Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Introduction to the upcoming International Summer School on Education for Sustainable Peace

So as mentioned in the previous post, my primary responsibilities at the Georg Eckert Institute have involved preparations for the annual Georg Arnhold International Summer School on Education for Sustainable Peace, which goes from June 21st to the 27th.  Eighteen early career scholars and practitioners will join us in Braunschweig to present their research on a topic related to the theme of this year’s school, which is  “Transitional Justice and Education: Engaging Children and Youth in Justice and Peacebuilding Through Educational Media, Curricula, and Outreach.” The projects highlight the key approaches and challenges of incorporating justice and peace into educational materials and curricula in communities recovering from a history of mass violence and oppression. Also joining us for the summer school are eight mid-career professionals, all of whom have extensive backgrounds working with transitional justice education, to provide feedback to the researchers and host workshops designed to assist the participants in their continued research. The summer school is co-sponsored by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in New York city, with one participant and two of the mid-career professionals joining us from the renowned organization. Since my boss advised me to wait until the school starts and ask participants for permission, and because I have only read their abstracts and lit. reviews so far, I am going to hold off until the conclusion of the program to write about specific presentations and the key themes of the week. But I did want to elaborate on the general themes of the summer school and what I have been doing in preparation.
The topic of the summer school itself was a major reason (amongst many of course) that I chose this position for my summer internship placement. My interest in transitional justice goes back to my studies of Holocaust and Genocide studies as an undergrad, as I attempted to comprehend how individuals and communities can effectively move beyond the legacy of mass violence and oppression in a peaceful and productive manner. Communities express a desire to move forward in the aftermath of mass violence, but struggle with how to most effectively administer justice and accountability, reconcile tensions among groups, and address the trauma of human rights abuses in a healthy approach. In the past two decades, education has been recognized as an important tool for governments and NGO’s to help engage communities critically address a violent history, while also encouraging peaceful and sustainable dispute resolution techniques.

How the legacy of violence is handled in a post-conflict society will have generational impacts, which is why government officials, policy makers, and educators are faced with the difficult task of addressing past events of violence in a way that encourages reconciliation and peacebuilding without furthering tensions between groups. Education can exacerbate conflict if not handled properly, as the group tensions and trauma left over from past violence makes dialogue on such subjects an extremely sensitive issue. As a result, approaching justice and peacebuilding in the classroom is an incredibly delicate process. On one end, the society needs to address the root causes and actors of past violence, in hope that through this comprehension future generations can move beyond a violent shared history and become a more peaceful and tolerant society. But on the other end, this process relies on victims being able to critically approach their traumatic past, which may be too contentious for people whose victimization is too fresh. Also, the now ruling political regime may demand a one-sided narrative of past abuses that clears their name of any wrongdoing, or places the blame on rival groups.
Visiting scholars and participants in the annual summer school focus their research on topics related to how transitional justice principles are being administered through educational materials and curricula in post-conflict regions, and how these approaches can be more effective moving forward. This is a vital step in any region dealing with a traumatic past, as how such events are addressed in school will play a major role in forming a child’s overall conception of the violent history of their homeland. This becomes even more difficult in cases where the children experienced human rights abuses, or lost family members to the violence. In other cases such as in the former Yugoslavia, many current students students are the offspring of victims and perpetrators during the Ethnic cleansing campaigns during the mid-1990’s, and proper education is crucial to assist children in trying to make sense of their particular home country's recent and violent past. In such cases, ethnic tensions may continue to thrive long after the end of violence, and education can help facilitate better reconciliation and cooperation among rival groups. Transitional justice is a vital component of sustainable peace, and I would argue that education can be the most effective platform for instilling the ideals of justice and peace into a community that may have for years been tragically devoid of either, and help them move towards a more tolerant and nonviolent future.
I am incredibly excited to finally meet the participants and hear them elaborate on their topics, and who knows, maybe provide some constructive feedback to thes early career scholars. I will likely be the only participant without a PhD (or masters for that matter) but I do believe the CR program has provided me with the knowledge and skills to critically engage each research project, and participate in a cordial platform for dissecting ideas and best approaches for peace education in post-conflict regions. I look forward to sharing what I have learned, and more about the researchers themselves in the coming week.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Reflections on my first weeks at the Georg Eckert Institute

