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Conference Reports


Genocide in Modern History

A colloquium on this theme, organized jointly by the Library of Contemporary History's Work-Group on Historical Peace Research, the Hamburg Institute of Social Research, and the Diocesan Academy of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, took place from 28 to 30 November 1997 in Stuttgart-Hohenheim.

The aim of the conference was to identify structures and characteristics of genocide, using various examples, chiefly from the twentieth century. It was hoped in this way, by a comparative analysis of the latest research, to give a more sharply defined picture of the phenomenon of genocide.

In their joint introduction, the organizers of the meeting, Stig Förster (Berne) and Gerhard Hirschfeld (Stuttgart), highlighted the importance of tackling this theme. Professor Förster gave a brief survey of the history of genocide and of scholarly investigation into this subject. In view of the increase in the incidence of genocide in the twentieth century, the central question, he said, was whether this should be regarded as the century of genocide, and, if so, how the recent increase was to be explained. Given the terminological confusion, there was a need, as with every historical phenomenon, for a more nuanced account and a definition of preconditions and specific characteristics. Professor Hirschfeld also stressed the legitimacy of comparative analysis but pointed out that no binding definition of genocide could be expected. The starting-point for a comparative approach was, he said, the murder of the European Jews, which, because of its uniqueness, served as a yardstick for many historians, even though proof was still required that genocide had occurred in the civil wars in Africa, the Middle East, and Yugoslavia.

The first talk, entitled `Problems of Comparing Genocide', was given by the American political scientist Robert Melson (Purdue/Indiana). His comparative analysis of the genocide of Armenians and Jews highlighted the importance of the Turkish and National Socialist regimes, which had, he said, gained power as a result of the havoc caused by war and revolution.

Beginning the chronological sequence, Norbert Finzsch (Hamburg) focused on the wars against the Indians in North America. Given that the events spanned a period of 500 years, Dr Finzsch confined himself to describing developments between 1637 and 1830, drawing attention to the distinction between pre-modern ethnocide and modern genocide. He began by rebutting the view that the decimation of the Indians resulting from diseases introduced by the settlers should be defined as genocide, in the sense of biological warfare. However, he did classify the policy of expulsion pursued under President Jackson--which cost 35 per cent of the indigenous population their lives, through a combination of fatal marches, hunger, and diseaseÑas genocide, though it was only a byproduct of state policy, he said, and not something that had been intended from the outset.

Using the example of the war against the Herero and Nama in German South-West Africa, the sociologist Trutz von Trotha (Siegen) described the processual nature of genocidal wars of pacification. He identified massacre, the strategy of starvation, and assembly in camps as the three crucial features here. The first two methods were characteristic of colonial wars of pacification. Given this sequence, Professor von Trotha concluded that genocide did not have `causes' but was a `product of processes'--a thesis that was disputed during the ensuing discussion and was countered with the notion of intentionality.

In his analysis of the genocide of the Armenians, Taner Akam (Ankara/Hamburg) placed the perpetrators centre-stage and described the genocide as the product of the belated emergence of a repressed Turkish national identity within the multinational Ottoman empire. The inflated need to 'catch up' which had resulted from this had, he said, been expressed in the construction of an enemy image.

The second day of the colloquium began with observations by Ulrich Herbert (Freiburg) on recent Holocaust researchÑnotably the work of G[sinvcircumflex]tz Aly. Using the example of the task-force that had initiated the extermination of the Jews in the Soviet Union at the start of the war, in 1941, Professor Herbert highlighted the fusion of ideological and utilitarian motives in the perpetrators. He described the developments in the Soviet Union as a spiral of dis-inhibition requiring a situational factor as a trigger. Contrary to popular assumptions, the Holocaust, he said, had not been a case of purely industrial-style genocide; it involved a large number of direct perpetrators and displayed a quite unusual archaic-cum-brutal quality.

