Grad Students Present Research on Conflict Resolution, Peace Building
September 9, 2011 – Six Georgetown graduate students presented their research on conflict resolution and peace building as part of a three-day conference co-hosted by the Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution program and Georgetown’s Office of the President.
Called “From Conflict to Peace: Innovative Approaches to Peace Building,” the Sept. 7-9 included panel discussions with prominent diplomats and a host of other events.
One of the panel of students presented findings after a summer working with various peace building organizations in Kenya, while the other researched the Sports4Peace program, an organization aiming to advance global opportunities for women and girls in sports.
Great Learning Experience
“It was a really great learning experience for me individually,” said Claire Anderson (G’11) of her time in Kenya. Anderson’s research looked at the effectiveness of the country’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), which investigates human rights abuses in Kenya over the last 55 years. The Office of the President funded the students’ research.
The research ranged from an examination of how violence, in the wake of the 2007-2008 election in Kenya, created tribal divisions and forced Kenyans from their homelands to a study of multiculturalism and intercultural integration through sport in Germany.
In addition to the presentations, students from around the globe were recognized for various works, including photo essays, academic posters and essays they submitted to the conference.
Georgetown student Sarah Cechvala (G'12) won first place in the photo essay contest for her essay “Can Building a House Build Peace?” The photos tell the story of Kenyans rebuilding a community in the town of Eldoret after fleeing for their lives during the post-election violence that ravaged the country several years ago.
Firsthand Peace Building
“One of our core missions is to help train the students through the integration of theory and practice,” said Craig Zelizer, associate director of the conflict resolution program. “Conflict resolution is an applied field,” he added, so it is important for students to complete fieldwork. Anderson found the research invaluable.
“Trying to figure out how I fit into this kind of work, what does conflict resolution mean when you are actually working with policies and governments and people who all have different definitions of what that means, it was something that I was glad that I was able to do,” she said.