OICD Open Research Seminar
17th May 2013
Doshisha University Karasuma Campus
(Shikokan SK116) 4.30pm-6.30pm
Mis/Managing the Resources of Identity:
Towards an Understanding of the Roots and Possible Solutions to the Water Management Crisis in Central Asia
Aliya Tskhay MA (Research Fellow, OICD)
Open OICD Research Seminar: Come to listen to research which incorporates Intra-Cultural Development perspectives–open to all! No participation fee. No registration necessary.
This article introduces an innovative “intra-cultural development” approach to resource conflict resolution by looking at how to engage with problem-causing national identity dynamics in the conflicting region. The case-study presented here analyzes a water resource conflict in the Central Asian region and the social, political and economic causes of it. The focus then turns to the question of how to engage national identities in order to positively manipulate their underlying conflict causing divisions, transforming these into broader more regionally co-operative narratives and therefore potentially offering a solution to the some of the underlying roots of the conflict.
Bio: Aliya Tskhay is a PhD Candidate at Graduate School of Global Studies, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. Her PhD research is on transparency issues in extractive idustries of developing countries with a focus on the role of foreign investors. She has been an active member of the Organization for Intra-Cultural Development (OICD) for two years.
Please direct inquiries to email@example.com
Room details and a map of the Kyoto campus will follow.
Seems like only a few months ago that we hosted the 2012 OICD workshop in Kyoto (it was–October 2012)!
The 5-6th July 2013 conference is now closing in and we have a page outlining the program and theme.
The conference will be open to OICD members. Please do try and attend if you are in Japan on the dates mentioned! Further details and a full program will be upload to the conference page in due course.
Every month identity insight features an article outling the work of a key member of the OICD. This month Ellen Kaplan, chair of Theatre, professor of acting and directing at Smith College, and Executive Committee member of the OICD, discusses her work with women in Sarajevo.
In the 1990s, Europe saw the worst carnage since WWII, with the breakup of Yugoslavia, in what became known as the 3rd Balkan War. Seventy years after it was created, Yugoslavia – the Land of the Southern Slavs – no longer exists. The conflicts that erupted were occasioned by virulent nationalism that erupted upon the death of strongman Tito and the collapse of his quasi-Communist government. The wars in the 90s between former provinces of Yugoslavia killed 140,000 people and were characterized by “ethnic cleansing” – the driving of millions from their homes. Ultimately, the Serbian-led drive to create a ‘greater Serbia’ – one of the major factors in the war – was unsuccessful.
In summer of 2011, Peg Denithorne and I interviewed Bosnian women who lived through the 3rd Balkan war and are now trying to recover their lives from the ashes of war. Denithorne, an acclaimed theatre director, had visited Sarajevo ten years earlier. She and I were invited by the members of Sarajevo Phoenix, a women’s collective in Sarajevo, to record stories of the war and to create a play based on these interviews.
The city of Sarajevo is a true kaleidoscope of cultures, known for its rich ethnic diversity and cosmopolitan mix of flavors and textures, and its blending of Muslim, Christian, Roma and Jewish communities. The crossroads of empires, it had its own very distinctive life. When the wars came to an end, people sought to repair what had been destroyed. In Sarajevo, a group of women crossed ethnic lines to work and talk; together, they formed Sarajevo Phoenix, an embroidery collective of Muslim, Croat and Serb women who lived through the siege of Sarajevo; these women, each of whom is the principal bread-winner for her family, make and sell hand-stitched items, using the web to generate international sales. The collective is more than an economic lifeline – it offers the women friendship, and hope.
Our interviews began with the members of Sarajevo Phoenix. In addition to the primary group, we interviewed women in Srebenica still searching for the missing bones of their relatives; survivors of rape camps; refugees rebuilding their lives; Serb women who opposed the slaughter; and women involved in Heart Through Peace, an advocacy and service organization based in Kostaric, in Bosnia. Their stories form the core of a play exploring war and its aftermath, as seen through the eyes of women who work together as a means of survival and an act of courage.
Sarajevo Phoenix, a play in two acts, is a collage of narratives from these women. Their accounts of the war and its aftermath form the core of the performance.
Documentary theatre piece based on extensive interviews with members of Sarajevo Phoenix, a mixed-ethnicity collective, and others who survived the siege of Sarajevo (1992-1995). The play gives theatrical shape to personal stories of struggle and redemption as the conflict played out – and continues to play out – in Sarajevo.
As a work of Verbatim Theatre, a documentary theatre based on material culled from first-person interviews and pre-existing text, Sarajevo Phoenix draws upon local knowledge to create counter-histories that are inherently political, often lyrical, and deeply poetic.