Michael Zimmermann (Essen) drew attention to another group persecuted by the National Socialists: the Sinti and Roma. He described the `self-posed question of the gypsies' as a process that changed from a measure that had purely to do with criminal investigation to a co-ordinated and racially motivated policy of eradication on the part of the Reich's central security office, pursued largely in the shadow of the Holocaust.

From the very outset of his commentary on the Wehrmacht and genocidal warfare, Hannes Heer (Hamburg) claimed that, in view of the numbers of victims involved--one million Jews, 3.3 million prisoners of war, and 5-7 million civilians--the existence of an ethics of extermination within the Wehrmacht could not be disputed. Even before the outbreak of hostilities, he said, the Wehrmacht generals had been aware that war would have to be conducted outside the international legal conventions then in force. The troops too, he said, came to accept this kind of warfare after the first few weeks, as a result of propaganda, of their total subjection to the Nazi will, and of the need to identify with the collective spirit.

The talk by Bernd Bonwetsch (Bochum), entitled `Inward Genocide', dealt with the violent policies of the Stalinists. The criminalization of whole sections of the population that had been going on since the start of Soviet rule had at first served to command loyalty and had gradually acquired an independent economic momentum. The purpose of the so-called 'reformatory work-camps' was not, said Dr Bonwetsch, to destroy prisoners through hard labour, but to exploit their manpower. He did not classify the famine in the Ukraine in 1932-3, and the 7-8 million deaths caused by it, as genocide either, because, legally speaking, he said, there had been no prior plan of extermination--a provocative thesis that aroused controversy amongst most of the participants.

Another example of a state pursuing a policy of extermination against its own population was examined by Ben Kiernan (Yale) in his talk on Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Out of a total of 7.9 million Cambodians, 1.7 million died between 1975 and 1979, with ethnic minorities (Vietnamese, Chinese, Cham Muslims), being disproportionately hard-hit. Professor Kiernan identified a politically/ideologically driven desire for power and the existing racism of the Khmer lite as motives for the genocide.

The ethnologist Christian P. Scherrer (Copenhagen) cited a list of negative records in relation to the genocide in Rwanda. The mass participation of the population in the murder of more than a million people, and the mass exodus of 2.5 million into the neighbouring countries of Zaire/Congo and Tanzania were features unique to this instance of genocideÑa genocide which, in addition, involved a particularly horrific and atavistic method of killing. The causes of the genocide, said Dr Scherrer, were to be sought in the decades of artificial ethnicization of social groups practised by missionaries and development-workers.

In her talk on the war in former Yugoslavia, the historian Dr Marie-Janine Calic (Ebenhausen), who occasionally also works for the UN war-crimes tribunal in The Hague, concluded that this conflict could not be classified as a case of genocide. The investigating authorities had still not succeeded in establishing proof of the existence of state plans for, or the state co-ordination of, a genocidal war. Furthermore, the objective of all the parties concerned was not the physical annihilation of the opposing section of the population, but the creation, by violent means, of ethnically homogeneous territories.

The second day ended with a comparative analysis of the situation of Black Americans in the USA and Jews in Germany by the political scientist Manfred Henningsen (Hawaii). Given a more than hundred-year-old tradition of lynch law, particularly in the southern states, Henningsen asked why this permanent and open pogrom-atmosphere had not ended in a 'Black holocaust'. Contrary to the theses propounded by Daniel Goldhagen, Professor Henningsen rejected determinist explanations and pointed instead to the crucial role played by the political system, which, he said, ultimately decided whether racist tendencies in a society were actually translated into genocidal policies.

Following these individual examples from the history of genocide, the criminal lawyer and philosopher of law Reinhard Merkel (Hamburg) considered the definition of genocide in international law. Examining the history of the Nuremberg trials and of the International Court of Justice in its deliberations on the case of Yugoslavia, Professor Merkel traced the development of international norms outlawing genocidal acts and providing for their prosecution.

