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Human Rights & Conflict Resolution:
Reconciling Two Approaches to Coexistence


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 Resolution:
Seminar Series Presentations

Presenter Seminar Title Date/Time Links
Dr. Martha Minow
"Between Vengeance & Forgiveness:
Reconciling Human Rights and Conflict
Resolution Approaches to Coexistence"
Sept. 22: 4-6 pm
Bio, etc.
Dr. Hizkias Assefa
"Doing Justice and Loving Mercy"
Part I: The Paradigm of Reconciliation

Part II: Forgiveness and Impunity

Nov. 17: 4-7 pm

Nov. 18: 4-7 pm

Bio, etc.
Michael Ignatieff
[Title: To Be Announced]
Jan. 24: 4-6 pm
Bio, etc.
Dr. Kevin Clements
"Conflict Transformation:
21st Century Dilemmas"
Feb 14: 4-6 pm
Bio, etc.
Dr. Uma Narayan
"Feminism, Human Rights
and Respect for Cultures:

Problems and Conflicts"
Mar. 22: 4-6 pm
Bio. etc.
Dr. Raouf Mama
"Myth is More Potent than History:
Performance and Discussion"
April 5: 4-6 pm
Bio, etc.

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