The play may be seen as a form of Verbatim Theatre which is called “Theatre of Witness,” in which survivors reveal and explore their experiences undergoing social ruptures and civic trauma. Witnesses are speaking the unspeakable, bearing witness in their bodies. While at first victims may be too traumatized to speak, re-telling can be a kind of public mourning; expression leads to healing, and makes a contribution to history. Sarajevo Phoenix allows survivors of the Balkans wars to speak back to history and come to terms with those events that fundamentally altered their lives. As such, it also contributes to history, as told from the perspective of its agents and its victims.
Unmourned losses are dangerous; theatre may offer a site for both commemoration and celebration. As outsiders, we have been invited to facilitate memory in large part because of our status as non-participants, in a process that permits survivors to speak back to history. Sarajevo Phoenix allows for such healing, both in Bosnia and elsewhere.
In this project, witnesses to history have invited us to shape and share their stories; this brings both ethical and aesthetic challenges. This becomes a story told from the perspective of insiders and outsiders, both; the writers’ responses are part of the story, but if they remain implicit, unstated, or invisible – an opportunity is lost. In our work, verbatim testimony is selected and shaped by non-participants. To make this element explicit, we intercut photos, theatrical imagery (e.g. ashes of 2 million books filling the skies), and historical material, offering multiple perspectives without sacrificing the core story of survival. By developing the script in workshop with adult learners from the inner core of an economically devastated American city, we uncover links between survivors of different kinds of war – we are creating an elastic working script that will exist in different versions, depending on where – and to whom – it is told.
What functions as a theatre of memory in Sarajevo is another kind of theatre when presented in the US. By developing the script in workshop with adult learners from the inner core of an economically devastated American city (Holyoke, MA) we have uncovered links between survivors of different kinds of war. Sarajevo Phoenix is an elastic, working script that will exist in different versions, depending on where – and to whom – it is told.
The play presents a wonderful opportunity to share the Bosnian women’s experiential knowledge with people all over the Balkans and the United States. Their fine-grained memories of war and survival are part of a global project of witnessing, and are appropriate for educational and theatrical venues (including the Theatre of Memory/Theatre MESS Festival to which we have been invited); and for audiences in the US, where the events in the former Yugoslavia are part of a ‘forgotten war.”
Welcome to this week’s Regional Round-up feature, where we bring you the top stories from the past week’s global news. This week, the spotlight is on Burma, the Philippines and Mali.
Burma: Opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has this week offered to Mediate peace talks between the Burmese government and ethnic minority groups.
Philippines: President Benigno Aquino visits Mindanao to meet with Muslim separatist rebel leaders and launch a new joint development programme, pushing the peace process toward a positive conclusion.
Mali: The atmosphere in Gao remains tense after two suicide bombings and a surprise attack by Islamist fighters over the past week.
The legitimacy of military intervention as a means of resolving conflicts is continuously waning – one only has to consider the negative reaction of people around the world to such interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, to realise this. As such, discussions on non-military intervention, and the various forms in which it could take, have become far more prevalent in the international community.
Non-military intervention requires a complex and long-term strategic package, incorporating the needs and voices of local communities, state institutions, and international organisations. As such, it is generally considered more difficult in terms of planning and implementation than a military venture. Despite this, it is increasingly seen as the only way to ensure lasting and sustainable peace and stability.
Non-military intervention can take many forms and span across a wide range of different sectors. Existing examples include youth initiatives, educational reforms, platforms for dialogue between conflicting parties, along with campaigns involving media and the arts. Projects can be implemented on both a grass-roots level and nation/region wide, enabling a multitude of engagement possibilities.
The OICD feels that non-military intervention provides key opportunities to engage identities for peace-building purposes. Such projects bring individuals and groups together, helping to promote cohesion, whereas deployment of military forces for conflict resolution tends to emphasize and reinforce existing divisions.
With this in mind, we would like to pose a number of questions to our followers:
What other benefits, or drawbacks, does non-military intervention provide as a method of conflict resolution?
What are the barriers to implementation of non-military projects and initiatives in conflict or post-conflict zones?
Who should be the driving force behind such initiatives? (Governments, NGOs, International Community etc.)
We look forward to hearing your opinions!
This week’s quote is taken from The Crisis of the State and Regionalism in West Africa: Identity, Citizenship and Conflict, Edited by W. Alade Fawole and Charles Ukeje:
‘Clearly, war and debilitating conflicts are antithetical to development. Negotiating peace and stability will require reconceptualising citizenship from a group to a national or ‘universal’ perspective and re-individualising it.’
To view the book on Amazon, please click here.
Not so busy at the OICD this week, but there are still some exciting features to look out for on Identity Insight.
This week’s ThinkThursday feature will discuss issues surrounding non-military intervention, with a focus on how to engage identities for peace-building purposes.
In the office, we are busy preparing this month’s upcoming newsletter, with lots of updates and exclusive features. Remember to sign up to the mailing list at the bottom of the page!
