Friday, 25 November 2011

Is Non-Violence the way to Peace in Palestine?

Filed under: Middle East,Nonviolence — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:16 PDT

This past week I helped organize a conference in Atlanta entitled From Birmingham to Bethlehem: The Power of  Nonviolence in the U.S. and Palestine-Israel. The first plenary session on Thursday night featured two speakers, Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Manal Tamimi…

Dr. Bernard Lafayette is co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960, and Manal Tamimi is a mother of four children from an-Nabi Saleh, a village in the West Bank, who helps lead a weekly nonviolent protest of an Israeli settlement near the village.



UC Davis pepper spray and the power of nonviolent witness

Filed under: Media and Conflict,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news,Religion and peacebuilding — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:15 PDT

[W]hat has happened on the UC Davis campus following the pepper spraying of students provides a lesson in how to peacefully deal with deep conflict without violence, and indeed a lesson perhaps in how faith leaders can lend a hand in this effort.

Following the pepper-spraying of the students, the chancellor of UC Davis, Linda Katehi, called a press conference. Upset students gathered outside, feeling shut out. The students eventually pushed into the room where the press conference was being held; though they left peacefully, the chancellor retreated into another room.

The campus chaplain, Rev. Kristen Stoneking, was called to mediate between the administration and the students. The outcome was this extraordinary witness of students standing or seated in non-violent and mute witness as the chancellor passes among them, walking safely to her car with Rev. Stoneking.

Rev. Stoneking writes on her own blog about this moment and I believe there are crucial lessons in this for our way forward as a nation.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tried and found wanting: Asia’s dismal record on tackling war crimes is an indicator of illiberalism

Filed under: Cambodia,Human Rights,International Law: War,South Asia,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:15 PDT

Asia seems unable to follow Europe, Africa or South America in setting up either strong tribunals or truth commissions, such as South Africa’s, to address old horrors. Nor will it deal with recent ones.


UN Rights Monitor Seeks Faster Progress in Cambodia

Filed under: Cambodia,Human Rights,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:08 PDT

U.N. Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi [called] … for the Cambodian government to avoid interference in the work of an international tribunal that is prosecuting former leaders of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

Subedi told VOA’s Khmer service that the quality of life has improved for many of Cambodia’s people, but that the situation in the country should have been much better by now than it is.

The rights expert was interviewed in Berkeley, California, on the sidelines of a conference on the Paris peace accords that ended decades of civil war in Cambodia 20 years ago.


Egypt: A Revolution in Disarray

Filed under: Africa files,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:31 PDT

Having failed to solidify their gains early on, the Egyptian protest movement wades into ever murkier waters.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a monopoly on the use of power goes unchecked, the powerless are likely to feel the consequences.

On Saturday, anger erupted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square once again, taking with it 33 lives. Emblematic of a rebellion gone wrong, the rest of the country – from Alexandria to Suez – has followed suit in the uproar. Once again, plain-clothes thugs have been unleashed and state TV has dissimulated.

The current outcry is partly about this delayed transition to civilian power. It’s a little late in coming, but cries of “The people want to topple the field marshal” – that is, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Head of the Supreme Council for Armed Forces (SCAF) – are finally reverberating in the region.

The fault lies with Egypt’s dissidents. When former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted, most of them, including Egypt’s silent majority, acquiesced and failed to press the advantages gained, partly for fear of further disrupting the nation’s security. They failed to strike while the iron was hot and Mubarak’s regime was on the run, and that capitulation has come at a dear price.


No Room for Debate: How Canada’s “experts” are eschewing their commitment to evidence-based research and policy

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:29 PDT

Ever wonder who all those “experts” quoted in the news are?

They, and the organizations or “think tanks” they work for, make up the knowledge-production industry in Canada. They influence our beliefs and help frame our understanding of our country – how it is, or should be, governed. The most sophisticated among them are savvy in their outreach activities and regularly make headlines in newspapers and talk shows. Journalists use them regularly as the centrepiece for “news” articles, and rarely question their evidence base. Furthermore, politicians use them to justify their positions.

But who are these “experts,” and what do we understand about what they do?


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Terrific new book for conflict management coaches

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Dispute resolution and negotiation — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:12 PDT

Most of us who’ve included conflict management coaching in our mix of services for many years didn’t have the good fortune new conflict management coaches now have: A terrific book on the subject…

Cinnie’s organized her wealth of coaching knowledge and experience into a coherent, relevant, and highly informative book, Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model. If you’re a conflict resolution professional interested in adding conflict management coaching to your mix of services, or already do and realize you could use some help filling in the gaps, or you just want to know what this coaching thing is all about, then Cinnie’s book is must-have reading.