Elisabeth Domansky (Bloomington/Indiana) concluded the series of talks with some observations on the problems of civil society, executive power, and collective memory. When the nation underwent reinterpretation as a corporate body at the time of scientism in the nineteenth century, racism, said Professor Domansky, no longer had a metaphorical import but an actual one. In the wake of a `strategic population policy', the individual bodies became `operational areas', producing what were `new' people in the racial and aesthetic sense. Accordingly, societies waged war against the enemy both within and without.

In his concluding talk, 'Genocide and Civilization', Jan-Philipp Reemtsma (Hamburg) addressed another aspect of genocide: the rhetoric of violence. He focused in particular on the rhetoric about the break with modernity, which, he said, destroyed the ideal of the goal of non-violence and had only appeared in this form under National Socialism. This phenomenon could also be described as the rhetoric of war, because all situations were redefined as a state of war, with the result that the use of violence always appeared justified.

That there is a basic need for a proper definition of genocide was once again made clear at this meeting. None the less, the individual talks indicated a great number of avenues of research that ought to play a central role in further investigation of the phenomenon. These include the question of universality, the relationship between war and genocide and between the state and genocide, racist motives, and, finally, the pull between intention and the dynamics of action One crucial factor will be whether the complete (or maximum) physical elimination of victims will be regarded as one of the premisses in the definition of genocide, or whether the destruction of culture and society will suffice. A summary of the conference findings described here is being prepared for publication.

Birgit Beck/Markus Pöhlmann (University of Berne)

Peace and Conflict Research in Marburg

A ceremony was held on 27 January 1998 in Marburg to mark the introduction of the first officially recognized subsidiary course in peace and conflict research at a German university.

The ceremony was hosted jointly by the principal of the Philipps University and the university's Interdisziplinäre Arbeitsgruppe für Friedens und Abrüstungsforschung (IAFA: Interdisciplinary Work-Group on Research into Peace and Disarmament). The first batch of students had successfully completed the basic module of the subsidiary course, introduced in the winter term 1996-7, and it was felt there should now be an opportunity for an initial review and for those involved to reassure themselves as to the future tasks of peace and conflict research.

In his welcoming address, the vice- principal of the university, Professor Theo Schiller, pointed once again to the way in which the sorts of difficulties and problems involved in designing and implementing this type of course had been successfully overcome. Professor Ralf Zoll, a co-initiator of the course, then gave a description of its structure and content. He explained that a design based on conflict theory was the most appropriate for analysing different sorts of violently conducted conflicts. In this connection, he pointed not only to the necessity of being able to analyse conflicts correctly in terms of their individual components, but also to the priority task of settling conflicts as far as possible without violence and of creating effective forms of conflict regulation.

The former chairman of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (German Association for Peace and Conflict Research), Dr Wolfgang R. Vogt, pointed to the special significance of the Marburg course. This, he said, consisted not only in the fact that, at a time of ever-dwindling resources for peace and conflict research, it had proved possible to set up an interdisciplinary course of this breadth at a German university, but also in the fact that peace education as a whole had been strengthened by it. In this connection, Dr Vogt drew attention to the three introductory volumes produced especially for use on the course. The many new challenges that had emerged since the end of the East-West conflict, he said, had in no way rendered peace and conflict research obsolete; they necessitated even greater efforts in regard to both research and teaching, so that the Marburg course could become an important building-block in a critical-reflective theory of peace.

Professor Hajo Schmidt (FernUni-GHS Hagen) then reported on the attempts that had been made to establish peace and conflict research as a new subject at the Fernuniversität (Open University) in Hagen (up to now it had been offered only in the form of a few seminars within other, unrelated subjects). In contrast to the situation in Hesse, the ministry of arts and sciences in North Rhine-Westphalia had taken a sympathetic interest in these efforts from the very beginning. Although the course in Hagen would necessarily take a different form, by virtue of the structure of the Fernuniversität, the Hagen project in no way saw itself as a `rival enterprise'. In fact, the staff at Hagen had been able to benefit from the experiences of their counterparts at Marburg. Both universities should regard themselves as inspirational models for a strengthening of `peace studies' in universities.

