Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation 2018

Trust, diplomacy and conflict 2018

ICCS students together with practitioners for annual training programme

In April 2018, the ICCS hosted its fifth annual training programme on Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation at the University of Birmingham. The programme brought together students, researchers and practitioners from around the world to learn about the different approaches to conflict resolution in International Relations. Delegates included representatives from the NGO Conciliation Resources, Peaceful Change Initiative, Forward Thinking, the MoD, the Military Academy of Lithuania, the Sudanese Consulate in Jeddah, and the Embassy of Venezuela.


Prof Paul Schulte (Keynote) served as Director of Defence Organisation in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad; Founding Head of the U.K.’s interdepartmental Post Conflict Reconstruction Unit (now the Stabilisation Unit); Chief Speechwriter for two UK Defence Secretaries, John Reid and Des Browne; had a distinguished career as a civil servant in the Ministry of Defence; was MODUK’s Director of Proliferation and Arms Control; and UK Commissioner on the UN Commissions for Iraqi Disarmament: UNSCOM and UNMOVIC during the long Iraqi Compliance Crisis. He also is an Honorary Professor in the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at Birmingham University. He is also a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College, University of London, and a research associate of the School of Oriental and African Studies.  He is a member of the University of Birmingham Policy Commission on Remote Warfare and of UK Pugwash and a regular participant in the CSIS US, UK and French Nuclear Trilateral process. 

Dr Tereza Capelos is Senior Lecturer in political psychology at the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security and Programme Director for the Global Cooperation and Security MSc. Her research focuses on the affective, cognitive and motivational determinants of political judgments. She is particularly interested in the role of emotions and values on political radicalization and tolerance, the formation and updating of institutional and individual reputations and the role of trust and confidence on political accountability attributions.

 Dr Naomi Head is Senior Lecturer of Politics at the University of Glasgow and an Honorary Research Fellow in Communication and Conflict at ICCS. Her research focuses on the relationships between legitimacy, communication, emotions, empathy, and political violence.  Her research is influenced by critical theory and constructivism and the empirical dimensions of her work include the Balkan conflicts and the dynamics of the Security Council, the role of dialogue, trust and empathy in the Iranian nuclear negotiations, and the dynamics of empathy in protracted conflict which focuses on Israel and Palestine.

Dr Joan McGregor is a South African who worked to end the minority led apartheid system, which segregated South Africans based on colour and access to resources.  Leading up to and following the first democratic election in 1994 her work focused on rebuilding the broken relationships in that society; working for an inclusive and just society where all citizens would be treated with equality.  She was an active member of a community based mediation group.

She is currently based in Birmingham, UK.  She works in conflict transformation in many different ways on request from a range of clients.  Each consultancy is tailor-made to meet the requirements of the clients.  In addition to her work in conflict transformation internationally, Joan also teaches practical mediation skills at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London; at the annual Spring School, at the Mindanao Institute for Peace (MPI) where she offers two modules: From Understanding to Action: designing conflict sensitive interventions; and Culture and Identity as Resources for Peace.  Joan also taught and for several years convened the masters level module Conflict Humanitarian Aid and Social Reconstruction in the Department of International Development at the University of Birmingham.  Joan has been responsible for these two days of the ICCS training programme since its inception.

In 2007 Joan completed an MA in Conflict and Peace Studies at Coventry University and in 2016 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Birmingham in recognition of her fifty years of working in conflict transformation.

Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler is Professor of International Relations and Director of the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation, and Security at the University of Birmingham.  His publications include: (with Ken Booth) The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation, and Trust in World Politics (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); (edited with Jean-Marc Coicaud) National Interest Versus Solidarity: Particular and Universal Ethics in International Life (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2008); (with Ian Clark) The British Origins of Nuclear Strategy 1945-55 (Oxford: Oxford University Press). He has also written widely on humanitarian intervention and is the author of Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). His new book, Trusting Enemies is under contract with Oxford University Press. He was the academic lead on the Sixth Birmingham Policy Commission on ‘The Security Impact of Drones: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK’ and was the PI on an ESRC funded project under RCUK's 'Science and Security' programme on 'The Political Effects of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Conflict and Cooperation Within and Between States'. He is co-editor with Professor Christian Reus-Smit and Professor Evelyn Goh of the prestigious Cambridge Series in International Relations.

Dr Christalla Yakinthou is Birmingham Fellow in the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security and the Department of Political Science and International Studies. Her areas of research interest include transitional justice and conflict transformation, the protection of human rights, political design for conflict societies, power-sharing, and the role of ethnic conflict and historical memory in political architecture. She has an active interest in the politics of the MENA and Mediterranean region.  She is firmly committed to bridging the divide between academia and practice. Prior to her appointment at Birmingham, she worked extensively in transitional justice and conflict transformation. Between 2009 and 2011 she established and managed the International Center for Transitional Justice's (ICTJ) Cyprus Program. In 2011 she moved to ICTJ's MENA headquarters in Beirut, where she primarily managed projects on memory and conflict in Lebanon. She has provided policy advice for international organisations, large NGOs, and a number of governments. She is also co-founder of the Bluestocking Institute for Global Peace and Justice, an Australia-based NGO fostering dialogue on issues of global importance including peacebuilding, sustainable development, and social movements.


Programme PDF.

The challenges of international cooperation (Professor Nicholas J Wheeler)
An introduction to the main themes of the course.

The role of memory in Cyprus negotiations  (Dr Christalla Yakinthou)
What impact does the negotiating process have on communities affected by conflict? Exploring the fragilities of mediation in the ongoing peace process in Cyprus.

Role Play: Overcoming the dynamics of India Pakistan mistrust

Participants will be split in teams and take on the role of Indian and Pakistani senior diplomats in bilateral negotiations. Team members will present their positions and, supported by the facilitators, will engage in dialogue with the aim to explore possibilities of reaching common ground.

Practical Skills for Transformative Mediation (Dr Joan McGregor)
These two days provide a “hands-on” opportunity to experience mediation as one of a range of third party (non-military) interventions that can be applied at many different levels and by a range of actors in situations of conflict, violence and post settlement social reconstruction.   By the end of these two days participants will have deepened their knowledge of transformative mediation as one approach in dispute resolution, and will have had an opportunity to participate in practical exercises to develop the skills necessary for mediation and other forms of third-party Interventions. These sessions will introduce core practical skills and techniques for the Friday simulation.

Emotional decision-making in crisis and conflict (Dr Tereza Capelos)
Examining how emotions facilitate information searching, promote civic engagement, stimulate fight and fright responses, determine policy preferences, and provoke engagement or disengagement with members of in-groups and outgroups. Participants will engage with the concepts of emotion appraisal and regulation, and apply these insights to understanding the role of emotions in crises and conflicts.

The role of empathy in mediation (Dr Naomi Head)
What are the theoretical and practical challenges to developing empathy in deeply adversarial contexts? Examples drawn from recent work in Israel and Palestine.

Role Play: The Future of Hebron
A one and a half day simulation game exploring the deteriorating relations in Hebron. Participants will assume different roles across the divide in order to negotiate a complex set of agreements involving land rights, security frameworks, and border controls.

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