This post is a reflection on my first four weeks working at the Georg Eckert Institute, with a few pictures I've taken of Braunschweig sprinkled in between. It has been an upbeat, pleasant, and exciting place to work, and I am already grateful for both the work experience and the connections I have made with scholars, practitioners, and policy makers focused on education and peacebuilding. The Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research is a rather larger organization, with over 140 staff, researchers, visiting scholars,and interns. It's extensive collection of international textbooks and other educational materials (over 170,000 from 160 countries) is a primary reason researchers come to the institute. They take great care to make the institute a leading research infrastructure in the world for academics, policy makers, and practitioners focused on how education can be used to promote peace and justice, or in other cases, exploited to fuel further tensions and conflict by promoting prejudices and intolerant beliefs. Recognizing the issues within educational curricula and policy in conflict regions, and creating conflict-sensitive materials that address the core causes of past conflict and inequality, all while trying not to further exacerbate group divisions is a grand challenge. The causes and solutions to such substantial educational reform are quite broad, and require cooperation among government officials, educators, and the community in order to be accomplished in a sustainable way.
The researchers themselves focus on a wide range of topics related to educational materials, curricula, and conflict. Educational materials can play a vital role in shaping the worldview of a child from a very early age, helping shape their personal identity, as well as how they comprehend and interact with other groups. The institute itself was born from research after WW2 that recognized trends in educational materials in Germany and Japan to promote negative stereotypes of enemy groups, as governments utilized education as a means of indoctrination on their most impressionable citizens. Georg Eckert and other educational scholars believed there needed to be more research on the role of education as a tool of propaganda, and found that textbooks from countless other countries were also riddled with negative depictions of national, political, ethnic and other groups deemed to be enemies of the state, and in many cases, a one-sided historical narrative based upon the aims of the ruling political regime. As a result, the mission of the institute is to promote research on educational materials, media, and curricula in societies around the world through the belief that education can be just as effectively utilized to reconcile tensions between enemy groups and promote peace as it has been to encourage violence and intolerance.
Before my first day, I was slightly nervous about the adjustment process, as I knew no one at the office other than my new boss, and would be working at an institution where most correspondence and materials were in German. Thankfully, the polite nature of everyone at the office made for a very stress free and pleasant transition. I share a small but nice office with Martina, the only downside being that the keyboard for my computer is in
German. Though the German language uses primarily the same keyboard as English, the Y and Z letters switch places, and there are specific keys for the umlaut letters ö, ä, and ü. Getting used to the keyboard was frustrating at first, but I quickly got the hang of it, though I’ve noticed when I type on my laptop that I tend to mix up my Y’s and Z’s, which as I think of it, will be my new excuse for any future grammatical mistakes in my writing. If you notice anything spelled wrong, I simply wrote those words using the incredibly complicated German keyboard. Take my word for it.  
I began the internship only two days after arriving in Braunschweig. I was still jetlagged at the time, but in the same regard was quite excited to begin working. My soon to be boss Martina had given me a general idea of what to expect in the first couple weeks, and while there was much that needed to be done, it seemed to be enjoyable work and I was eager to make a good first impression. Despite having much to go from the very beginning, she made sure to ease me into the major tasks and responsibilities of the position, and made the extra effort to introduce me to nearly everyone in the office, including the Director and co-Director of the institute.
I knew after my conversation with the director that this would be a very enjoyable place to work, as we ended up sitting in her office and talking for about 20 minutes. For someone that spends her time meeting with diplomats and policy officials, and is in charge of a staff of nearly 150, that she would was happy to invite an unpaid intern she would never be working with to have a cordial conversation about everything from my academic interests, to her opinion of American beers (she, like many Germans, is vocal in her disdain for light beers) led me to quickly feel I was in a perfect internship placement. And if you, the reader, knows me on some personal level, it should be of little surprise that what was supposed to be a brief introduction turned into an unnecessarily long conversation.