In the afternoon, the former mayor of Bremen, Hans Koschnick, talked about his experiences as an EU conflict-mediator in Mostar and about the difficulties encountered on the way to the successful settlement of the civil war. At the same time, he not only refreshingly cleared away some of the political myths about the conflict in Yugoslavia; he also analysed some of the causes of the fragmentation of the state and the missed opportunities for a preventive peace-policy. In Mostar, he said, the task had been to bring people physically together, to make peaceful co-existence possible again. But he also showed that structures based on co-operation and mutual recognition had had a hard time coping with the hatred and strong tendencies to violence. Dayton, he said, had indeed produced a cease-fire, but it had not brought about peace. Referring to the example of Yugoslavia, Mr Koschnick highlighted the importance of the Marburg course: Yugoslavia had provided a prime illustration of how tenuous the relevant knowledge and skills evidently were when it came to identifying conflicts in their early stages, analysing their structures and potential for violence, and working towards resolution or settlement before violence erupted. The Marburg course, he said, provided crucial knowledge and know-how in these areas.

Following this, Professor Gerda Zellentin of the University of Wuppertal talked about the necessity and possibility of peaceful dispute-settlement. In connection with this, she described the North Rhine-Westphalian pilot-project on civilian conflict-mediation for Bosnia, in which individuals were being specifically trained for active peace-work in civilian conflict resolution and in the treatment of the specific causes of the violence. Professor Zellentin said she regarded the practice of conflict resolution by civilian actors as a crucial element in the maintenance of peace. However, third-party conflict resolution faced a well-known obstacle: in order for it to be effective, there already had to be a willingness on the part of the disputants to achieve peace. Arbitrators, she said, were 'invitees', with no sovereign powers and with an obligation to observe neutrality; furthermore, the quality of civil-society mediation depended on the practitioners' having a high level of training. Providing appropriate know-how and increasing the degree of professionalism in this domainÑthese were the areas in which Professor Zellentin thought the importance of the Marburg course lay.

Concluding the round of talks, Dr Berthold Meyer of the Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (HSFK: Peace Research Institute Frankfurt) reported on his experiences as a teacher on the course. He described alternative teaching-methods and theories of education which he and other teaching staff used in their establishments. Dr Meyer highlighted the high level of motivation amongst the students, large numbers of whom were taking up the option of studying peace and conflict research as a subsidiary subject.

In the evening, the senior staff of the university hosted a reception in the vaults, and this gave students and a large number of people from the various disciplines taking part in the course (sociology, political science, education, psychology, theology, law, etc.) to continue the discussion in a relaxed atmosphere.

Peter Imbusch

A Culture of Peace, not a Clash of Cultures: Strategies for Cultural Civilization and Sustainable Peace

This was the theme of the 26th colloquium of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung e.V. (AFK: German Association for Peace and Conflict Research), which took place from 20 to 22 February 1998 at the Protestant Academy, Iserlohn

The focus of this year's AFK colloquium, attended by 100 or so participants, was the optimistic vision of a `Culture of Peace'. In her welcoming address, Dr Katharina von Bremen (Protestant Academy Iserlohn) referred self-critically to the contentious role played by the various religions, which, she said, whilst themselves being exploited for political purposes, also helped confer cultural legitimacy on conflicts. The Christian churches had initially been hesitant about entering into dialogue with other cultures. But the vision of a culture of peace could, she said, act as a stimulus, defusing the potential of religions for violence and enhancing their potential for peace.

In the plenary session, chaired by Dr Hartwig Hummel (Technische Hochschule Braunschweig), Dr Wolfgang R. Vogt (AFK Hamburg), giving the opening address, defined the culture of peace as a process in which social actors' peace-skills were enhanced, giving them the capacity for 'peace through civilization'Ñin other words, the ability and willingness to engage in conflict prevention, non-violent conflict resolution, and long-term peacemaking. Peace and conflict research must at all events develop visions--such as the vision of a culture of peace--and move beyond fragmented one-off study and postmodern randomness to establish a process of knowledge-acquisition based on identifiable theories. Using this as a basis, it would then be able to propose practical political solutions. Dr Vogt regards UNESCO's 'Culture of Peace' programme as providing an opportunity to disseminate this concept world-wide. He presented a model incorporating the factors needed for a culture of peaceÑfactors which he locates in the subdomains of international politics, domestic politics, the economy, the military, ecology, and culture.

