University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance

Seminars Archive

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 (, 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.

Dr. David Mednicoff
David Mednicoff

Law and the Arab Uprising of 2011:

Theorizing legal issues and political change in non-Western contexts

December 6, 2012

Dr. David Mednicoff directs the Master's in Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His areas of expertise include Middle Eastern law and politics, international law, human rights, globalization studies and comparative public policy. He holds a J.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has written on Arab constitutional politics and Islam before and after the events of 2011, the legal regulation of migrant workers in the Arab Gulf, human rights in the Middle East and humanitarian intervention.

Law is frequently held out as useful in mitigating conflicts among individuals, and, in the global sphere, among countries. But how does it manage relations between individuals and the state? This question, which has been important to centuries of social theorists, is particularly relevant to the contemporary Arab world, where the recent wave of uprisings has included demands and reform efforts around better regime accountability to citizens. He will discuss several strands of his current research that consider links among law, religion and political accountability in five Arab states, with an emphasis on the interaction of Islamic and international legal ideas, and the roles that legal activists have played with respect to political change.

Dr. James Waller
James Waller

Benefits and Challenges Associated with Conducting Research in Field Settings

April 26, 2012

Dr. James Waller is the Cohen Endowed Chair of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. His study of this phenomenon led him to write Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, now in its second edition with Oxford University Press, in which he synthesizes a wide range of studies to create an impressive theory of how average citizens can come to participate in acts of unspeakable atrocity. Dr. Waller also continues his work at the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, which brings government policy makers, military leaders, and NGO activists to Auschwitz in Poland so they can learn to recognize the signs of genocide and use their influence to stop it.

Dr. Cora Fernandez Anderson
Cora Fernandez Anderson

The Other Struggle:

Human Rights Movements and Demand for Truth and Justice in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay

February 23, 2012

Dr. Cora Fernandez Anderson (PhD Political Science, University of Notre Dame) is a Visiting Professor at the Gender and Politics Department at Mount Holyoke College. Her work focuses on women and human rights movements and their interaction with democratic governments in order to achieve their demands.

In particular, Cora has researched human rights movements demanding judicial accountability for the abuses committed under the military dictatorships in the Southern Cone. Despite these countries sharing many cultural, social and economic characteristics, the way they have addressed human rights abuses since the time of their respective democratic transitions have varied widely. An examination of the human rights movements' strength and their alliances with political actors in each of these cases begins to cast light into these different outcomes.

Dr.Rita Guerra
Rita Guerra

The Complexity of Little "We's":

What do they think about us and how do we feel about that?

December 1, 2011

Dr. Rita Guerra is a Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Psychological Research and Social Intervention Lisbon University Institute, Portugal. Dr. Guerra is interested in intergroup relations among racial majority and minority youth and contact-based interventions to reduce prejudice in childhood. In her research, she studies how children's minority/majority status influences their emotional responses to intergroup contact.

She will present findings from her study of White and Black Portuguese children showing how the salience of different group representations during contact (e.g., as "one group identity" or "dual identity") influences the appraisal systems children use to interpret intergroup encounters, which trigger positive and negative intergroup emotions, and in turn, positive and negative behaviors toward other groups.

Dr. Nina Siulc
Nina Siulc

Deportation, Violence and "Securocratic Wars" in the Americas

November 10, 2011

Dr. Nina Siulc is an anthropologist, Assistant Professor in the Legal Studies Program, Department of Political Science University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Siulc has conducted numerous research studies exploring the human impact of detention and deportation policies. She will discuss the violence surrounding new mass deportations of persons convicted of crimes in the United States and sent back to the Dominican Republic, where new penalized spaces and privatized governance projects have emerged in response to the fears engendered by purportedly dangerous deportees.

The violence accompanying the formal and informal policing of and "retraining" practices directed at criminalized deportees--by both police officers and non-state actors--can be seen as part of a larger set of what Feldman dubs "securocratic wars" that have emerged in response to new perceived security threats across the Americas, threats that both result from and intersect with new instabilities wrought by nascent forms of democratic governance in post-dictatorial nations like the Dominican Republic.

Dr. Jill Irvine
Jill Irvine

From Civil Society to Civil Servants:

Women, War, and Political Transformation in the Balkans

March 24, 2011

Dr. Jill Irvine is the Presidential Professor and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Cynthia Enloe and others have argued that while war has a devastating impact on women it can also open up space for a reconfiguration of gender relations. But, under what conditions can a more egalitarian postwar order be achieved?

This study of women’s organizing during war and post war reconstruction in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo attempts to answer this question. To what extent, I ask, have women’s organizations achieved their goals of political transformation and gender equality? In what ways have they shaped the post war processes of refugee return, reconciliation and human security? In seeking to understand strategies and their impact, I focus on the interplay between structure and agency—examining the ways in which domestic and particularly international actors and forces shaped the strategic choices of women’s organizations and activists.