On the 3rd of December 2015 the documentary trailer of the film “Beyond Walls” was launched. The documentary is the next phase of an exciting international conflict transformation project, delivered in partnership between INCORE (Professor Hamber) and Beyond Walls (CIC) (Alistair Little and Wilhelm Verwoerd, Directors).
From the end of 2012 until mid-2014 this project gathered learning from experienced practitioners and participants (mostly from veteran/former combatant backgrounds) promoting peace/reconciliation/humanisation in places of deep seated political conflict. Filmed reflective workshops were held and interviews conducted in South Africa, Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland/North of Ireland and Ireland. The extensive film footage and written transcripts from these workshops and interviews provide rich, real life material on the challenges of undertaking peace/reconciliation/humanisation work.
The Chair was involved in organising the seminar “Sexual Assault Among University Students: Parallels Between USA and UK/Ireland?” by Dr Bill Flack, along with INCORE, the Transitional Justice Institute (TJI) and UUSU. Sexual assault among students is an area that has received little attention in the UK and Ireland, although in the US has been growing in focus. According to Dr Flack, survey research in the USA and UK/Ireland indicates significant rates of sexual victimization among university students. This talk summarised the available research, focusing on the import roles of student activism and faculty/staff advocacy in recent developments in the USA, with implications for the same in the UK/Ireland.
William F. (“Bill”) Flack, Jr. is a US-UK Fulbright Scholar (Northern Ireland Governance and Public Policy) at INCORE at Magee campus and Psychology at Coleraine campus from September through December 2015. Bill is a critical clinical psychologist, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Senior Fellow in the Social Justice Residential College at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Impunity Watch (IW), International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) organised an expert meeting entitled “Making Transitional Justice Work” from 25-27 November 2015 in The Hague. The meeting convened a highly qualified group of policy makers, practitioners and experts in the field of traditional justice to discuss and develop new ideas for effective and reinvigorated transitional justice policy in accordance with practical challenges. The meeting also focused on the practical guide on transitional justice to be used by the Dutch government and other policy-makers in the field. The Chair attended the meeting, participated and facilitated a session.
Importantly, the UN Special Rapporteur for Transitional Justice Pablo De Greiff has been visiting Northern Ireland this week (9-18 November) to assess the initiatives undertaken to deal with the legacies of the violations and abuses that took place during the period known as ‘the Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Professor Hamber was able to meet the Special Rapporteur during the visit he made to various organisations, government bodies and groups. Professor Hamber shared with him his views and research on the issue of dealing with the past in Northern Ireland. Following the visit the UN Special Rapporteur released some preliminary findings. These can be downloaded here.
The Chair attended a high level policy dialogue in Sweden this week, 14-15 October 2015. The meeting focused on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence latest report. The report focuses specifically on the issue of non-recurrence. The Special Rapporteur draws attention to different interventions that can impact of non-recurrence including the role of civil society, the spheres of culture and personal dispositions, as well as the role education reform, arts and culture, and trauma counselling. Professor Hamber focused his interventions and presentation on “Cultural Interventions in Divided Societies: Lessons from Northern Ireland”.
In early September the Chair, Professor Brandon Hamber, undertook a visit to Colombia (17-24 September 2015).
At the time, the Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) were in the midst of negotiations to end a conflict that has spanned some 50 years.
The conflict has seen the death of some 250,000 people (80% civilians) and the displacement of 6.5 million people. Formal talks began in November 2012 in the Cuban capital, Havana. Several accords have been reached and the final agreement is set to be signed in 2016.
Professor Hamber was invited to Colombia at the request of the City of Valledupar, one of the cities (some 1.5 hours north east of Bogota by plane) that was most affected by conflict. Under the leadership of Mayor Fredys Miguel Socarras Reales, a series of conferences, presentations, and workshops is being organized, which will focus on preparing the regional implementation of the peace.
Professor Hamber addressed a range of community members (about 150-200) over a two-day process to discuss comparative peace lessons at a community level. He also met with the Mayor. After the community engagements he spent some days in Bogota meeting some key players in the peace process and sharing lessons with them and different civil society members.
The trip ended with a presentation to about 200-300 training lawyers at Libre University in Bogotá as part of conference on Reconciliation, Civil Law and Commissions. Again the focus was on comparative lessons from Northern Ireland.
This is an important publication as it outlines key tenants of how the issue of could be dealt with in post-conflict settings, a very under-explored area. The article outlines three fissures evident in the embryonic scholarship, that is the privileging of direct violence and its limited focus, the continuities and discontinuities in militarised violence into peace time, and the tensions between new (less violent) masculinities and wider inclusive social change. The article argues for the importance of making visible the tensions between different masculinities and how masculinities are deeply entangled with systems of power and post-conflict social, political and economic outcomes. An analysis of masculine power within and between the structures aimed at building the peace in societies moving out of violence is considered essential. The article argues for an analysis that moves beyond a preoccupation with preventing violent masculinities from manifesting through the actions of individuals to considering how hidden masculine cultures operate within a variety of hierarchies and social spaces.
Masculinity is now a developing area and the Chair’s work has contributed to this, and Professor Hamber will also attend a conference in Oxford on the issue in October 2016.
The paper can be downloaded here for those with academic access, or alternative email Professor Hamber for a copy.