Birgit Wehrhöfer (Gelsenkirchen) took a critical look at Samuel Huntington's thesis of a `clash of civilizations'. Huntington was not alone in his view, she said: he was one of several prominent champions of the `clash of civilizations' paradigm. This discourse made the right to be culturally different, originally directed against a repressive universalism, into what amounted to a duty to be so. Huntington saw civilizations as clearly delimitable, self-contained, quasi-unchangeable entities ranged irreconcilably against one another. He was rightly criticized for the facileness of his arguments, his untenable essentialist notion of civilization, and his over-simplification of the causes of conflict. But Dr Wehrh[sinvcircumflex]fer warned against dismissing Huntington too hastily. It was not sufficient either, she said, to expose civilization as a social construct. The question that ought to be asked was in which conditions civilization could be effectively exploited in this way. In her opinion, the answer lay in crises and in the ambivalent nature of socio-economic modernization. For this reason, she considered that the use of a purely cultural strategy to combat the politicization of culture held little promise of success.

In his talk, the humanities specialist Dr Dieter Kramer (Goethe-Institut München/University of Vienna) argued for cultural diversity to be regarded as an opportunity and not as a threat to the capacity for peace. Diversity, he said, was a ubiquitous and vital principle; a strategy directed at achieving peace must therefore be geared to diversity and not to standardization. Peaceful co-existence, not a clash of diverse civilizations, was the norm in history. Furthermore, cultural diversity improved the chances of peace through intercultural learning, through the existence of alternative problem-solving strategies and organizational models, through the empowerment of social actors, and by tempering the importance of material resources as a social yardstick. Dr Kramer's observations lead into a plea for intercultural dialogue, which, he said, was possible and sensible, given that all cultures were constantly evolving.

On the evening of the first day, Professor Hajo Schmidt (FernUni Hagen) gave an aperu of the latest theoretical efforts made by Johan Galtung to clarify the link between peace, violence, and culture, and of his notion of `cultural violence'. Galtung's theory of peace, said Professor Schmidt, rested on the four pillars of peace theory, conflict theory, development theory, and cultural theory, with culture being the crucial prerequisite for action in the other areas. The real challenge for peace and conflict research, as far as Galtung was concerned, was to provide `depth-culture' or cosmological' underpinning for society and for peace policy. In Galtung's view, the struggle for `another' development or `another' peace required the transformation of Western cosmology. However, Professor Schmidt expressed doubts as to whether Galtung's exacting standards had any hope at all of being realized in practice and, given the contradictoriness and ambivalence between superficial cultural structures and deep cultural structures, and between trends and counter-trends within a single culture, whether circular arguments could be avoided.

On Saturday, four work-groups met in parallel. In the first of these, chaired by Professor Werner Ruf (University of Kassel), the theme of 'The Culture of Peace and Discourses about Security' was discussed. The talk given by Dr Wolfram Wette (Waldkirch) took a historical look at indications of the existence of a culture of peace amongst the armed forces, using the example of pacifist officers in the period 1871-1945. The irreconcilability of pacifist paradigms with belief in the use of arms, and the military self-image, with its attachment to duty, hierarchy, and order, were identified as elements that had precluded the development of a peace-based tradition in the federal German army.

In her talk, entitled `Concepts of Peace and Discourses about Security in the Field of Peace Studies', Dr Corinna Hauswedell (Bonn International Center for Conversion: BICC) highlighted the need for all the disciplines to work together if a culture of peace was to be achieved. She also observed that the reduction in the amount of theory in peace studies correlated with a lack of pressure from the peace movement. The link between theory and practice was demonstrated precisely in the fact that conversion was not only a problem of `hardware'; for it to be possible, there also had to be conversion in people's heads.

