Spring 2021 Peace Week

The Carter School Spring 2021 Peace Week focused on the theme of peace and anti-racism in the United States and the world.

The Summer of 2020 witnessed hundreds of thousands of people across the country and globe protesting against systemic and structural racism.  At an institutional and individual level, we have been called to ask critical questions about our own practices, and what needs to be done to interrupt cycles of racism and violence and to foster equity, inclusion, and justice for all people. Our Spring 2021 Peace Week was an opportunity for conversation together on how we can cultivate an anti-racism approach in peace and conflict resolution practice and scholarship, highlighting efforts across the country and world.

Calendar of Events

Monday, March 22nd

Bridging social divide: Perspectives from Africa and East Asia

This panel represented the perspectives of Carter School alumni on bridging divided societies affected by racial and ethnic inequalities. The panelists discussed effective practices of resolution of identity-based conflicts based on examples on promoting human rights in Burundi context, working with chieftaincy and ethnic conflicts in Ghana, and building national dialogue in Myanmar. They addressed the challenges of getting the conflicting parties to the table and directing a process of mediation/dialogue that leads to peace/reconciliation, and also provided ideas for addressing racial justice and equality.

Sponsor: Sponsored by the Peace Lab on Divided Societies and Memories 

Facilitator: Dr. Karina Korostelina 


  • Dr. Clement Aapengnuo, Executive Director, CECOTAPS, Ghana 
  • Dr. Vigny Nimuraba, chairperson of the independent national commission on human rights in Burundi 
  • Dr. Min Zaw Oo, Executive Director of Myamar Institute for Peace and Security 
  • Prof. Dr. Korostelina, Carter School 

Conflict Resolution After the Pandemic: Building Peace, Pursuing Justice

Faculty and alums of the Carter School have produced Conflict Resolution After the Pandemic (Routledge Press 2021), a book that examines the possibilities of conflict escalation and/or conflict resolution in the near to mid-term future. The speakers at this forum were all contributors to this volume. Since struggles involving systemic racism and anti-racism play an important part in their analyses, several speakers will address the interconnection of race, gender, and social class in generating civil conflicts and framing possibilities for resolution.      

Facilitators:  Rich Rubenstein and Solon Simmons 


  • Michael English, PhD, Associate Director and Core Instructor for the Peace, Conflict, and Security Program, University of Colorado Boulder 
  • Qing Gao, Executive Director, Confucius Institute U.S. Center 
  • Sheherazade Jafari, PhD, Director, Point of View International Retreat and Research Center, Carter School 
  • Karina Korostelina, PhD, Director, Program on History, Memory, and Conflict, Carter School 
  • Alpaslan Özerdem, PhD, Dean, Carter School 
  • Arthur Romano, PhD, Assistant Professor, Carter School 
  • Richard Rubenstein, JD, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, Carter School 
  • Solon Simmons, PhD, Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Carter School 


Racial Justice: Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Healing Circle

This workshop functioned as an integrated experience for participants to come into and share a space with one another that is focused on mental, emotional, and scholarly wellness for people who self-identify as Indigenous, Black, and/or Persons of Color.

The participants created a space of safety, confidence, and courage as we explore and share our unique stories, strengths, and struggles of being from groups historically and presently marginalized within the academy. 

Facilitator: Nawal Rajeh 


OUDC (Operation Understanding DC)- A Black Jewish Dialogue Creating Lasting Change

This session discussed how racial justice and equity may not be just a dream. OUDC is striving to create generations of leaders who will help eradicate racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of discrimination. The session with Rabbi Bruce Aft, a visiting scholar at the Carter School and a senior fellow at the CRDC, included interactive discussion with staff and alumni of the program.

Facilitator: Rabbi Bruce Aft


  • Rabbi Bruce Aft
  • Dianne Samu Graves
  • Nikki Perkins 


Engaging Decolonizing and Anti-Racist Approaches in Research and Practice: From Local Government to Academia

Carter School graduate students discussed their work with the Arlington County Dialogues on Race and Equity and with the Carter School Curriculum Committee, sharing how they drew on indigenous methodologies to center the voices and experiences of underrepresented Arlington County residents and to envision decolonizing and anti-racist curricula in peace and conflict resolution.  They reflected on the opportunities and challenges in their project designs and share some of the preliminary results of their research.

