Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR) at
The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War & Peace Studies (SIWPS)
Newsletter December 2011
At a glance:
- “8 Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse”
- “Fambul Tok”: A Film about the Power of Forgiveness
- State-building in Somalia and the Economics of Maritime Piracy
- When More is Less: International Projects in Afghanistan
- End of Semester Happy Hour
- Director’s News
“8 Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse”
Wednesday November 16th, Lawrence Scott Sheets, South Caucasus Project Director of the International Crisis Group, chose SIPA for the launch of his new book “8 Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse”. Introduced by Mr. Jean-Marie Guehenno, Sheets read an excerpt from his book before fielding questions from the audience.
On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the USSR, Sheets’ stories about people living through these tectonic shifts of fortune – a trio of female saboteurs in Chechnya, the chaos of newly independent Georgia in the early 1990s, young hustlers eager to strike it rich in the post-Soviet economic vacuum – reveal the underreported and surprising ways in which the ghosts of empire still haunt these lands and the world. The book, rich in first-hand accounts, provides the reader with a broad and poignant view into the lives of those who experienced the fall of the USSR and the violence which ensued.
“Fambul Tok”: A Film about the Power of Forgiveness
Thursday November 17th, CICR organized a screening of Fambul Tok, a film about the grass roots truth and reconciliation process in rural Sierra Leone. Building on the traditional practice of“family talk”, Fambul Tok emerged as a community owned program to bring together perpetrators and victims of the civil war in order to foster dialogue and forgiveness.
The film invites the viewer to partake in three different fambul and experience the war and its legacies through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. The screening was followed by a question and answer session with Ishameal Beah, author of A Long Way Gone, who was able to draw on his own experiences to provide a unique perspective on the way forward for Sierra Leone.
State-building in Somalia and the Economics of Maritime Piracy
Tuesday November 22nd, field researcher Meg Smaker presented her findings from field research conducted in Somalia on the varying levels of nationalism in the political economy and its effect on state building and piracy.
Meg has extensive experience in a myriad of volatile countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, and Yemen. Her first trip to Somalia was in 2004 where she spent most of her time in Mogadishu and Somaliland. Her more recent fieldwork, in 2011, was conducted in Puntland and Somaliland where she interviewed everyone from the president to pirates. She is currently working on a paper with her coauthor, Professor Martha Johnson of Mills College, entitled “Nationalism and State-Building: Somaliland and Puntland Compared” which will be presented in Washington at the African Studies Association Conference. In addition, Meg is authoring ‘Somalia and the Piracy Bell Curve,’ a paper on the prevalence of maritime piracy in Somalia, and is planning to return to Somalia to film a documentary, to cover topics of both papers.
When More is Less: Dr. Astri Suhrke on Afghanistan
Also on Tuesday November 22nd, CICR invited Dr. Astri Suhrke to share her findings on the western-led international projects in Afghanistan and present her newly published book “When More is Less”. Dr. Suhrke talked about the dynamics of involvement in Afganistan; managing tensions between waging war and buidling peace, control and ownership, and dependence and sustainability; and risks of becoming a rentier state. Professor Scott Smith commented on the presentation and moderated the following discussions.
Dr. Aastri Suhrke is senior researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, and has been a professor of international relations at American University, Washington D.C. She has more than twenty-five years of experience with Afghanistan.
End of Semester Happy Hour
On Thursday December 1st, CICR hosted the specialization’s end of semester holiday party at Sip Bar. Students enjoyed deserts, drinks, and a fun break from intense studies.
CICR hosted a series of interesting, thought-provoking and cutting-edge events in the past months. CICR team cordially thank you for the active participation and support throughout the semester. It was a great get-together at the end of the year to celebrate friendship and life at SIPA.
Coordination in the International Peacekeeping Community
Jean-Marie Guehenno, Director of the Center of Conflict Resolution participated and spoke at the first U.S.-based conference of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centers (IAPTC) in November 2011. The conference created time and space to look at how to better communicate and coordinate across the 60-plus centers and international organizations.
Discussions of the difficult issues of training for the large and growing spectrum of peacekeeping missions took place in formal settings and the informal Ideas Exchange of the IAPTC Conference. The international gathering of peacekeeping practitioners developed and deepened relationships that support prevention, and peaceful resolution of conflict.
CICR wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!