September 30, 2011

SIPA’s Center for International Conflict Resolution hosted its 11th annual Peace Building Fieldwork Symposium on September 26.

The symposium is the capstone event of Applied Peacebuilding: Core Competencies for Fieldwork, led by Zachary Metz, who gave a brief introduction:

“This class was founded eleven years ago when actually the terminology of peace-building was really not in vogue,” said Metz. “There was a move from a paradigm of conflict resolution to a notion of building something.”

The class tries to answer the question: What can we bring of value to this field that does not do harm… not making it worse is itself its own endeavor.”

Metz introduced Professor Jean-Marie Guéhenno, director of the Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR), associate director of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Guéhenno served for eight years as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. He echoed Metz, saying: “You have to find a place between being a fly on the wall and being a bully.”

“Before we used to see wars and peace in black and white. Now we have a lot of gray wars and gray peace… All these shades of complexities that characterize our world are important,” said Guéhenno. “The angle that this class takes on peace-building fieldwork is very important… I am very happy it is part of CICR.”

Student presentations followed, discussing their work in Burundi, Cyprus, East Timor, Fiji and the Pacific Region, Israel and Palestine, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and the United States.

Keren Ritchie (MIA ‘12), for example, worked with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). She participated as a speechwriter at CGI America’s inaugural meeting in Chicago last summer, its first meeting focused exclusively on economic recovery and job growth in the United States.

Pictured right, Ritchie stands second to the left of former President Bill Clinton.

Michelle Chahine, September 30, 2011