Facilitator:  Dr. Sheherazade Jafari


  • Jonea Ahouissoussi, MS Student, Carter School; MSW Student, College of Health and Human Services 
  • Alex Chestnut, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Sausan Ghosheh, PhD Student, Carter School 
  • Sheherazade Jafari, PhD, Director, Point of View International Retreat and Research Center, Carter School 
  • Rebekah Korver, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Gerard Pean, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Andrew Scheineson, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Celia Taylor, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Salim Willis, MS Student, Carter School 


Tuesday, March 23rd

Roundtable on Dilemmas of Reconciliation and Justice

This roundtable concentrated on reconciliation in divided societies affected by racial and ethnic inequalities. Based on multiple examples from different national contexts, the participants discussed complex interrelations between justice and reconciliation. Often these two concepts are perceived as mutually exclusive or contradictory, especially in context of racial inequality and structural violence. The roundtable analyzed approaches that bridge these two concepts and address justice, reparations, mercy, apology, forgiveness, and shared identity. They discussed various social conditions for the imagination and achievement of reconciliation, advancing theory and bridging it with practice to achieve racial justice and equality.

Sponsor: Peace Lab on Divided Societies and Memories and Mary Hoch Center and International Association for Reconciliation Studies 

Facilitator: Dr. Karina Korostelina 


  • Dr. Fanie du Toit, Senior Advisor at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, South Africa  
  • Dr. Arie Nadler, Professor of Social Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Israel  
  • Prof. Dr. Toyomi Asano, Professor, Waseda University, Japan)  
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner, Professor, director of Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies, Germany  
  • Antti Pentikainen, Director of the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation, Carter School 
  • Prof. Dr. Korostelina, Professor, Director of the Peace Lab on Reconciling Societal Divisions and Memories, Carter School  

The Legacies of Laue and Warfield: The Community Relations Service and the Carter School Story

The story of the Community Relations Service, the federal agency known as “America’s Peacemaker,” is central to the story of the Carter School, a place that could perhaps be called “America’s Peace Academy.” Two of America’s peacemakers, James H. Laue and Wallace Warfield, brought a commitment to ethical and moral conflict resolution to the Carter School, and this commitment was informed by their work with the Community Relations Service. 
This event featured discussion with members of the Carter School community who knew, learned from, and worked with Laue and Warfield. The panel focused on how these two peacemakers were committed to doing the work of confronting the United States’ troubled history with racism and will draw out lessons from their scholarship and practice for how the field of peace and conflict studies can pursue an anti-racist approach to conflict transformation.

Sponsor: John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race 

Facilitators: Dr. Charles L. Chavis, Jr., and Audrey Williams 


  • Bill Potapchuk, President, Community Building Institute 
  • Mara Schoeny, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs, Carter School 

College Behind Bars: Advancing Justice, Transforming Lives

The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution’s anti-racism policies emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion focusing on marginalized individuals and population groups. This event focused specifically on the Transitioning Justice Peace Lab work on education within carceral spaces. The incarcerated as a population is frequently overlooked even as they carry the full weight of marginalization, dehumanization, and invisibility. The transforming effects of education upon youth, men, and women while incarcerated as well as in their post-carceral life is well documented. From a peace and justice standpoint however, we also advocate for education inside prisons from ethical and human rights perspectives and more directly to transition away from carceral-focused dehumanization and toward building peace through education for our incarcerated brothers and sisters.

Facilitator: Dr. Patricia Maulden, Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution 


  • Dyjuan Tatro, Bard Prison Initiative Alumnus 
  • Lynn Novick, Filmmaker, Director, Producer 

Wednesday, March 24th

The Use of Collaborative Solutions to Increase Police-Community Trust in Erie, PA

The nationwide protests and civil unrest of 2020 have led many police leaders to consider new ways to connect with their communities and rebuild trust in police. The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS) has been working with communities for decades to develop and implement solutions to many of the racial tensions between communities and law enforcement. CRS’s Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships (SPCP) facilitated dialogue program is designed to help community, faith, civil rights, youth, business, and law enforcement leaders come together to share perspectives and reach consensus-based solutions. This program provides a model that communities can use to address historical and current issues of race. In 2018, CRS piloted the SPCP in Erie, Pennsylvania, to address racial tension and a strained relationship between law enforcement and the local Black community. 

In the session, CRS staff and members of the Erie SPCP Council that has implemented solutions developed by program participants discussed the steps the town took to improve police-community relations. Speakers discussed and use video to describe the state of tensions in Erie before and after the program, the SPCP process and planning tools, and CRS’s plans to conduct a program evaluation to measure the outcomes of the work in Erie. 

