IS Academy Closing Event

IS ACADEMY CLOSING EVENT: 9 DECEMBER

The IS Academy Education and International Development celebrated the final and closing event on 9 December, 2016. Looking back on more than a decade of research and policy engagement in the field of education and international development, the event aimed to bring together the two focus themes that have guided our activities in the last years: sexual and reproductive health and peacebuilding, and the role of education therein.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sara Meger on why we fail to end conflict related violence

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In recent years, the world has become all too aware of the prevalence of rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated in war. This form of gendered violence has repeatedly made headlines, in conflicts like South Sudan, Darfur, Burundi, and the DR Congo. As a result, rape has become an increasingly common consideration in foreign policy, with sexual violence becoming the cornerstone of the UN’s Women, Peace, and Security agenda. Recognized in at least 13 UN Security Council resolutions passed since 2000, ‘rape as a weapon of war’ is considered a security threat on par with nuclear and biological weapons, terrorism, and arms proliferation.

Despite this, policy and aid programs have seemingly had little impact on the perpetration of sexual violence in conflict. In this lecture, Sara Meger underscored some of the problematic assumptions that have underpinned international scholarship, advocacy, and policy that has shaped how we think about and respond to sexual violence in war, and offered an alternative framework based on feminist and political-economy analysis. Arguing that the harmonized and one-size-fits-all approach undertaken in global policy and aid programming has produced an unsustainable and ineffectual paradigm based on the fetishization of this violence, Sara Meger argued that to overcome fetishization, we need to disaggregate ‘rape as a weapon of war’ and examine what drives this violence in different conflicts. This requires not only a shift in attention from positivist and empiricist approaches that have typified UN-led and bilateral responses to conflict-related sexual violence. It also requires an analysis of various means by which gendered violence is conceived, produced, and exploited in different conflicts, with a view to how globalized economic and political structures impact local gender inequalities, giving this violence its particular instrumentality in different conflicts.

Panel discussion

By Esther Miedema (University of Amsterdam), Sara Meger  (Central European University), Jenny Parkes (University College London), Carmen Reinoso (Oxfam Novib), Ismail Moalim (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Elizabeth Maber (University of  Amsterdam)          

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In this panel discussants gave a response to the interesting and elaborate presentation of keynote speaker Sara Meger. We discussed the difficulty of translating international policies to local practices and vise versa. Also, we elaborated and discussed the need for better collaboration between the policy field and academic world in order to make this proces of translation more effective.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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Pecha Kucha presentations junior researchers

Part of this day included four Pecha Kucha presentations of students who presented their recent research.
Anna Page presented ‘Balancing the global and local in ‘participatory’ approaches to SRHR education.’ This study explored participation in a youth group in rural western Kenya initiated as part of a sexual and reproductive health and rights programme. Marco Gallo explained his research with the title: ‘Positive vs Negative Reintegration: A case study of the educational program for ex-combatants in Bogota, Colombia.’ This research constitutes an in-depth analysis of the educational reintegration program for guerrilla and paramilitary ex-combatants in Colombia. Pindi Graham De Silva answered the research question: In the post-war context of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, how can teacher training influence teacher agency that may or may not promote social cohesion and social justice? The focus of this research is looking into social cohesion in Sri Lankan society 7 years on from the bloody culmination of a 3 decade long ethnic civil war. Anna Lena Gleich spoke about why Europeans need to be educated in the rights of refugees. Anna Lena argued that education in human, refugee’s and children’s rights can play a seminal role in avoiding conflicts between refugees and receiving host societies and that this also applies to so-called developed countries.

Anna Lena Gleich won the Audience Award for her presentation on the refugee crisis and Marco Gallo won the Jury Award for his presentation on the re-integration of ex-combatants in Colombia. Congratulations!

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