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Human Rights & Conflict Resolution:
Reconciling Two Approaches to Coexistence

A Seminar Series for Members of the Brandeis Faculty and Guests

In regions of conflict throughout the world, human rights advocates and peaceworkers using methods of conflict resolution often find themselves at odds. In some regions, members of these two communities not only fail to support, but disparage each other's efforts. Human rights activists suspect those engaged in conflict resolution are inattentive to justice; whereas the advocates of conflict resolution see human rights activists as unnecessarily combative and adversarial.

The tension between a demand for human rights and the desire for a peaceful resolution to conflict is due in part to the underlying assumptions and beliefs shared by advocates of these two approaches: about, for instance, the role, if any, mercy ought to play in a conception of justice, the quality and stability of coexistence possible between the vanquished and the victorious after periods of mass violence, the use and legitimacy of non-violent strategies, and the appropriateness of remaining neutral during times of heightened conflict. Different ways of assessing these fundamental issues surfaced recently in the United States, as citizens formed opinions about NATO's bombing of Kosovo and Serbia.

The purpose of the seminar series is to examine the key concepts, values and beliefs embedded in both human rights and conflict resolution approaches, in an attempt to bring the advocates of these two approaches into a more generative relationship with one another. As a result of the process of engaging scholars and practitioners in collaborative inquiry, it is hoped the seminar series will produce ways of thinking useful to practitioners in the emerging field of coexistence. In this spirit the seminar series is intended to "jump-start" a host of activities that will also include original scholarly and artistic inquiry, conferences, the development of new courses, and publications.

Human Rights & Conflict Resoluition
Seminar Series Calendar: 1999-2000

Harvard Law School

"Between Vengeance and Forgiveness:
Reconciling Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Approaches to Coexistence"
Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 22, 4 - 6 p .m.

Coordinator, African Peacebuilding & Reconciliation Network,
Distinguished Fellow, George Mason University

"Doing Justice AND Loving Mercy"
Part I: The Paradigm of Reconciliation
Wednesday, NOVEMBER 17, 1999, 4 - 7 p.m.
(light dinner will be served)

Part II: Forgiveness and Impunity
Thursday, NOVEMBER 18, 1999, 4 - 7 p.m.
(light dinner will be served)

Historian and Journalist

[title to be announced]
Monday, JANUARY 24, 2000, 4 - 6 p.m.

Secretary-General, International Alert,

Former Director, Ph.D. Program in Conflict

Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University

"Conflict Transformation: Twenty-first Century Dilemmas"
Monday, FEBRUARY 14, 2000 4 - 6 p.m.

Philosophy Department, Vassar College

"Feminism, Human Rights and Respect for Cultures:
Problems and Conflicts"
Wednesday, MARCH 22, 2000 4 - 6 p.m.

Traditional Storyteller from Benin, Africa,

Master Teaching Artist, Connecticut Commission on the Arts,
English Department, Eastern Connecticut State University

"Myth is More Potent than History:
Performance and Discussion"
Wednesday, APRIL 5, 2000 4 - 6 p.m.

Note: We will be joined in conversation for the series by
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, former member of South Africa's
Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Visiting Faculty Associate
at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

To reserve a place,
contact the Ethics Center:
Phone 781-736-8577,
FAX 781-736-8561 or

Join the Discussion

Support for Research

Human Rights Links

Conflict Resolution Links

This seminar series is part of the Brandeis Initiative in Intercommunal Coexistence, made possible by a generous grant from the Alan B. Slifka Foundation.

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