Facilitator: Gerri Ratliff, CRS Deputy Director 


  • Gerri Ratliff – Deputy Director, Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice 
  • Charles Phillips – Conciliation Specialist, Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice 
  • Michael Nolan – Deputy Police Chief, Erie Police Department 
  • Vanessa Belen – Erie SPCP Council Member/Commissioner, Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs 
  • Tyshun Taylor – Erie SPCP Council Member/Client Advocate, Peer Mentor 
  • Joe Schember – Mayor, City of Erie, PA 

Key Lessons From the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Joyce E. Leader served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Rwanda during the three years prior to the 1994 genocide, during her decorated 22-year career with the Department of State. Ambassador Leader will discuss her book, From Hope to Horror: Diplomacy and the Making of the Rwanda Genocide (University of Nebraska Press, 2020), and key lessons from the years leading to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In keeping with the Spring 2021 Peace Week theme of anti-racism, the Rwandan tragedy serves a stark reminder of the destructive legacies of political systems where dehumanization of “the other” is an organizing principle. Ambassador Leader's book offers an insider’s account of the three-way struggle for control among Rwanda’s ethnic and regional factions before the genocide, and the nation's efforts to move toward democracy and peace, as each faction sought to shape democratization and peacemaking to its own advantage in the escalation of the conflict prior to the 1994 genocide. Ambassador Leader shared with us her lessons for how diplomacy can more effectively avert the escalation of violence by identifying the unintended consequences of policies and emphasizing conflict prevention over crisis response. 

Sponsor: Sponsored by the Center for Peacemaking Practice, Better Evidence Project & the Raphaël Lemkin Genocide Prevention Program 

Speaker: Ambassador Joyce Leader 

Racialized Systems of Humiliation: Finding Dignity within Systems of Degradation

One form of systemic racism in the United States centers on the social-psychological manipulations of the mind through systems of humiliation. Such systems are designed to instill among African Americans a sense of being “less than” Whites, resulting political oppression of many sorts.  The scholar-practitioners of this panel examined the insidious power, presence and impact of such systems currently operating.  Panelists also explored the possibility of undermining such systems operations with the pro-social practices that foster, cultivate and promote compassion. 

Facilitator: Dr. Daniel Rothbart 


  • Tony Gaskew, University of Pittsburgh (Bradford)  
  • Marc Gopin, the Carter School  
  • Karina Korostelina, the Carter School   
  • Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, the Carter School    
  • Daniel Rothbart, the Carter School   
  • Charles Chavis, the Carter School 

A Conversation on Anti-Racism & the Decolonization of Curricula

This student-led forum engaged a conversation about what it might look like to infuse anti-racism and decolonization within curricula.  This forum aimed to create a supportive space for Carter school community members to explore and share new ideas and insights, deconstruct colonial worldviews, and engage with anti-racism and decolonization perspectives. 

Facilitator: Jonea Ahouissoussi


  • Jonea Ahouissoussi, MS Student, Carter School; MSW Student, College of Health and Human Services 
  • Alex Chestnut, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Gerard Pean, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Andrew Scheineson, MS Student, Carter School 
  • Celia Taylor, MS Student, Carter School 


Thursday, March 25th

SenseMaker Design Workshop: Achieving Epistemic Justice

This interactive workshop began with a primer on the Carter School Peace Engineering Lab’s SenseMaker project, which seeks to use the power of stories to help Americans better understand the reality of conflict in the United States and take action by asking themselves the question, “What can I do tomorrow to create more stories like the ones I want to see?” 

After a discussion about the basics of SenseMaker design and how this methodology could help achieve epistemic justice, participants worked together to design triangle questions related to racial conflict and healing. Paul Ader, a SenseMaker practitioner who has been a leader in developing emergent design processes with his consultancy ThinkClarity, contributed his experienced facilitation skills and knowledge to this participatory design process. The workshop concluded with opportunities for partnership and a discussion of how the SenseMaker data set could contribute to Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation work for peace in the United States. 

Facilitator: Keil Eggers, Peace Engineering Fellow, PhD Student, Carter School


  • Keil Eggers, Peace Engineering Fellow, PhD Student, Carter School 
  • Paul Ader, SenseMaker Practitioner, ThinkClarity

"Unsettling Truths:” Systemic Racism and the Black and Native American Experience

The legacy of racism concerning Black and Native American communities in the United States are topics that are often taken up separately, however, the rise of Black Lives Matter and the Standing Rock movements have brought about a unique moment out of which Black and Native solidarities emerged throughout the country. This panel shed light on the prevailing impact of racist and anti-black policies resulting in land theft, genocide, and untold systemic injustice. 

