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Group photo Building Peace After Conflict

Serious, and most often violent conflicts are not only marked by the fact, that different interests simply contradict each other. Usually, the differing identities involved are questioned and stereotypes coin the image of the conflicting party. In the search for non-violent conflict transformation, how then does one´s own identity as well as the identity of the other need to be (re-)assured? – On the other hand it seems to be obvious, that identities will change in processes of reconciliation. Is this a contradiction?

During this Summer-School, students from Germany, The Netherlands, South Africa et al. reflected on their own differing identities and worked together towards models of conflict transformation and management in inter-active ways.

These leading questions were addressed during this Summer School under the guidance of two internationally experienced peace builders:

Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Professor at the University of the Free State, Cape Town South Africa, served on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as coordinator of victims’ public hearings. In that role, she participated in, and facilitated encounters between family members of victims of gross human rights violations and perpetrators responsible for these human rights abuses. Her current research – on the development of empathy in victim-perpetrator dialogue – applies the insights emerging from her work on forgiveness, to conceptualise the components of the TRC process that led to expressions of remorse by perpetrators and forgiveness by victims/survivors and/or their family members.

Prof. John Paul Lederach, Professor for International Peacebuilding at Krok Institute of Notre Dame University, Indiana, U.S.A., is recognized for his pioneering work on conflict transformation, has traveled to areas of the world where conflict is a way of life to provide conciliation training and direct mediation, in Colombia, the Philippines, Nepal and Tajikistan, as well as countries in East and West Africa and has helped design and conduct training programs in 25 countries across five continents.

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