Dealing with the Past
Among the most debilitating challenges confronting societies in the aftermath of violent conflict is what to do with the devastation caused by gross violations of human rights. History holds countless examples of societies that sought to ignore these atrocities – to simply forget such acts, perpetrated in the madness and mayhem of violence – only to find themselves caught in a spiral of endlessly re-escalating violence. Long after a formal peace has been declared, victims, especially, feel the lingering impact of the war – relentless in its demand for answers, in the damage caused, and in government’s lack of accountability, delivery of reparations, or even willingness to recognize their suffering. Dealing with the Past (DwP) comprises a suite of innovative strategies for tackling this problem – by responding with transformative, humane policies to the needs of those victimized, by confronting perpetrators, by reforming laws, public institutions and the culture within government, by creating a shared understanding of the history, and by celebrating the life that remains, with all its learnings, among those who have survived. DwP is about enabling transformation that can make comprehensive transition out of violence a reality.
This course introduces participants to these strategies, highlighting exemplary practices as well as typical obstacles, pitfalls and challenges. It provides comparative analyses across seminal transitional contexts that produced the field, among them Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Morocco, while critically engaging contexts where DwP efforts have not prevailed. The course also allows participants to draw on this theoretical and comparative exposure to focus on constructing a DwP strategy – incrementally, in the course of the seven weeks – for one situation of their choosing. Expected time commitment from participants is between one and four hours per week.
- Get a better understanding of the key Terms: accountability, transitional justice, transformative justice, human rights violations
- Explore the different nderstandings of the victim-perpetrator narrative
- Get familiarised with the existing methods and strategies for societal transformation after violent conflict
- Look at different case studies, such as Argentina, Chile, South Africa or Morocco
This course is for professional working in post-conflict regions with at least 1-2 years experience in peace and conflict work, as well as those who have already familiarized themselves with the topic, either by experience or academic research.
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