Ruth Klingebiel (Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden (INEF) Duisburg) then described various feminist contributions to the culture of peace. She pointed to the prevalence of the thesis of difference, which, she said, was politically exploited, in different ways, by both women and men in the feminist debate. As an alternative, she herself put forward the notion that (even) women could change through history. Feminist politics had to overcome the thesis of difference if it wanted to make a contribution to the culture of peace.

Work-group two, chaired by Dr Regine Mehl (Arbeitsstelle Friedensforschung Bonn: AFB), began with a presentation of UNESCO's `Culture of Peace' programme by Dr Traugott Schöfthaler (Secretary-General of the German UNESCO commission in Bonn). The programme is very general in its scope, essentially linking in with UNESCO's original mission, as formulated at its foundation in 1946. Within its five-year framework, it is highlighting social efforts to promote peace and target these for support. Subsidiary agents--such as the European Union--are being given appropriate funding for specific practical projects, which, in their turn, are being carried out by third parties on the ground. The high point of the programme will be the year 2000, which has been designated 'Culture of Peace Year'.

Professor Ulrich Albrecht (Free University of Berlin) then presented a comparative review of the 'Agenda for Peace', 'Agenda for Development', and 'Culture of Peace' programmes. He concluded that the 'Agenda for Development' was the most practicable of these. But one had to remember, he said, that international diplomatic rhetoric could use linguistic tricks to turn specific contents into the kinds of general formulas (`UN-ese') with which even the most dubious regimes could identify without having to fear a loss of face. The value of these kinds of agendas therefore lay not so much in the degree to which they could be practically operationalized, but in their instrumental and appellative function.

Using the example of the OSCE's policy on the protection of minorities, Elisabeth Wollefs (Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden, Duisburg: INEF) reviewed the way in which international political guide-lines were implemented and applied. She concentrated on areas of operation of which the public generally remained unawareÑthat is to say, diplomatic `interventions' designed to prevent conflicts turning into violent confrontations (these are the long-term missions that have for a long time prevented civil war from breaking out in many regions of eastern Europe and the Baltic), as well as concrete organizational and infrastructure measures in war-torn societies. All of this is frequently carried out close collaboration with non-governmental organizations.

Another instance of the implementation of agendas and of humanitarian intervention at the socio-political level was described by Martin Zint (a free-lance journalist working part-time for Eirene). Using the example of 'Star Radio' and 'Talking Drum Studio' in Monrovia (Liberia), he showed how newly established broadcasting media had been put to positive use in the cause of civilian conflict-intervention and reconciliation-work, having previously been monopolized, and ultimately destroyed, by the militia-leader Charles Taylor in the civil war.

Tanja Brühl (INEF) took a critical look at the civilian impact of non-governmental organizations. These, she said, had operated, sometimes quite successfully, at a variety of levels (there were now about 23,000 of them world-wide), but they remained excluded from direct peace-negotiations at the governmental level. None the less, by virtue of their involvement in the `agenda-setting' phase in post-war societies, they played an important part in consolidating peace.

The third work-group, chaired by Professor Hajo Schmidt (FernUni-Gesamthochschule Hagen), focused on concrete events and topics relating to peace ethics and peace policy. The comments of Professor Arnold K[sinvcircumflex]pcke-Duttler (Kist) on the International Court of Justice's nuclear-weapons ruling of July 1996 led on to a debate about the legitimation and delegitimation of nuclear deterrence. The principle underlying the expert legal report did represent an important ethical step on the way to final nuclear disarmament, but there were provisos. The granting of a right of self-defence to individual states (see art. 51 of the UN Charter) represented a crucial reservation in regard to unconditional rejection of the deployment and use of nuclear weapons.