About Pepper Spray

Filed under: Human Rights,Media and Conflict,Nonviolence,Religion and peacebuilding — administrator @ 10:46 PDT

One hundred years ago, an American pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville developed a scale to measure the intensity of a pepper’s burn. The scale – as you can see on the widely used chart to the left – puts sweet bell peppers at the zero mark and the blistering habanero at up to 350,000 Scoville Units.

I checked the Scoville Scale for something else yesterday. I was looking for a way to measure the intensity of pepper spray, the kind that police have been using on Occupy protestors including this week’s shocking incident involving peacefully protesting students at the University of California-Davis.

As the chart makes clear, commercial grade pepper spray leaves even the most painful of natural peppers (the Himalayan ghost pepper) far behind. It’s listed at between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units. The lower number refers to the kind of pepper spray that you and I might be able to purchase for self-protective uses. And the higher number? It’s the kind of spray that police use, the super-high dose given in the orange-colored spray used at UC-Davis…

But we’ve taken to calling it pepper spray, I think, because that makes it sound so much more benign than it really is, like something just a grade or so above what we might mix up in a home kitchen. The description hints maybe at that eye-stinging effect that the cook occasionally experiences when making something like a jalapeno-based salsa, a little burn, nothing too serious.Until you look it up on the Scoville scale and remember, as toxicologists love to point out, that the dose makes the poison.  That we’re not talking about cookery but a potent blast of chemistry.  So that if OC spray is the U.S. police response of choice  – and certainly, it’s been used with dismaying enthusiasm during the Occupy protests nationwide, as documented in this excellent Atlantic roundup -  it may be time to demand a more serious look at the risks involved.


The Hidden Infrastructure of the Internet

Filed under: Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:08 PDT

The Internet is more than just a series of tubes, but how many people can actually describe the physical structure of the networks we use every day? Andrew Blum argues in “Tunisia, Egypt, and Miami: The Importance of Internet Choke Points” that the hubs that connect this “network of networks” are incredibly vital, and vulnerable, whether located in Egypt or the U.S.

Ben Mendelsohn explores this subject in Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors, a short documentary created for his masters thesis at the New School. He takes us inside 60 Hudson Street in New York City, a nondescript building that houses one of the major nodes of the Internet on the east coast. In an interview below, he talks about the making of the film and why these structures matter.

<iframe src=”;byline=0&amp;portrait=0″ width=”250″ height=”141″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”″>Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors</a> from <a href=””>Ben Mendelsohn</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>


Landmine Report: Record Clearance and Funding

Filed under: Africa files,Disarmament,Environment,International Law: War,Middle East,Myanmar,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:11 PDT

The latest report on landmines has both good and bad news. It says governments have provided a record level of funding to remove the weapons. But at the same time the use of antipersonnel mines has increased.


Convention on Cluster Munitions Takes Firm Hold

Filed under: Disarmament,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:10 PDT

GENEVA —The international treaty banning cluster munitions is having a powerful impact after just one year of implementation, according to Cluster Munition Monitor 2011, a global report launched today [November 16] at the UN in Geneva…

Cluster Munition Monitor 2011 details progress made in implementing the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the legally-binding treaty which 111 states have now joined, agreeing to ban this deadly, indiscriminate weapon. Of states that have used produced, exported, or stockpiled cluster munitions, 38 have now joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, thereby committing to never engage in those activities again.


LIBYA: Now children carry flyers, not UXO, in Zintan

Filed under: children and youth,Disarmament,Humanitarian work,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:52 PDT

MAG has distributed Risk Education posters and flyers in the Nafusa Mountains region.

Children in the north-west Libyan city of Zintan live surrounded by unexploded ordnance (UXO) and weapons, a legacy of the region’s participation in the revolution against Colonel Gaddafi.

Youngsters can be seen carrying mortars and playing with small ammunition, throwing them into the fire and enjoying watching how they explode.

Unfortunately, their parents often do not realise the dangers until an accident occurs.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Monterey Institute of International Studies | Application deadlines

Filed under: Conferences, Events — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:59 PDT
Thursday, 1 December 2011 Wednesday, 1 February 2012 Thursday, 15 March 2012 Monday, 1 October 2012

Monterey Institute of International Studies, a Graduate School of Middlebury College offers a unique concentration of graduate degree and non-degree programs that address the most challenging global issues of our time and prepare the next generation of global problem solvers and transformational leaders. One of the track we offer within International Policy and Management program is the Human Security and Development. It is designed to build understanding of the root causes of violence and conflict, promoting ideas and policies to create change through economic, political, and social development.

