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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.

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 (, 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).

Graeme Simpson
Graeme Simpson

Easier Said Than Done:

A practical reflection on peace, justice and reconciliation in the wake of violent conflict…and how we know if we are succeeding

February 28, 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).

Graeme is the Director of Policy and Learning at Interpeace and he is also the Director of Interpeace USA. Interpeace is a global peace-building organization headquartered in Geneva and working in 18 conflict and immediate post-conflict zones around the world for the past decade and a half. Graeme Simpson has a law degree (LLB) and a Masters degree in History from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was a co-founder (1989) and Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), in Johannesburg, South Africa, until April 2005. In 2005, he was appointed as the Director of Country Programs at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), headquartered in New York City and in that capacity oversaw the organization’s work in more than twenty five countries around the globe.

Thereafter, he was the Director of Thematic Programs at the ICTJ for two further years, and oversaw work on Prosecutions, Reparations, Truth-Seeking, Security System Reform, Memorials, Gender, and a program on Peace & Justice. Simpson also co-founded and now serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Transitional Justice (IJTJ) published by Oxford University Press. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of The International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) in Northern Ireland. He is an Adjunct Professor and has taught a post-graduate seminar on Transitional Justice at Columbia Law School since 2006. Simpson has published widely in books and journals covering a wide range of issues.