Dr Albert Fuchs (Erfurt) devoted his talk to a moral assessment of military violence. His investigation into the attitudes of German bishops to the Second Gulf War, and into the attitudes of German members of parliament to the possibility of deploying German troops in that region, not only revealed a rickety and selective application of the doctrine of just war; in the case of the members of parliament, it was also clear that the `proximity to government' factor caused a marked weakening as far as moral misgivings about situations or voting behaviour was concerned.

The third focus of the work-group--namely, the question of a global ethic--was introduced by Angelika Spelten (Bonn) in an analysis of the situation in Tanzania. In his talk about the contribution made by various religious cultures, Professor Richard Friedl (Fribourg/Switzerland) then described the 'immense wealth' of the global ethic `enterprise'. In the discussion that followed, reference was again made to the Galtungian approach to peace theory.

The fourth work-group, chaired by Christiane Lammers (Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Friedenwissenschaft NRW, Hagen), tackled the subject of the individual as an agent within the framework of conflict resolution. Attention was directed in particular on the prior qualities that such actors must bring with them, on the dilemmas that may occur in practical conflict resolution, and on what may be inferred from these as regards training and the acquisition of skills.

In his talk on `Moral Courage--the Cement of Individualized Societies', Professor Peter Krahulec (Fachhochschule Fulda) outlined the problems associated with individual subjects as agents of action. `Moral courage' provided a model for integrating positive individual action into daily life and for promoting such action. The preconditions for active empathy were: moral stability, a social but freely chosen and independent status as an outsider, and creativity in one's actions. These things were learnable, said Professor Krahulec. But it was likely that an individual approach would fall short of what was needed, and that more importance should be attached to collective attitudes and social conditions.

Dr Martina Fischer (Berlin) then gave a presentation of the North Rhine-Westphalian pilot-project on `Training in Civilian Conflict Resolution'. This was a four-month training course, conducted by the Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst and the Evangelische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dienst für den Frieden, and was intended to prepare individuals for stays of at least one year on civilian conflict-resolution projects abroad (mainly in the Balkan area). Dr Fischer highlighted a number of issues that might also crop up in other projects: clarification of motives; the fact that the actors ultimately had to make themselves superfluous; the complex profile of requirements; the difficulties involved in synchronizing with the office `back home'; the general political conditions; the regulations governing the dispatch of personnel.

In her talk on `Creating Peace Alliances: Schemes for, and Dilemmas of, Outside Support', Anja Weiß (Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, Berlin) analysed the organization and practical difficulties of third-party intervention in peace-building projects. The starting-point for the projects that have so far been conducted and investigated (mostly in eastern Europe) is the creation of civil societies. This has posed a dilemma--namely, that the self-organization of civil society has to be promoted from outside, but that, to begin with, it is government institutions, or institutions close to government, that have the practical openings for action and the appropriate infrastructure. This can, however, be offset by the intervenors adapting themselves very concretely to the particular conflict-situation, and by involving non-governmental organizations in the decision-making bodies.

The talk given by Christian Hörburger (Verein für Friedenspädagogik, Tübingen) dealt with `Mass Media between War Reporting and Peace Reporting'. Using the example of coverage of the human-rights debate about China, he highlighted the structures that prevented the kind of reporting that promoted peace. Essentially, television coverage 'cultivated' conflict, whereas peace-reporting had to be geared to transforming it. In the case of television reporting, the visual element dictated the nature of the news and claimed to be the only legitimate bearer of information.

On the fringes of the colloquium, there were meetings of the AFK work-groups and the Netzwerk Friedensforscherinnen (Network of Women Peace-Researchers). In one work-group, Dr Wolfgang R. Vogt talked about the planned European Museum for Peace (see the leader in this issue). And in the 'Civilian Conflict Resolution' work-group, chaired by Dr Martin Grundmann (Berlin), Dieter Lünse (Hamburg) reported on the 'Hamburger Modell' project, which deals with civilian conflict resolution amongst young people. In contrast to the Hamburg police force's 2.5 million DM `Zivilcourage' campaign, which tackles youth crime through strict regimentation, the Hamburg scheme tries to deal with conflicts actively and steer them in a positive direction through intervention and the resolve to change.