It is an incredibly pleasant work environment, for people are very engaged in their work, but in the same regard are generally calm and relaxed. I think this is a testament to people that enjoy their work conditions, another reminder of the old adage that if you love what you do then you never work a day in your life. The institute is the Wonka Chocolate factory for researchers focused on educational media and curricula, providing them with an abundance of resources in a beautiful and quiet space. Plus there’s no chocolate lake to fall into or gum that turns you into a blueberry (as far as I know at least, there is a candy jar in the main office with some suspicious looking German licorice I’m not brave enough to try)
Perhaps the best part of the job so far has been working with my boss Martina. Since we share an office and are technically the only two people working directly on the Georg Arnhold Program, we are exposed to each quite consistently every day. Though such directly can lead people to quickly grow annoyed of each other, I can thankfully day that has been far from the case. She is simply a wonderful person to be around, and everyone in the office seems to share in my admiration, as on countless occasions I’ve had fellow employees express jealousy that I get to work with Martina. Despite having so much to do the past two weeks, the days are always filled with funny stories, political conversations, or her personal favorite topic, international soccer. She has gone above and beyond to make sure I get the most out of my experience, encouraging me to take advantage of all the resources the institute has to offer, and taking the extra step to reach out to colleagues with similar interests of my own for me to network with. For two colleagues that focus on America, I have become their go to person to vent about American politics to, and to no surprise I am more than willing to chime in. I also greatly appreciate that she has insisted from the very beginning that I not only help prepare for the summer school, but that I get to participate as well. She could have simply had me continue with my intern duties, but instead I will be involved in all of the panel discussions, seminars, workshops, and the fun extracurricular activities such as the day trip to Berlin during the middle of the summer school. While I will still have numerous responsibilities throughout the week, I am nonetheless excited to take part in this impressive gathering of scholars and practitioners. This has all made for a pleasant internship experience so far, and I am grateful that I look forward to coming into work everyday.
My day to day tasks are quite varied, and for the most part I’ve enjoyed every task assigned to me so far. My first big responsibility was to edit the abstracts and lit. reviews for each presenter at our upcoming international summer school, and conduct interviews which each participant to be put together into a booklet for the advisory board. Our participants and experts come from every continent in the world. As a result, though each project is excellent, some need extra editing as they were written by scholars who speak little English. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to present research you have been conducting for months in a language you barely speak or write in, and I am glad to help them better articulate their research proposals and key findings. I also wrote profiles of each expert, and in some cases, gone through the massive Institute directory to find them sources for future research upon their arrival at the Institute. As mentioned earlier, the Institute has a substantial collection, making every attempt to sort through the catalogs a small adventure in itself. The collection has become so extensive that they have actually began construction on a larger facility, set to be complete in two years. I might even still be here at the original Institute by the time the new one opens, if only because my big body got stuck trying to find a book in one of the more compact nooks of the library.
Perhaps the most challenging task so far has been to draft a statistical report of summer school applicants, which will also be presented to board members. The report broke down the geographical locations of the over 234 applications for the summer school, as well as gender, university or professional affiliation, and through what web or print sources/advertisements were they informed of the Summer School call for papers. As someone that hates math with a passion, and can happily say has not taken a math course since high school (my version of hell would be having to repeat Mr. Grant’s level 1 algebra class for eternity), I was initially worried that my avoidance of that cursed subject had finally come back to haunt me. But after a quick overview from Martina, and realizing that basic statistics is not as daunting as I made it out to be, it turned out to be a very productive task, and I was quite satisfied with my final result. I'm grateful that Martina was as well, though I hope to avoid doing any more math for the remainder of the internship/ the rest of my life.
I also assist in drafting and editing proposals, call for papers, and other distributional materials. And since this is after all an internship, some of my responsibilities are more menial, but I do not mind having to do such tasks from time to time. Such tasks need to get done, and I have always resented people that reject the responsibilities of their position on the account of believing they are "below" them.  As the weeks have progressed, on Martina has entrusted me to edit and help draft more important proposals, and I appreciate that she has enough confidence in me to handle such delicate tasks. I feel that I owe it to both Martina for offering me this position and being so accommodating, as well as Georgetown for providing me with this opportunity, to the best job possible, and I hope that my work speaks for itself.
The next week is going to be incredibly busy, but also gratifying, as the summer school begins and quickly goes into high gear. I am excited to meet all of the participants and experts and learning more about their research projects. The topics are broad in both scope, methodology, and objectives, but they all highlight ways at which practitioners, government officials, and policy makers from around the world approach and analyze the delicate process of incorporating transitional justice and peacebuilding principles into educational curricula in post-conflict regions.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Post #3: Overview of Braunschweig

The ten days since I arrived in Braunschweig and began my internship at the Georg Eckert Institute have been exciting, chaotic, and very busy, but I have loved it all so far. I began work the day after arriving, though my boss slowly eased me into my surroundings. This post is in many ways my first time to really sit back and reflect on all that I have done so far. With everything going on, its almost hard to imagine that less than two weeks ago I was back in Massachusetts, and a week before that I was still in DC finishing up my first year of grad school. Below is a very general overview of my experience in Braunschweig so far. Upcoming posts will cover my trip last weekend to Dresden and Prague, another about my first week working at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, another on the strange little things I have noticed and encountered living in Germany so far, and finally one on reminiscing on the plane about when my interest in German culture began, and how through this my academic and career aspirations were born, and perhaps without realizing it, have led me to my current circumstances.

