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Academic Year 2019-2020

Upcoming Events 2019-2020
OxFID 2020: Beyond Pledges in partnership with UNDP & NYT
Hosted by Oxford Forum for International Development

February 8-9, 2020
Blavatnik School of Government
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter OX2 6GG

Executive Director Alex de Waal will be speaking on a panel on Human Rights.
Program details available here.


Laying the past to rest: Challenges of the TPLF/EPRDF state building project

Thursday, February 27, 2019
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
160 Packard Avenue
Medford, MA 02155
Cabot Room 702

Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe, Senior Fellow at the World Peace Foundation will discuss his recently released book, ‘Laying the past to rest: Challenges of the TPLF/EPRDF state building project’, Hurst publishers, London.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), founded as a small guerrilla movement in 1974, became the leading party in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). After decades of civil war, the EPRDF defeated the government in 1991, and has been the dominant party in Ethiopia ever since. Its political agenda of federalism, revolutionary democracy and a developmental state has been unique and controversial.

Drawing on his own experience as a senior member of the TPLF/EPRDF leadership, and his unparalleled access to internal documentation, Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe identifies the organisational, political and sociocultural factors that contributed to victory in the revolutionary war, particularly the Front’s capacity for intellectual leadership. Charting its challenges and limitations, he analyses how the EPRDF managed the complex transition from a liberation movement into an established government. Finally, he evaluates the fate of the organisation’s revolutionary goals over its subsequent quarter-century in power, assessing the strengths and weaknesses the party has bequeathed to the country.

Laying the Past to Rest is a comprehensive and balanced analysis of the genesis, successes and failings of the EPRDF’s state-building project in contemporary Ethiopia, from a uniquely authoritative observer.

Forged in Fire? Rohingya’s Impossible Identity Amidst Mass Violence and Deterritorialization

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
160 Packard Avenue
Medford, MA 02155
Crowe Room

Elliott Prasse-Freeman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology at the National University of Singapore. He received his doctorate in anthropology from Yale University. He is working on a book focusing on Burmese subaltern political thought as adduced from an extended ethnography of activism and contentious politics in the country’s semi-authoritarian setting. Dr Prasse-Freeman is also currently studying Rohingya political subjectivity amidst dislocation and mass violence.

This lecture examines the physical and symbolic violence waged by the Myanmar state on the Rohingya people, exploring in particular the effects of that violence on the (re)production of Rohingya identity. It analyzes the violence as foregrounding the ethnic identity and use of the ethnonym Rohingya, increasing the intensity of some people’s affiliations to it while driving away others, even as the name’s importance makes its content and contours an object of contention and cooptation. I identify internal cleavages in Rohingya identification emerging along four specific axes: First, elites appealing to the narrow, racialized demands of the exclusionary Myanmar state are engaging in a project of strategic essentialism that, when combined with average Rohingyas’ nostalgic imaginaries of life before the military-state’s assaults, constructs a reified Rohingya that does not reflect the various modes of differentiation – particularly along lines of geographic origin, class, and religiosity – that have long existed for Rohingya in Myanmar. Second, the narrowing of Rohingya-ness is absorbed and reproduced by humanitarian institutions’ knowledge machines. Third, variations in Rohingya expression have been accentuated by repeated dispossessions endured by groups of Rohingya over the past four decades, leading to further differentiation in the identity. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, both those expelled from Myanmar and those under assault within the country have faced the challenges of securing their individual/family survival while also preserving their collective ethno-cultural identity; identification with the Rohingya ethnonym varies to the extent that individuals have different perceptions regarding how such identification may either protect or imperil them. Taken together, Rohingya identity hence often becomes an impossible object as the very same violent crucible in which Rohingya have been forged is also that which extrudes them. They are simultaneously interpellated as Rohingya by the violence that denies that name and even compels them to reject it. Through multi-sited ethnography in Cox’s Bazaar, Mae Sot and Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Yangon, as well as on various Rohingya social media spaces, to inquire into the consequences for the Rohingya identity, the political movements around it, and for various individuals – often in radically different class and spatial positions – who may, under certain circumstances, call themselves Rohingya.

Past Events 2019-2020
Why Judgments Are Not History: the limitations of courtroom contributions to the historical record in Africa

Monday, November 4, 2019
5 p.m.
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
160 Packard Ave.  Cabot 703
Medford, MA

A central claim of international criminal prosecutions is that they contribute to fact-finding and establishing a historical record. But do they? In this presentation Dr. Thijs Bouwknegt addresses the process of legal-historical truth finding, the use of witness testimonies as historical sources, and the legacies of international trials in the wake of the civil war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002), the genocide in Rwanda (1994), and contested leadership change in Côte d’Ivoire (2010 -2011). He raises important questions about the discrepancies between prosecutorial and historical endeavors.

Thijs Bouwknegt is a researcher and lecturer at the Netherlands Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD). He specialises in transitional justice, international criminal justice, mass violence in Africa and comparative genocide studies.