Professor Theodor Ebert (Berlin) presented the idea of civilian peace-service as an alternative to military security and criticized the fact that little remained of the intention that such a service should have a widespread impact, because the models of it differed from one Land to another--though the differences were all warranted in some specific way.

The colloquium ended on the Sunday with a celebration to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the AFK. A book entitled Kultur des Friedens, designed by a group from the Bremen School of Art and published by Professor Eckhard Jung and Dr Wolfgang R. Vogt, was presented to the Secretary-General of the German UNESCO commission, Dr Traugott Sch[sinvcircumflex]fthaler, by the retiring chairman of the AFK. Messages of congratulation on the AFK's thirtieth anniversary were also read out. The AFK's 1998 colloquium closed with an address by the Secretary-General of the German UNESCO commission.

Margitta Matthies/Cornelia Zirpins

(with the help of work-group reports by Hartwig Hummel, Werner Ruf, Regine Mehl, Hajo Schmidt, Christiane Lammers, Martin Grundmann)

New AFK Executive Elected

On 21 February 1998, in the course of its annual colloquium, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung e.V. (German Association for Peace and Conflict Research) held its annual general meeting and elections. The executive's report for 1996-7 was discussed, and appreciation was expressed in particular to the retiring chairman, Dr Wolfgang R. Vogt, for his six years' service with the board. Following acceptance of the audited accounts presented by the AFK administrator, Christiane Lammers, members' approval was sought for the executive to be relived of its duties, and this was granted with five abstentions and no votes against. The meeting noted and approved the report of the AFK's representative for women's affairs, Margitta Matthies, which focused on the employment situation of women in peace-research institutes in Germany (as documented in a large-scale survey).

The results of the elections to the executive were as follows. New AFK chairperson: Professor Ulrich Albrecht (Free University of Berlin); new deputy chairperson: Dr Arend Wellmann (Schleswig-Holsteinisches Institut für Friedenswissenschaften: SCHIFF/Schleswig-Holstein Institute for Peace Studies); administrator (re-elected): Christiane Lammers (Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Friedenswissenschaft in Nordrhein-Westfalen); other members: Dr Hartwig Hummel (University of Braunschweig), Elisabeth Wollefs (Institut für Entwicklung und Frieden: INEF/Development and Peace Institute, Duisburg), Dr Lutz Schrader (Potsdam).

The women members of the AFK elected Ruth Klingebiel (also from the INEF) as the new representative for women's affairs.

A new panel of judges (consisting of 4 re-elected members and 2 new ones) was also appointed for the annual award of the Christiane Rajewsky Prize for the promotion of young researchers. The retiring chairman of the panel, Dr Karlheinz Koppe (Bonn), recommended Professor Werner Ruf (University of Kassel as his successor. The members accepted this recommendation and approved the appointment of the other members of the panel: Professor Karl Holl (Bremen), Nina Nikitin (Hamburg), Dr Ulrike C. Wasmuht (Berlin), and Irmingard Wroblewski (Bonn). In case one of the panel members should have to resign in the course of the two-year period of office, Professor Gert Krell (Frankfurt University) was elected as a `member-in-waiting'.

This year's Christiane Rajewsky Prize was awarded to Ralf Bendrath (Berlin) for his essay on mercenary agencies in Africa (`Söldnerfirmen in Afrika: Neue politische Vergesellschaftungsformen jenseits des modernen Staates'), which will be published in No. 26 of the 'AFK-Schriftenreihe' series.

Contacts: Christiane Lammers (Administrator), Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung e.V., Sülzburgstr. 162, D-50937 Köln, Tel.: + Fax: +49 (221) 419656.

Prof. Ulrich Albrecht (Chair), FB Politische Wissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin, Kiebitzweg 3, D-14195 Berlin, Tel.: +49 (30) 838-2360/2361.


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