On 26 to 28 June 2019, the Chair travelled to Geneva at the invitation of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR). The Chair was asked to address the concept of reconciliation and how it relates to transitional justice, and human rights. The input took place at the UN in an event entitled “Working Session on Transitional Justice”. The high level meeting included representatives from the UN in a range of their county offices.
The Chair hosted on the Magee Campus Steve Youngblood from The Center for Global Peace Journalism, Park University. The Centre promotes the concepts of peace and peace journalism. A seminar entitled “Is Ethical Journalism Possible?” was held and attended by a number of journalists, students and academics on 28 May 2019. It was interesting to read Steve Youngblood’s blog on the event. He notes:
“Derry, attendees correctly pointed out the many obstacles to peace journalism starting with the name. The word peace, I was told, is loaded with baggage here, much of it negative. One journalist suggested calling PJ socially responsible journalism. I said they could call it bangers and mash if they like and that the principles and concepts are more important than the label. Regarding those principles, journalists at my lectures and workshops seemed to generally agree about their utility. Underscoring this, another participant said that PJ is not that radical and it “nothing different than what we already aspire to.” That’s encouraging”.
The visit of Steve Youngblood was sponsored by the US Embassy-London.
On 17 April 2019 the Chair hosted an event on the topic of sexual abuse and institutional responses to sexual violence. A public seminar entitled “Sexual Abuse and Truth-Telling: Institutions Under the Spotlight” was delivered by Dr. Carolyn Stauffer. Stauffer is a consultant and educator in the fields of sexual trauma and domestic violence and has conducted training across three continents. Stauffer served as the co-director of EMU’s Biomedicine program and is currently Associate Professor of Applied Social Sciences in Virginia, USA, teaching on the graduate and undergraduate levels. The seminar outlined the institutional challenges to addressing sexual violence, and engaged the audience in a discussion on the relevance of the topic to local and international contexts.
On the 16 of April 2019 the Chair hosted Dr. Carl Stauffer. Stauffer teaches Restorative and Transitional Justice at the graduate Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. He concurrently serves as Co-Director of CJP’s Zehr Institute of Restorative Justice and is the Academic Director of the Caux Scholars Program in Switzerland. A seminar was hosted by the Chair jointly by INCORE and TJI entitled “Memorialization: Remembering without Revenge”. In the seminar Dr Stauffer tackled the collective memory of historical harms. The point was made that it is no longer a question of if we will remember, it is instead a question of how we will remember past atrocities. Building on the work of Mirolsav Volf, the seminar wrestled with the question of whether it is possible to “remember rightly in a violent world?”
On 29 January 2019 the Chair hosted Dr Estrada-Fuentes from Universiteit van Amsterdam and University of Warwick for a seminar on the Magee Campus. Dr Estrada-Fuentes is an applied theatre practitioner and an academic. A seminar open to the public, staff and students discussed the challenging issue of victimhood in the Colombian peace process. The seminar was entitled “Restorative Reintegration: Complex-victimhood and Reparations in Transitional Societies”.
On 16 November 2018, the Chair hosted a seminar on the Magee Campus that focused on “Civil Rights: Lessons from Ireland and US”. It was a timely seminar in that it considered over 50 years on what had been achieved in since the civil rights movements in the US and also in Ireland.
The main speaker at the seminar was Andrew Williams, Director of HECUA. HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) trace back to the 1968 unrest in North Minneapolis following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The urgency and turbulence of the situation prompted Ewald (Joe) Bash, National Youth Director of the American Lutheran Church, and Joel Torstenson, an Augsburg College sociology professor, to build a unique program for college students to understand the nature of the urban crisis. INCORE, under the management of the Chair, partners with HECUA each year to teach and place US students in Derry-Londonderry each year.
To this end, Andrew made the perfect speaker to reflect on the ongoing challenges, particularly in the US, with regard to race. A black person is killed by the state or state-sanctioned violence in the US every 28 hours noted Andrew. One of the most striking quotes Andrew spoke to and developed was ““…because white men can’t police their imagination, black men are dying” (Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric).
On the day Professor Paul Arthur, Professor Emeritus of INCORE and Ulster University, also shared his views and personal experience about the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. He responded to Andrew’s talk noting that rof Paul Arthur says three words that stuck out were “wounded justice”, “indifference” and “mid-wife”. The hope lies in the growth of civil society that can be the “mid-wife” entrenching civil rights.
On 7 November 2018, The Chair, Dr Coyles and Dr Grant made a presentation entitled “Hidden Barriers and Divisive Architecture: The Case of Belfast” at the Pushing Boundaries Seminar hosted by the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences. To read more about “hidden barriers” research click here.