Overcoming Extreme Inequality and its Evils

Presented by Yale Global Justice program and Quinnipiac Albert Schweitzer Institute
November 1-November 3, 2019
‘Inequality’s Evils’
November 1, 2019

Faculty Room, Connecticut Hall, Yale University
New Haven, CT


Alex de Waal, Executive Director, World Peace Foundation : Famine
Bridget Conley, Research Director, World Peace Foundation : Mass Atrocities
Michal Apollo, Pedagogical University of Cracow
Chair: Anat Biletzki, Albert Schweitzer Institute / Quinnipiac University)•

Full program available at Yale Global Justice.


Agency of Bones Marginal Memory
a talk with Bridget Conley

October 28, 2019
Bard College
30 Campus Rd.
Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504
The Hannah Arendt Center

Contemporary efforts to answer the question, ‘Why memorialize Atrocities’, usually begins with the question, ‘For whom is memory?’


Prospects for Democracy in Sudan

Friday, October 11, 2019
6:30pm to 8:00pm



Hosted by the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit
London School of Economics
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE
Houghton Street, London

The panel will discuss the dynamics of the 2019 Sudanese revolution, characterised by both non-violent civic mobilisation and the fast-evolving transnational and mercenarised political marketplace.

Alex de Waal, Executive Director, World Peace Foundation,  Research Programme Director, Conflict Research Programme
Raga Makawi, Sudanese Activist and Editor at Zed Books & African Arguments
Dr Rim Turkmani, Research Director, Conflict Research Programme – Syria


Law, Justice and Civicness: lessons from South Sudan

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
6:30pm to 8:00pm


Hosted by the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit
London School of Economics
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building

The panel will discuss the efforts of civil society actors campaigning for systematic change despite being a part of a system that profits from their oppression.

Alex de Waal, Executive Director, World Peace Foundation,  Research Programme Director, Conflict Research Programme
Rachel Ibreck, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths University
David Deng, Human Rights Lawyer

Red Flags and Red Diamonds: the warning signs and political drivers of arms trade corruption

Thursday, September 19, 2019
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
160 Packard Ave., Mugar Room 231
Medford, MA 02155

Why is corruption so prevalent in the international arms trade? And what are the key warning signs or “Red Flags” that an arms deal might be corrupt? Dr. Samuel Perlo-Freeman, Program Director of the World Peace Foundation program on Global Arms Business and Corruption presents his latest report for World Peace Foundation, “Red flags and Red Diamonds – the warning signs and political drivers of arms trade corruption”, which discusses some of the key red flags relating to the buyer, the seller, and the details of the deal itself; but also challenges the discourse of corruption “risk” or “vulnerability”, which often seems to present corruption as a pitfall into which companies and governments may accidentally stumble. On the contrary, it is often an active choice by both arms companies and recipient governments, and in “Red Flags and Red Diamonds”, Perlo-Freeman analyses the political and economic drivers that make this a choice they are all too often willing to make.


Memory from the Margins:
Ethiopia’s Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum

This book asks the question: what is the role of memory during a political transition? Drawing on Ethiopian history, transitional justice, and scholarly fields concerned with memory, museums and trauma, the author reveals a complex picture of global, transnational, national and local forces as they converge in the story of the creation and continued life of one modest museum in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa—the Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum. It is a study from multiple margins: neither the case of Ethiopia nor memorialization is central to transitional justice discourse, and within Ethiopia, the history of the Red Terror is sidelined in contemporary politics. From these nested margins, traumatic memory emerges as an ambiguous social and political force. The contributions, meaning and limitations of memory emerge at the point of discrete interactions between memory advocates, survivor-docents and visitors. Memory from the margins is revealed as powerful for how it disrupts, not builds, new forms of community.


Book events:

August 21, 2019
Hilton Addis Ababa
Menelik II Ave, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

August 23, 2019
Mekelle University
Adihaki Campus

‘The Missing Picture’: Rethinking Genocide Studies & Prevention

14th Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars

July 14 – 19, 2019 Phnom Penh, Cambodia

July 16, 2019  15:30 – 17:00
Panel: Missing Pictures: Critical Genocide Studies and Prevention, ‘Missing the Point: Deconstructing Genocide Memory’
Bridget Conley, World Peace Foundation, Tufts University

July 17, 2019  9 – 10:30
Panel: Representing Violence and Suffering: Linguistic, Artistic and Conceptual Frameworks as Limits and Opportunities
Chair: Alex de Waal, World Peace Foundation; Tufts University

July 18, 2019  11:00 – 12:30
Panel: Starvation Crimes as Part of the Missing Picture in Genocide Studies and International Criminal Justice
The Fear of Famine: Why do International Criminal Justice Actors Avoid Addressing Starvation Crimes Randle DeFalco, University of Liverpool
The Seven Uses of Mass Starvation Bridget Conley, World Peace Foundation, Tufts University
Starvation Crimes Alex de Waal, World Peace Foundation; Tufts University

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