I arrived in Braunschweig after a long flight to Madrid, followed by a five hour layover, a four hour flight to Hannover, and then an hour train ride before finally arriving in Braunschweig. I was unable to fall asleep on either plane ride because as embarrassing it is to admit it, I have a childlike fear of flying and am usually a nervous wreck throughout the duration of a flight. While air travel is an incredible modern advancement, enabling us to quickly visit regions across the world that would have been unimaginable just over a century ago, I nonetheless feel like humans were made to stay grounded. No matter how it may be, I never feel comfortable being in a contraption thousands of feet above the earth, with just the floor separating me from plummeting to the ground.  My opinion is that until technology enables to grow our own wings Terminator-style, humans and air travel are naturally incompatible.

When I finally arrived in Braunschweig, I took the trolley car straight to the address of my new apartment on Wilhelmstaße, where I was greeted by Martina, who was to be my new boss at the internship. She gave me the key and then showed me around my apartment. It is a modestly sized but brand new apartment, and has everything I need for the next two months. I have my own desk, closet, bathroom, and a small kitchen area with a stove top, sink, and mini fridge. It is also in an excellent location. My apartment is directly across from two bakeries (bakeries here are like Starbucks in America, as in there are five of them everywhere you turn), a supermarket, and a gym. I am also a two minute walk from downtown Braunschweig, where centuries of rich cultural history are mixed with modern restaurants and shops.

Braunschweig in many ways is what one might imagine when envisioning a small German city, filled with beautiful old buildings, churches and landmarks, plenty of places to shop and eat, and of course, very good (and cheap for that matter) beer. And while there is a McDonald’s and a Dunkin Donuts downtown, for the most part the city seems not to have been impacted by globalization compared to nearby European cities. It has been able to maintain a strong cultural identity, one in which people are warm and neighborly towards one another, and no one ever appears to be in a rush. And unlike larger German cities, it seems that at least half of the people I have encountered speak little or no English, which has made it difficult to communicate at points, but overall I like that it forces me to rely on the little German that I know, which I imagine (or at least hope) will make be a better German speaker. Most conversations I have with native speakers goes well for the first few sentences, but as the conversation gets more complicated, I usually resort to telling them that ich kann nicht Deutsch gut sprechen, or “I cannot speak German well.” Despite my lack of vocabulary and comically bad pronunciation, most people seem to appreciate that I am at least making the attempt to speak the language, and as a result tend to be very courteous and helpful.

 While it is technically a city, it has a very small town feel to it, and you can walk from one end to the other in just over a half hour, while never having to worry about walking through the streets by yourself. The office where I work is halfway across the city but only takes me about 12 minutes to walk there. There is also a top notch trolley and subway system, which always runs on time and has very clean trolley cars. And like many areas in Nothern Germany, the preferred method of transportation is biking. They almost outnumber cars and pedestrians on the streets, and even have their own lanes on the sidewalks. In a town where everything is in relative distance, cycling is the perfect way to get around, especially with the pleasant spring weather we have been experiencing so far. I have yet to decide whether or not to purchase or rent one myself, for while I do love to bike, I have rather enjoyed the short walk to work every day through the old center of town. It is a pleasant little town square, rebuilt after allied bombing raids at the end of WW2 destroyed 85% of the nearly thousand-year old structures (which will be covered in a later post), but they have designed it in a way that you would never guess that these buildings are actually the replicas of the original structures.

While Braunschweig and DC tend to have similar temperatures, I haven’t felt the god-awful DC humidity that makes you question whose genius idea it was to build a city on top of swamp lands. While I have already begun to miss DC, I do enjoy the feeling of not living in constant fear of profusely sweating at any given part of the day. It is nice to be able to sit down at an outside restaurant and have a coffee without wondering if you’re going to need to towel off afterwards.