Here are the link to the Institute’s official websites:
Link to the Human, Security and Development track:

Applications accepted anytime, but applications must be submitted by the following deadlines if they are to be considered for scholarship funding:
Fall Semester December 1st February 1st March 15th
Spring Semester* October 1st

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Khmer Rouge architect of the reign of terror went on trial this morning, 36 years after the death of 1.7 million Cambodians

Filed under: Cambodia,Transitional Justice — administrator @ 14:45 PDT

Nuon Chea’s chief executioner, Comrade Duch–who carried out Nuon Chea’s direct orders–confessed and implicated in stark detail Chea’s supervision of the killing machine 12 years ago. Duch was arrested by a reluctant government only after he was exposed as living freely in government territory by journalists. The evidence has been unimpeachable and overwhelming for more than a decade that Nuon Chea was in direct command of the Khmer Rouge killing machine. After a series of stories were published in the Far Eastern Economic Review in April and May 1999, it took 9 years before Nuon Chea was arrested. Photographer Nic Dunlop, in a truly extraordinary quest, had carried a picture of Duch in his wallet for years, and recognized him in a remote village in western Cambodia. He snapped a photo, returned to Bangkok and contacted me. We returned together to confront Duch on who he was.After a few hours he admitted to overseeing the KR killing machine. And then for 2 weeks spilled the beans. Once the first article was published, it became a major story and embarrassment for the Cambodian government. Duch’s life was threatened and he fled to my hotel in Battambang, where for two weeks I recorded 40 hours of conversation’s and confessions where he detailed the entire structure of the Khmer Rouge killing apparatus–who was in charge, how it was structured, numerous details of individual leaders ordering and supervising the murder of thousands. (read more…)

UN human rights chief welcomes start of second Khmer Rouge trial

Filed under: Cambodia,Transitional Justice — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:44 PDT

The United Nations human rights chief today welcomed the opening of the genocide trial of three former senior Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia, while stressing the need for vigilance to ensure that victims’ rights are respected.

Opening statements are scheduled today from the prosecution and defence in the trial of former foreign minister Ieng Sary, former so-called Brother Number Two Nuon Chea, and former head of State Khieu Samphan on charges including genocide, crimes against humanity and torture.

It is the second case to be brought to trial by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a mixed court set up under a 2003 agreement signed by the UN and the Government to try those deemed most responsible for crimes committed between 1975 and 1979 during which nearly two million people are thought to have died.


Professor Robert Mnookin: Negotiation Strategy and Bargaining with the Devil

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:44 PDT

Professor Robert Mnookin, Chair of the Negotiation Program at Harvard Law School, explains that negotiation requires the management of 3 tensions, and that sometimes it is best not to negotiate at all. “A terrific problem in the world is that we often have very distorted views of the underlying interests and concerns of our adversary.”


There’s No Such Thing as Constructive Criticism

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:33 PDT

Here’s a question guaranteed to make your stomach lurch: “Would you mind if I gave you some feedback?”

What that actually means is “Would you mind if I gave you some negative feedback, wrapped in the guise of constructive criticism, whether you want it or not?”

The problem with criticism is that it challenges our sense of value. Criticism implies judgment and we all recoil from feeling judged. As Daniel Goleman has noted, threats to our esteem in the eyes of others are so potent they can literally feel like threats to our very survival.

The conundrum is that feedback is necessary. It’s the primary means by which we learn and grow. So what’s the best way to deliver it in a way that it provides the greatest value — meaning the recipient truly absorbs and acts on it?


ASEAN to set up review body for peace and reconciliation in 2012

Filed under: Southeast Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:55 PDT

BALI – ASEAN ministers on Wednesday agreed to set up the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), an institute aimed at reviewing ASEAN cooperation and contribute to the peace and reconciliation in the region.


As troops plan their exit, ‘Green Scarves’ seek safety – and a voice – for Afghan women

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Middle East,South Asia — administrator @ 09:29 PDT

When the world meets in Germany in two weeks to talk about Afghanistan, will women’s voices be heard?

That’s the question – and the concern – being expressed by a wide range of international human rights organizations and by Afghan women who are behind the Green Scarves for Solidarity campaign and a host of other initiatives.

The aim of the Bonn conference, which is expected to feature 90 foreign ministers and 1,000 participants, is to garner international pledges of long-term support for Afghanistan after the planned exit of foreign troops in three years.

But like most big get-togethers of this type, the most intensive lobbying and politicking is taking place before the scripted conference. They concern who will go as official delegates, who will get face time with the VIPs, who will get access to the media and whose agenda will get attention.


Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff approves truth commission law

Filed under: Human Rights,Transitional Justice — administrator @ 09:22 PDT

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has signed a law creating a truth commission to investigate human rights abuses, including those committed during military rule in 1964-85.

The commission will have the power to summon witnesses under oath and access all government documents.

But an amnesty law means its findings will not lead to any prosecutions.

More than 400 Brazilians were killed under military rule. Ms Rousseff was among thousands who were tortured.

“For generations of Brazilians who died, we honour them today not through a process of revenge, but through a process of building truth and memory,” Ms Rousseff said during a ceremony at the presidential palace.

“The truth about our past is fundamental, so those facts that stain our history will never happen again,” she added.

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