Sponsor: John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race

Facilitator: Charles L. Chavis, Jr. 


  • Charles L. Chavis, Jr., Assistant Professor of History and Conflict Resolution: Founding Director, John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice and Race 
  • Mark Charles, public speaker, consultant, co-author of Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery, and 2020 independent candidate for US President.

Anti-Racism Leadership in Business

Organizations play a vital role in demonstrating a commitment to racial representation. Systemic racism is a historic product of business culture. Intentional anti-racist leadership behaviors, practices including brave conversations about race, are essential to support contributions and advancement of people of color and eliminate systemic racism. This session addressed actions and commitments to anti-racist leadership. 

Facilitator: Dr. Alma Abdul-Hadi Jadallah 


  • Dr. Alma Jadallah, President and Managing Director of Kommon Denominator, Inc.; Advisory Board Member, Carter School 
  • Dr. Karyn Trader-Leigh, President and Director of KTA Global Partner; Advisory Board Member, Carter School 

Better to Speak: An Evening of Art for Social Change

"When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So, it is better to speak." – Audre Lorde 
Art has long been a vehicle for social change, and artists of all types are often on the frontlines of movements for peace, equity, and justice. In the struggle to confront anti-Black racism and dismantle White supremacy, art can play an important role in creating spaces for truth-telling, healing, relationship-building, and the radical celebration of joy and beauty in the face of dehumanization. This event consisted of evening of art for social change, when we will present artistic works alongside dynamic conversations with experts on storytelling, art-making, and social change. 
This event was co-organized by the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race and Busboys and Poets

Facilitators: Audrey Williams and Andy Shallal


  • Christie Jones, Doctoral Candidate in Race and Conflict, Carter School 
  • Sabra Williams, Actor, Activist, Executive Director, Creative Acts 
  • Ajanet Rountree, Doctoral Scholar in Race and Conflict, Carter School

Friday, March 26th

Global Lessons from America’s Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service, Civil Rights, and Lessons for Violence Prevention Today

With the launch of the new and updated edition of America’s Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights (2020, University of Missouri Press) by Bertram Levine and Grande Lum, speakers Neil Levine and former CRS director Grande Lum joined a facilitated discussion with Dr. Kristina Hook on the history of the Community Relations Service, civil rights, and the key role the CRS plays in current national challenges concerning racism and violence prevention.  
At this critical moment, these distinguished panelists also shared their thoughts on how to apply domestic experiences to warfare prevention and violence mitigation efforts around the world. 
This event was co-organized by the Better Evidence Project, the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race, and the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation.

Facilitator: Dr. Kristina Hook, Former Executive Director, Better Evidence Project 


  • Neil Levine – Board Chair, CDA - Collaborative Learning 
  • Grande Lum – Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Menlo College

Good Trouble: Alumni Panel on Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Making Change

Four Carter School Alumni held a panel discussion and open conversation about their experiences and perspectives on making change and causing good trouble.

Facilitator: Nate Lash 


  • Claudine Kuradusenge-McLeod – Adjunct Faculty, George Mason University, MS, 2015 and PhD, 2018 
  • Gina Cerasani – Director, Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PhD, 2015 
  • Krystal Thomas – Sr. Specialist for Industry Relations and Member Engagement, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), BS, 2013 and MS, 2014 
  • Zainab Bakarr Kamara – Rehabilitation Counselor, Discovery Behavioral Health, MS, 2019, Incoming PhD Student in Criminology

Keynote Conversation: The Sum of Us: A Critical Conversation with Heather McGhee and Dr. Gail Christopher

In this moderated critical conversation, Heather McGhee and Dr. Gail Christopher discussed the cost of racism and its consequences, and the ways in which it serves as the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all.  McGhee and Dr. Gail Christopher also discussed the way forward for America and the national movement to create a US Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT). Prof. Charles L. Chavis, Jr. (George Mason University) and Andy Shallal (CEO & Founder, Busboys and Poets) moderated this powerful conversation.

Facilitators: Dr. Charles L. Chavis, Jr. and Andy Shallal


  • Heather McGhee is an award winning American political commentator and strategist and author of the NYT bestselling book, "The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone” She is the chair of the board of Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization, and volunteers for numerous other boards in the fields of philanthropy and social justice. 
  • Dr. Gail C. Christopher is an award-winning change agent and architect of the Truth Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) effort for America. She is the former Senior Advisor and Vice President of the W K Kellogg Foundation. Currently she serves as the Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity and a Senior Scholar with George Mason University, Center for Well-Being