The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
3 Credits May 20 – 29, 2013
Estimated Price: $3,790 (w/o airfare)
Credit of: Destination360 Belgrade City Center
**SPACE LIMITED!! APPLY NOW BY March 1, 2013**
Please Email the following items to Michelle Everson at firstname.lastname@example.org:
A Letter of Interest explaining: why the trip is important to you and your qualifications for participating in an advanced practice course in a conflict zone
Contact information of Two References
Description: The course examines various ways and practices through which post-conflict societies deal with contentious past. Students will visit two post-conflict countries in the Balkans – Croatia and Serbia – and learn on the ground how the politics of collective remembering impacts the dynamics of relationships among different ethnic groups.
The conflicts that swept through the republics of former Yugoslavia in 1990s are often described as Europe’s deadliest conflicts since World War II. These conflicts have ravaged the country and its peoples resulting in an estimated 140,000 to 200,000 dead and more than a million displaced. They have become infamous for the war crimes committed, including mass murder and genocide. Almost two decades after the war, the communities of former Yugoslavia are undergoing a painful process of facing the past, while the reconciliation and positive peace remain elusive.
Students will explore various case studies and perspectives using a comparative lens to crystallize knowledge applicable in different contexts. History and memory can be tools for connecting communities, but they can also be utilized to generate polarization and differentiation. The course will focus on learning about systematic approaches when dealing with the past that can contribute to building more equitable and just societies. The aim is to understand not only how contentious past impacts the ways in which post-conflict societies function, but also to look into various social practices and initiatives of counteracting the negative effects of divisive past through art, education and civic engagement.
This course will explore various top-down and communal approaches for dealing with the contentious past. Students will examine topics such as the role of non-violent grassroots movements in dealing with the past, memory eradication and denial, historical narratives and counter narratives, politics of commemoration, manipulation of the sites of memory, history education and forgiveness. Students will discuss those topics through conversations with local scholars, practitioners and civic leaders. The aim of this course is to provide an opportunity for its participants to learn from the local people about what is occurring on the ground, to reflect and examine their own assumptions on conflict resolution theory and practice, network and immerse themselves in the rich culture of the region.
During our stay in the Balkans, we will engage in conversations with the following organizations/institutions/individuals:
- Resistance movement Otpor that led the toppling of President Milosevic in Belgrade
- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
- Helsinki Committee for Human Rights
- Youth Initiative for Human Rights
- Women in Black
- Key scholars/practitioners working on dealing with the past and reconciliation in the Balkans
Course Structure: The course will take place during the second half of May of 2013. Students will spend 9 days in Croatia and Serbia in addition to preparatory and follow-up meetings in the US. Each day will be structured as 3 hours class time, and the rest of the day and evening in field experience and discussions/interviews with scholars/ practitioners. We will be studying as well as traveling in various parts of both countries.
Eligibility: This course is open to all Mason and Non-Mason BA, Ms and Ph.D
students as a 3 credit course and to non-students as a professional development seminar. Mason students can take the course as CONF 695.
Borislava Manojlovic is a PhD Candidate and Drucie French Cumbie Director of Research at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. Her research focuses on history education, dealing with the past, memory, cultural diversity and reconciliation. As a Conflict Resolution practitioner, she has worked for 7 years with the UN and the OSCE peacekeeping missions in Croatia and Kosovo. Her most recent publications include articles Global Citizens, Cross-Cultural Exchange and Individual Agency published in the Global studies journal and School Communities, Historical Narratives and Reconciliation in Eastern Slavonia published in SIT digital collections:http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/conflict_reconcilation_symposium/jan12…