreme poverty, violence and social suffering as well as healing, luck, freedom and prosperity gain meaning in locally relevant ways. The objective of my presentation is to detail the contours of a local epistemology of violence and healing based on extensive fieldwork in the region. An examination of everyday experiences that qualify life and living together in and after violence will guide us towards a map of the moral person. Taking into account the way personhood is socio-culturally constructed seems warranted in the design of the above-mentioned initiatives and strategies.

Bert Ingelaere is post-doctoral research fellow from the Research Foundation – Flanders at the Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB), University of Antwerp and affiliated with the Centre for Research on Peace and Development (CRPD), KU Leuven. He is currently visiting post-doctoral fellow at the Program on Order, Conflict and Violence, Yale University. He has studied philosophy as well as social and cultural anthropology at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) and holds a PhD in Development Studies, University of Antwerp. Since 2004, he has conducted over 35 months of fieldwork in rural Rwanda and Burundi. Previously, he was a researcher for the World Bank in Rwanda and China. His latest research focuses on social mobility in post-conflict/genocide context. He is co-editor of Genocide, Risk and Resilience (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and has written several articles and reports for such publications as African Affairs, International Journal of Transitional Justice or Critique of Anthropology.

Sramana Majumdar
Sramana Majumdar

Violence, identity and Self determination: narratives of conflict from the Kashmir Valley

February 10, 2014
Room 423 Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

Sramana Majumdar is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India. She is currently working as a Fulbright Visiting Research Fellow at the Hiatt School of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, MA.  Since obtaining a Masters in Criminology, she has been interested in studying various aspects of violence, attitude towards violence, emotional and cognitive antecedents and repercussions of violence, violence and youth and the like.  As part of her doctoral project she is studying the impact of exposure to violence and mind set on the emotional and behavioural aspects of the youth in Kashmir. She has also been interested in looking at gendered aspects of the exposure to violence, intergroup reconciliation and the role of identity among the youth in Kashmir.

The Valley of Kashmir has been a disputed territory for more than two decades. It is today a site of intractable conflict and one of the most militarized areas in the world. The ‘Kashmiri’ narrative has gone through many twists and turns, from secular self determination to a radical and highly polarized anti-state character, building upon a collective memory of struggle and suffering. The ethno-political-religious conflict has affected the lives of almost every civilian within the Valley and in the larger Kashmiri Diaspora. This presentation summarizes her experiences and observations while working with the youth in Kashmir Valley. She hopes to facilitate a discussion around the discourse of self determination, identity assertion and resistance to occupation that has been driving the movement in Kashmir and the consequent violence that has dominated civil life from the latter half of the 1980s.

Mari Fitzduff
Mari Fitzduff

Making Research Matter

November 18, 2013
Sponsored by UMass Psychology of Peace and Violence Program and the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

 

Room 423  Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

If cognitive and emotional differences exist between groups e.g. Conservatives and Liberals, Protestants and Catholics, Palestinians and Israelis, how can we use our knowledge of these differences to foster greater understanding between them ?  Can such differences be modified? How can the insights gained from our research prove helpful in the quest for more effective communication across group and party lines? Can a greater understanding of group differences, help us in having more productive cross-group debates.  Mari Fitzduff will start the discussion by recounting group cognitive and emotional differences encountered in her work in Northern Ireland and how these influenced conflict resolution practices and programs within the region.

Mari Fitzduff is a professor and the founding director of the International Masters program in Coexistence and Conflict, at The Heller School, Brandeis University, USA. Previously she was Chair of Conflict Studies at Ulster University in Northern Ireland where she directed a United Nations international research center. She was the founding Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, which focused on developing and funding policy and practice programs on conflict resolution in Northern Ireland.  She has worked extensively with international and national organizations on issues of conflict in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, and has published five books on issues of conflict and peacebuilding including Fitzduff, M and Stout, C: (Eds) (2006) The Psychology of Resolving Global Conflicts: From War to Peace. 3 Vols. ‘ published by Praegar Press. Her latest book, Public Policies in Shared Societies, will be published by Palgrave MacMillan in September 2013.

To view the PowerPoint presentation, click on the image above.

Congressman Jim McGovern
Congressman Jim McGovern

The Politics of Human Rights in the 21st Century

October 18, 2013
Sponsored by UMass Psychology of Peace and Violence Program and the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
Room 423 Tobin Hall
Refreshments will be served

Congressman McGovern will discuss human rights crises and situations around the globe, and the politics of responding to them in an effective manner.

Since his election in 1996, Congressman Jim McGovern has been widely recognized as a tenacious advocate for his district, a tireless crusader for change, and an unrivaled supporter for social justice and fundamental human rights.

Currently serving his ninth term in Congress, McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation; and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. McGovern is also co-chair of both the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the House Hunger Caucus.

McGovern voted against the initial authorization of force in Iraq in 2002, and has been among the most prominent Congressional voices on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McGovern introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill calling for a flexible timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a matter of national security and fiscal responsibility.

McGovern has also taken a leadership role in the fight against hunger at home and abroad, successfully expanding the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps alleviate child hunger and poverty by providing nutritious meals to children in schools in the world’s poorest countries.

Before his election to Congress,  McGovern spent 14 years working as a senior aide for the late U.S. Representative John Joseph Moakley (D-South Boston), former dean of the Massachusetts delegation and Chairman of the House Rules Committee. In 1989, McGovern was the lead investigator on the Moakley Commission Congressional Investigation into the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in 1989. The investigation ultimately led to a seminal change in U.S. foreign policy towards El Salvador when determined that the Salvadoran military was implicated in the murders. That landmark determination led to future military aid from the U.S. being conditioned on an improved human rights record.

