More than 100 graduate students assembled last week for the tenth biennial conference, “Conflict Resolution and Global Governance: A New Generation of Ideas.”
Eben Weitzman, director of the Graduate Programs in Conflict Resolution, welcomed students and noted, “Conflict work is hard to do. The world needs more people who care and people who will do the things they care about.”
Representing 34 universities in 13 countries, conference participants listened to plenaries and keynotes addresses and many shared their own research in concurrent sessions on such subjects as human rights, peace education, the role of women in conflict, stakeholder engagement for relationship building, and conflict prevention. They came to the conference with majors in sociology, political science, diplomacy and international security, public health, law, education, theology, and many more. Yet despite the wide variety of topics and disciplines, the theme of caring was a common thread woven into many of the talks.
Students discussed issues across the globe, from Rwanda and South Africa, to El Salvador and Honduras, to India and Japan. Several McCormack Graduate School students and alumni shared their research including Sara Cohen, Elizabeth Cooper, Git Nahamens, and Sharon Schiffer (Conflict Resolution); Matthew McWhortor (International Relations), and Gabriella Bueno, Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy, and Jason McSparren (Global Governance and Human Security.)
Keynote Speaker Jerry White, Nobel Peace Prize winner and deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations at the U.S. State Department, spoke on Friday afternoon on his unusual pathway from Cohasset to the capitol. He also spoke of accompanying Princess Diana to Sarajevo to meet the victims of war. Calling her "gifted with a deep compassion for others," White noted, “she cared enough to show up in the living room of pain to listen to the raw, remarkable stories of the survivors and their families." (See accompanying story on White’s speech.)
On Saturday, graduate students listened to a luncheon keynote from British Counsel General Susie Kitchens on “Global Responsibility in Preventing Conflict and Building Stability: The UK Perspective.” At the closing plenary, students had the chance to network and discuss career options in the fields of conflict resolution and global governance.
Commenting on the formidable challenges today in deeply cleaved societies, Provost Winston Langley told the graduate students that he sees hope in this new generation who cares enough to want to make a difference. “There is hope because of emerging trends and because of you. … You and what you do are needed more than ever at local, national, and global sites.”