Perhaps the only thing I do not like about being here is experiencing this all by myself. It is not to say that I’m lonely, but rather I feel that traveling is best experienced with a companion. While I have enjoyed sitting at the outdoor restaurants and having a cappuccino or Wolters Pillsner, (a beer brewed here in Braunschweig considered medicore by German standards, but would be the best beer at nearly any bar in America), and conversing with the friendly locals, it would be great to have someone else to take it all in with me. There are so many little things worth noting throughout the day, and it is an adjustment not being able to quickly point out what I observe to someone else. But perhaps this is the plight of us millennials, that when we do not have constant communication either in person or through our phones, we start to go stir crazy. Either way I have highly enjoyed living here so far, soaking in the beautiful and relaxed German culture, the food, and making the most of my free time outside of work, which has also been a wonderful experience so far, and I will cover in my next blog post. 

Post #2: Musings from the Plane

Today marks the beginning of my trip to Braunschweig, where I will be working with the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, representing the Conflict Resolution through the summer internship program. I am writing this on the plane ride, in an old composition notebook that my mother held on to from perhaps as far back as middle school. I consider myself very fortunate to have been selected for this incredible opportunity, and plan to make the most out of both the internship itself, and living in Germany for two months. Currently, I am experiencing a mix of excitement, anxiety, restlessness, and all of the other emotions that come with embarking on a new and relatively unknown adventure. While for years I have longed to visit Germany, and have known for months about the internship placement, this trip in many ways seemed to creep up suddenly. Through the chaos which is the final weeks of a semester, moving out of my place in Arlington, moving everything back home to Massachusetts, and trying to enjoy the little free time I had with the friends and family I would be missing this summer, I found it difficult to transition into travel mode.

 I had slowly been preparing myself for the trip by reading up on both the city of Braunschweig, the organization I would be interning with, and the greater German/Eastern European region, but it always felt like an adventure far on the horizon. It was not until exactly three weeks before departure when it really began to sink in that I would be entirely on my own, in a country I had never visited before, half way across the world. As it this distant adventure quickly turned into reality, I felt both excited, nervous, and in some ways terrified. I have moved to new and unfamiliar places before, but under much different circumstances. When I first left to begin my undergraduate studies in New Hampshire, while it was a major adjustment, I did know a few people from my home town, and I was surrounded by like-minded students of the same age as myself. And perhaps most importantly, home was only two hours away, so whenever I began to feel homesick I was able to return and spend time with family and friends.

While I lost the luxury of being close to home when I moved to begin grad school at Georgetown, I was quickly immersed by both the excitement of the DC area, and was lucky to quickly meet and become friends with my fellow CR classmates. Almost all of us decided to pursue a career in CR field out of similar intentions, and from the beginning it was refreshing to know that I would be going through this new adventure with people with similar interests and career ambitions as myself. While pursuing a career in CR or other socially-oriented careers does not automatically imply a lower salary and substantial debt, it is nonetheless a risky choice, and deciding to take this route means that you believe the potential benefits far exceed the risks. It was wonderful to see right from the start of grad school that nearly all of my classmates felt the same way about their education, the potential to have a meaningful career, and perhaps most importantly, everyone was quite grounded and easy going. This may be my own biased view, but I believe it takes a special type of person to pursue a degree in a field such as CR. They tend to be people who experienced success both in and out of the classroom, and would rather have a career focused on social progress and meaningful work than other fields with potentially more lucrative salaries. They are actively choosing the difficult path of graduate school curriculum, continuing the life of a student when others were eager to never sit in a classroom again and start making money. And since this decision to pursue higher education comes with the likelihood (or inevitability) of massive debt, it is not a choice to take lightly. In essence, everyone I met in the program was here because they wanted to be, and being in such an environment early on made for an easy transition into grad school life in DC. It did not take long for me to feel comfortable and fall in love with Georgetown, the city, and all of the wonderful people I met over my first two semesters.

            But this comfort and enjoyment of being a graduate student in DC came with a sadness and fear of having to leave for the summer after I had grown so accustomed to the DC life. I had only been here for a year, and now I was off to live for two months in a country by myself that I knew about only from a couple of books and internet articles. While I was excited for the trip and beyond grateful to had been selected for the fellowship, I nonetheless was feeling the nerves of having to leave a place that had quickly become my new home, and say goodbye to both my family and friends for the next two months.