McGovern earned his Bachelor of Arts (‘81) and Masters of Public Administration (‘84) degrees from The American University, working his way through college by serving as an aide in the office of U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-SD). He went on to manage Senator McGovern’s 1984 Presidential campaign in Massachusetts, and delivered his nomination speech during the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

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Alain Lempereur
Alain Lempereur

Empowering Local Leadership for Peace:

Evidence from Post-Conflict Interventions in Burundi and the DR Congo

April 11, 2013
Sponsored by UMass Psychology of Peace and Violence Program and the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

All stages in a post-conflict intervention allow a facilitation team to get the buy-in and direct involvement of local leaders. Evidence will be provided by the work of the Burundi Leadership Training Program and the Initiative for a Cohesive Leadership in the DR Congo, where local leaders were permanently mobilized to drive the process and determine the content from beginning to end: in conflict assessment, convening, orientation, planning and location of activities, as well as in delivery, readjustment of content, communicating of results, monitoring and follow-up.

Mr. Lempereur is The Alan B. Slifka Professor and Director, Graduate Programs in Coexistence and Conflict at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University and member of the Executive Committee, Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. As a mediator in conflicts and negotiation expert, he advises international organizations, such as the European Commission and Parliament, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and World Health Organization (WHO). Through the Wilson International Center for Scholars, he facilitated reconciliation and leadership programs in Africa, notably, in Burundi (2003-2007) and in the D.R. Congo (2006-2009).

He belongs to the UN mediators' network, and also moderated local and global meetings for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (2009-2011) for the OECD. As a negotiation pioneer in Europe and Professor of Negotiation and Mediation at Essec in Paris and Singapore (1995-2011), he established, and developed, an academic institute called Irene – peace in Greek –, which he led as its first director (1995-2008).

Dr. Eileen Babbitt
Eileen Babbitt

The Practical Realities of Peace with Justice:

The challenge of integrating conflict resolution and human rights

April 4, 2013
Sponsored by UMass Psychology of Peace and Violence Program and the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

Speaking as both a scholar and a practitioner, Dr. Babbitt will discuss a core challenge that she has experienced when facilitating track 2 discussions in specific types of international conflict: how to catalyze a process that supports both peace and justice, in cases where there are large power asymmetries between disputing parties, and massive human rights violations are being or have been committed. Her experiences (in Israel-Palestine, Turkey-Armenia, and Rwanda among others) have led her to look more closely at what she perceives to be a tension between the goals of conflict resolution and those of human rights. In relation to conflict resolution, she will speak specifically about processes that seek to bring disputing parties together with the assistance of a third-party mediator. She will be using human rights as a proxy for justice-seeking, including accountability mechanisms for human rights abuses, war crimes, and genocide. She wants to frame a series of questions to consider and think about, relating to the appropriate or effective role for a third party in these challenging contexts.

Dr. Eileen F. Babbitt is Professor of International Conflict Management Practice and Director of the International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She is also a Faculty Associate of the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her research interests include identity-based conflicts; coexistence and trust-building in the aftermath of civil war; and the interface between human rights concerns and peacebuilding. Her practice as a facilitator and trainer has included work in the Middle East, the Balkans, and with U.S. government agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations, and international and local NGOs.

Before joining the Fletcher faculty, Professor Babbitt was Director of Education and Training at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. and Deputy Director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. Professor Babbitt’s latest publications include the forthcoming article, “The Evolution of International Conflict Resolution: From Cold War to Peacebuilding.” Negotiation Journal, 25th Anniversary Issue, and Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Context: Colombia, Sierra Leone, and Northen Ireland. Co-edited with Ellen Lutz and published by Syracuse University Press. Dr. Babbitt holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from MIT.

Dr. Brian K. Barber
Brian K. Barber

Considering the Long-Term Impact of Political Conflict on Youth:

Simple Question, Complex Answers

March 11, 2013
This event is co-sponsored by The Psychology of Peace and Violence Program and The Rudd Adoption Research Program.

One of the major limitations of the burgeoning research literature on the impact of political conflict on young people is the absence of long-term assessments. Since the vast majority of youth in conflict zones survive the conflict, the conventional focus of correlating violence exposure with psychological functioning (e.g., PTSD) is inadequately informative. What we don't know is if and how having spent adolescence immersed in political conflict impacts one's forward progress, particularly in terms of being prepared for the transitions to adulthood and citizenship.

This presentation describes an on-going study of Palestinian adults who as youth were the heralded generation of stone throwers of the first intifada. Detailed in the presentation will be the challenges of designing such a study, including the basic, yet highly complex, tasks of measuring well being in such a population and capturing conflict and other key life events across the pathway to adulthood. Preliminary findings will be presented.

Dr. Brian K. Barber is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Conflict (http://csypc.utk.edu), professor of child and family studies, and adjunct professor of psychology, all at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Barber has studied youth development in social context in Africa, Asia, the Balkans, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America. He specializes in the study of youth in contexts of political conflict, particularly in the occupied Palestinian territories, Bosnia, and Egypt. His work has been supported by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, the Social Science Research Council, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Jerusalem Fund, and the United States Institute for Peace.

Most recently, the Jacobs Foundation (Zurich, Switzerland) is funding two of the Center’s projects: a 4-year study of the life histories of current Palestinian adults who were youth during the first intifada, and a 2-year study of youth of the Egyptian revolution. Dr. Barber publishes his work regularly in leading social science journals. He is also the author/editor of Intrusive Parenting: How Psychological Control affects Children and Adolescents (2002, American Psychological Association Press) and Adolescents and War: How Youth Deal with Political Conflict (2009, Oxford University Press).

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