IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Post-Yugoslav Peace Academy

Thanks (again) to Craig Zelizer at the Peace and Cooperative Development Network for informing me about the 2nd Post-Yugoslav Peace Academy. There is also a website, but it appears to be in Serbo-Croate .

According to the organizers:

“Our basic intention is to contribute to the advancement of peacebuilding practices and theory in the Post-Yugoslav Countries and offer those who deal with peacebuilding the opportunity to:

* critically evaluate and reflect on practices and models applied to date in the peacebuilding field regarding the region of former Yugoslavia and beyond;
* become introduced to new theories and practices of peacebuilding from different parts of the world.”

Here are the topics to be covered during the Academy’s two sessions:

1st Session (July 16-25, 2009)

1. Understanding the Social and Political Elements of Collective Violence and Mass Crimes and their Consequences (emphasis on the cases of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda)
Vlasta Jalušič and Tonči Kuzmanić, Mirovni Inštitut (Peace Institute), Ljubljana
Working language: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

2. Civilizing Nationalism – Pacification of the Region
Ugo Vlaisavljević, University of Sarajevo
Working language: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

3. Understanding Internal dynamics of Societies in Conflict: Collective Memories and Collective States of Denial: the Case of the Israeli – Palestine Conflict
Orli Fridman, Institute for Comparative Conflict Studies
Working language: English.

2nd Session (July 26 – August 4, 2009)

4. Memory: Remembering and Forgetting
Stef Jansen, University of Manchester, and Alenka Bartulović, University of Ljubljana
Working language: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

5. Activism Reloaded
Goran Božičević, Miramida centar, Grožnjan, and Paul Stubbs, Ekonomski institut (Institute of Economics), Zagreb
Working language: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.

6. What Can We Learn from Peace Movements? Lessons of the Past for the Present and Future
Brian Phillips, Amnesty International, Canada
Working language: English.

This looks like great stuff.  However, beyond that, the fact that this academy exists tell us a lot.  I doubt, for instance, that there were many training sessions like this before the civil war in the region in the 90s.  I also know that since that time, there are many civil society initiatives, including extensive programs in schools, to address the underlying (and deeply ingrained) sources of conflict and violence in that region.

The well known British historian Arnold Toynbee had a lot to say about the rise and fall of civilizations.   He thought that civilizations either prospered or perished depending on how they responded to various challenges.  Here we have a case of a very conflict prone region trying to respond, in various ways, to the challenge of that conflict and violence.  Personally, I think they will succeed, and that we can all benefit from their example.

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May 5, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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