Fall 2020 Peace Week

Each year on September 21, the United Nations calls on the global community to commemorate the International Day of Peace.

In 2020, our school recognized this important day with the start of a new fall semester tradition: Carter School Peace Week.

From Monday, September 21, through Friday, September 25, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University hosted a daily series of roundtables, webinars, workshops, and a happy hour with Carter School dean Alpaslan Özerdem to bring together the Carter School community and the broader public in dialogue about peace, conflict resolution, and justice.

handprints on the ground made with many colors of paint
The Carter School Peace Week
The Carter School Peace Week

Launching a new tradition.

Calendar of Events

Monday, September 21st

Toward Integrative Reconciliation Studies

9:00 am – 11:00 am
Facilitator: Dr. Karina Korostelina
This session concentrates on reconciliation in divided societies and between nations accruing on an interpersonal, intergroup, and international levels and discusses complex, theory-based, indigenous, and faith-based approaches that address justice, reparations, mercy, apology, forgiveness, and shared identity. The presenters will analyze various social conditions for the imagination and achievement of reconciliation, advancing theory and bridging it with practice.

History, Memory and Transitional Justice: Confronting the Past for Transitioning to a Just Future

11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Karina Korostelina
This session aims to analyze the controversial role and functions of collective memory in the dynamics of identity-based conflict and reconciliation. The presenters analyze collective memory as powerful instrument of the representation of the past, validation of power, restoration of justice, and valorization of identity meaning. There is a growing body of evidences that collective memory can ignite and reinforce violence, promote exclusion or inclusion, or contribute to reconciliation. Collective memory is linked to increasing awareness of the past atrocities, provide moral lessons, and encourage democratic development.  However, the limitations and impediments that are imposed by the continuous tensions and unfinished processes of reconciliation reduce the role of collective memory in conflict resolution processes.

International Day of Peace Book Discussion: Wolfpack

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Facilitators: Leslie Durham and Brandon Quiles (OIPS)
A facilitated book discussion of the book Wolfpack by Abby Wambach. The discussion will dive into some of the Gold Medalist’s anecdotes and ideas on using sports for conflict resolution. All Mason students are welcome to join us.

Book Launch - For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Charles Chavis in collaboration with Busboys and Poets
Join the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History Justice and Race, the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and Busboys and Poets on Monday, September 21st, 2020 – the International Day of Peace – for the launch of “For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America.” The event will feature remarks from the book’s contributors, including Carter School PhD students and candidates.

Ambassador John W. McDonald Award Ceremony

7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Mary Jo Larson
This year's Ambassador John W. McDonald Award honoree is peace activist Mr. Al Jubitz, a proud “can do" Rotarian with a strategic systems approach to peace building, social justice, and environmental stewardship. This annual award honors the legacy of Ambassador McDonald (1922-2019), who served on our Advisory Board and was instrumental in launching the UNEP, multi-track diplomacy and the UN resolution for the International Day for Peace, now observed around the world each year on September 21. The Dean and Advisory Board welcome faculty, students, staff, and alumni for this exciting celebration.

Tuesday, September 22nd

Civilian Peacemakers: Preserving Peace in Post-Violent Societies

10:00 am – 11:30 am
Facilitator: Dr. Dan Rothbart
This roundtable brings together experts on civilian peacemakers who have come to the forefront of attention recently as a primary force for positive change.  Panelists examine the wisdom, skills and talents that such peacemakers offer, based on their individual experiences and immersion in their local community.  In presenting their finding, panelists offer a wide range of case studies.

Peace Engineering Workshop

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Alpaslan Özerdem
The roundtable will outline a basic vision for how Carter School Peace Engineering Lab seeks to influence the field’s approach to using technology, data, and engineering approaches for peace.  You will meet the founding members, who will share their understanding of the field, relevant projects, and convening questions or goals driving the Peace Engineering Lab. The final hour will be a facilitated discussion about your interests for the lab and what you would like to see as the Lab launches.

Peace and Police Reform

7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Patricia Maulden
Peace demands attention to individual, social, and community needs regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, or economic status. It cannot be realized when police as militarized representatives of the state exert extreme violence repressively, mercilessly, and with impunity. Police reform processes are essential to address the unnecessary violent police practices as well as the impunity with which they are carried out.

Wednesday, September 23rd

Carter School Alumni Virtual Happy Hour with the Dean

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Join Dean Özerdem and fellow Carter School alumni for a happy hour toasting the new academic year! Learn about our plans for the future and ways to build meaningful engagement with our alumni community. Feel free to submit feedback and questions in advance at tcsalum@gmu.edu!

Thursday, September 24th

Root Narratives vs. Master Narratives in Peace and Politics

11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Solon Simmons
This seminar will introduce the power of narrative in the study of peace and the practice of conflict resolution. After introducing the concept of narrative and explaining why it is so powerful and important for the current state of the field, we will explore the difference between the basic structures of political narratives (root narratives) and the actual historical stories (master narratives) that parties use to make sense of conflict and to give reasons for what they do.

Narrative and Conflict: What Does It Mean to Tell a ‘Good’ Story

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Facilitator: Audrey Williams
Join Audrey Williams (Carter School Storyteller, MS ’20) for a workshop on how to tell compelling stories that also aim to do good in the world. The workshop will focus on tools and resources that can help students build careers at the intersection of conflict resolution and narrative.

Friday, September 25th

Defining Peace in the United States

9:00 am – 11:00 am
Facilitator: Dr. Thomas Flores
The field of conflict resolution has sent Americans around the world to help other societies seek peace.  Yet scholars of race have painstakingly documented structural violence that deeply imbues American society.  What would a peaceful United States of America look like?

Tackling the Peacebuilding Puzzle: Contrasting Various Evidence-Based Approaches to Peacebuilding

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Kristina Hook
While recognizing that many factors—such as implementation challenges and politicization—can impact peacebuilding successes, other debates question the best research approaches to warfare’s complex problems.  In this panel, we present an overview of diverse scholarly approaches to three interlinked aspects of the peacebuilding puzzle, focusing on what each research approach can contribute for policymakers and practitioners in achieving accountable results.

Nature is a Common Language: The Natural Environment as a Resource for Peacebuilding, Reconciliation, and Well-Being

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Facilitator: Dr. Sheherazade Jafari
Jimmy Carter once said: “Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.”  This panel discussion considers the role of the natural environment as a resource for peacebuilding, reconciliation, and well-being—as well as asks questions on equity and justice, including on who has access, and the impacts of climate change on particular communities. It features the work and research of George Mason University faculty, students, and of community practitioners, including at the Carter School’s Point of View International Retreat and Research Center and in the creation of a new program on environmental conflict.