OICD introduces a weekly Regional Round-up feature, where we bring you the top stories from the past week’s global news. This week, the spotlight is on Mali, Algeria and Burma.
Mali: Following French President Hollande’s visit to Mali last weekend, Paris has announced their aim to begin withdrawing troops from the region as early as March, and the head of UN Peacekeeping has discussed the increasing likelihood on a UN mission in the country.
Algeria: Still reeling from the shock of the gas plant siege, discussions in Algeria centre on whether further democratization will allow space for Islamic extremism, or strengthen the bulwark against it.
Burma: The Burmese government and ethnic Kachin rebels have reached an agreement, with the help of Chinese mediation, which could spell an end to the conflict in the northern region which has lasted for fifty years.
Which other stories from around the world have you found interesting this week?
Welcome to ThinkThursday, the OICD’s brand new feature, encouraging our followers to engage with us, and consider issues related to the work of the organization. We hope that, over the coming weeks and months, ThinkThursday will become a hive of discussion and activity as we bring you features in a range of styles and media, including audio and video, lectures and interviews. ThinkThursday is all about you – our followers – and we need your voices! We’re extremely excited about this feature, and what’s to come, and are looking forward to hearing your comments and opinions.
This week, for our introductory feature, we’ve decided to focus on the Official UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, an annual event established in 2010, in order to promote harmony between all people, regardless of their faith. World Interfaith Harmony Week, which takes place throughout the first week of February, is a celebration of the diversity of global religions, and aims to ‘provide a focal point from which all people of goodwill can recognize that the common values they hold far outweigh the differences they have, and thus provide a strong dosage of peace and harmony to their communities’.
In aid of World Interfaith Harmony Week, Breakfasts are held around the world, in locations from Nigeria to China, where people are invited to host public meals within their communities, bringing together those of different faiths, along with those who are of no religion. The program endeavours to create greater understanding and cooperation between such individuals. This year, the theme has been: “We are all connected by compassion”. (For more information about the Interfaith Breakfast program, please click here).
Other initiatives include an essay competition conducted by the Religious Youth Service (RYS), in Pakistan, among students of different institutions on the topic of ‘Interfaith Harmony and Global Peace’, an Interfaith Tree Planting Event for Co-existence and Peace at the Cheng Ek Killing Field Museum in Cambodia, and an Evening with the Pontanima Choir: “Musica sacra Bosnae”, held by International Forum Bosnia’s Centre for Interfaith Dialogue.
The United Nations General Assembly believes that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace – what do you think? The OICD would love to hear your ideas, opinions and experiences on the topic of interfaith harmony and ways to promote it. If you have been involved in any community initiatives on promotion of interreligious dialogue or would like to organize one, please share it with us.
To find out more about the Official UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, please visit the following links:
Tayler Groom has joined the OICD as a volunteer while being on her exchange program at Doshisha University. Originally from the UK, Tayler has made OICD’s working group more international. Tayler is majoring in Modern History and Politics with a special interest in identity conflicts and, in the few months of her volunteer work, she has contributed to the development of OICD’s social media, research and projects.
Volunteering at the OICD truly epitomises the phrase ‘being thrown in at the deep end’ – my first week saw me reviewing books and articles, writing conference reports and drafting various internal documents, as well as researching alternative solutions for peace, and deepening my understanding of the issues surrounding conflict and identity.
My main focus during my time as a volunteer has been the drafting and implementation of a new Social Media Strategy, encompassing platforms such as our new WordPress blog, Identity Insight, LinkedIn, and further development of the Facebook and Twitter pages. As my first experience of working within a non-profit organisation, it is really encouraging to see my ideas and work having a tangible impact.
The working environment is vibrant and refreshing, with the other members comprising a variety of nationalities and coming from a diverse range of backgrounds, academic and otherwise. This certainly makes for engaging discussions, and helps create a stimulating yet focused organisational culture.
One of the major benefits of volunteering within a smaller organisation is the opportunity to work across a range of areas and projects, and experience all aspects of organisational life, along with gaining useful insights into the internal workings of non-profits.
The OICD has a highly interdisciplinary membership, enabling volunteers and interns to learn about and assist in research covering an array of interesting topics, from anthropological work to political science. What is particularly valuable about volunteering for the OICD is the possibility to apply academic theory and methodological research to current conflict situations. As a result, my comprehension of the dynamics of such situations, and the role of identity both in causing and resolving them, is continuously increasing.
What makes a volunteer position within the OICD so worthwhile is the ability to make a genuine contribution to the work of the organisation, and have your opinion as a member of the Working Group valued. It has been a great pleasure to join the organisation at such an exciting time, and I am looking forward to seeing it grow and develop during my time as an intern.
For more information on joining the OICD as a volunteer, please visit our Engagement page for Individuals here.