            I think part of the reason this trip seemed to creep up quickly was due to being so preoccupied. As mentioned before, I was so caught up in the craziness otherwise known as the end of the semester, that the summer felt almost like this far and distant future. It is difficult, and perhaps impractical, to only be thinking about your future endeavors when there is so much that needs to be done in the present. When final exams, papers, and presentations begin to approach, one must try to block themselves out from any outside influences that may distract their attention, and focus on the immediate tasks. Even if I wanted to, I did not have the time to be constantly distracted by daydreaming about Germany. But then finals quickly came and went, and it was suddenly time to prepare for the big move to Braunschweig. While I was undeniably excited, the nerves started to kick into high gear, and there were a few nights leading up the trip where falling to sleep was an impossible task.

            As I reflected on my first year of grad school and what was to come in the summer, I was reminded that one can only prepare so much when uprooting to a new place and starting a new position. You never really know what to expect until you actually arrive and begin to live by day in the experience that seemed like a distant task not so long ago. As cliché as it is to say, expect the unexpected is perfect advice for this experience. I have never understood the people that have every minute of each day planned out when they travel or go on vacation. While some preparation is practical, I believe it is also important to leave some free time for the unanticipated. For example, three years ago around this time I went on a field study to Sweden, Norway and Iceland. Most of our trip was extensively planned out, with some plans mandatory and others being optional. When we arrived to Stockholm late one night, a few of us decided to grab some food, against our Professor’s advice to stay in and rest. While in line for food, we started talking to two friendly Swedish policemen also in line. They asked us if we were into hockey, and when we said yes, told us about the European hockey cup that was beginning the next day with the Swedish national team playing Alex Ovechkin and the Russians. It seemed like too cool of an opportunity to pass up, so the next night we went and had a blast rooting for Sweden alongside their passionate fan base. You never know what you might find out about just by having a casual conversation with locals, who tend to really know how to make the most out of spending time in their home region, and provide a perspective beyond the pages in a travel guide.  

            Writing all of this out has helped my nerves diminish quite a bit. Despite my reservations, I know that I’ll soon be arriving in what appears to be a beautiful city and wonderful place to live, while working with a highly respected organization with a long history of producing excellent scholarly work. I am fortunate to have been selected for the fellowship, and then connected with the Georg Eckert institute, and I do not plan to take this for granted. I want to experience all that I can during my two months here, while doing a top notch job at my internship and networking with scholars and professionals from around the world. I plan to take advantage of every responsibility and opportunity that comes my way, making the most of every experience, and taking countless pictures (and if I’m being honest with myself, snapchats) along the way. My next posts will be about arriving and settling in Braunschweig, and my initial impressions of my internship. So long for now!  

First Post!

Welcome to my blog! My posts are one part reflective, one part observational, and one part long winded ramblings that may have little or nothing to do with the main points of the post, with terrible jokes and banter throughout. I am currently a graduate student in the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University. My academic interests include transitional justice, international law, human rights, and atrocity prevention. I also have a love-hate interest in American politics, and love nothing more than constructive dialouge and debate.

I am fortunate to have been connected with the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany. They are a massive research facility focused on scholarly analysis of educational media across the world, in particular how education shapes a child’s perception of their own national, religious, and cultural identity, and how they learn to view people of different backgrounds than themselves. Educational materials, instructors, and curricula  play a substantial role in creating perceptions of the "other" from an early age.

The institute is quite large, with over 140 staff, interns, and visiting scholars. I will be working under a side program called the Georg Arnhold Program on Education for Sustainable Peace. The program was founded in 2013 by Henry Arnhold in honor of his Grandfather, who was a successful German businessmen and passionate advocate for peace education. The program has many endeavors, most notably an annual symposium in New York, houses visiting scholars, and holds an annual summer school for scholars focused on the intersection of conflict resolution and education. My work primarily revolves around preparation for the summer school, which will take place in the last week of June. The topic of this year’s summer school is "Transitional Justice and Education: Engaging Children and Youth in Justice and Peacebuilding through Educational Media." The selected students will join panel discussions and present their research related to the integration of transitional justice themes into educational curricula in post conflict regions.

Hope you enjoy my posts! I hope to post at least once a week, and who knows, some of them might even be worth reading.