Inside USD

KIPJ Welcomes Scholars Anderson, Lederach

Friday, February 17, 2012

This month, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies will host Peace Scholar Mary B. Anderson and Distinguished Lecturer John Paul Lederach, PhD. Both Anderson and Lederach will be holding public lectures this month. What distinguishes the work of both scholars is their effort to study the peace process itself – the impact of international aid, past reconciliation efforts, the individual parties involved – and what has helped or hindered conflict resolution on the road to lasting peace.

Mary B. Anderson will be in residence at the Institute for Peace & Justice from February 12-24, 2012. An economist, Anderson most recently served as executive director of CDA Collaborative Learning Projects. Anderson has spent her career studying past conflicts, so to better understand what helps people disengage from violence. The goal of her work is to develop alternatives for addressing the underlying problems which lead to conflict. Her past work has focused on rural development strategies on the local level: gender analysis; the relationships between emergency relief assistance and long-term development; and primary educational policies.

In1995 she created and has since directed the Local Capacities for Peace Project to learn more about the role of international aid (humanitarian and development assistance) on conflict. Building on the project, four years ago, Anderson launched an international effort to explore why conflict reoccurs. She and her team have listened to thousands of people — from the fishermen on the beach to government ministerial staff — in 20 countries. She is currently reporting her findings in The Listening Project, co-authored with Dayna Brown. The Listening Project captures a series of open-ended conversations, ranging across different levels of society, in countries that have received international assistance. The goal is to create a better roadmap which will allow international actors to work across boarders more effectively and create lasting peace.

Anderson’s public lecture will discuss “The Listening Project: How Recipients Judge International Assistance.”  The lecture will take place in the Peace and Justice Theatre on Tuesday February 21, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. All are welcome and may RSVP at Anderson will also be visiting classes and holding office hours. Appointments may be made at

Also visiting USD this month is Dr. John Paul Lederach, a professor of International Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is widely known for his pioneering work on “conflict transformation.” Lederach is involved in conciliation work in Colombia, the Philippines and Nepal, as well as countries in East and West Africa. He has helped design and conduct training programs in 25 countries across five continents.

Lederach distinguishes the theory of “confrontation transformation,” from “conflict resolution.” Conflict resolution implies that conflict is bad, is a short term occurrence, and can be resolved. Alternatively, conflict transformation acknowledges that conflict may be long term, but can be managed by creating a dialogue. His nonviolent, collaborative strategy engages all parties of disagreements. To not include any fraction is to isolate them, reinforcing the views and stereotypes which began the original conflict.

Lederach’s current work addresses the “furiously religious” – religious movements that have served to justify and, at times, promote violence. Building from his book The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, Lederach responds to the “furiously religious” with faith-based resources that highlight the principles of compassion, tolerance, and reflective spirituality. In addition to The Moral Imagination, Lederach has also authored When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys Through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation; The Journey Toward Reconciliation; Building Peace: Sustainable Reconciliation in Divided Societies; and Preparing for Peace: Confliction Transformation Across Cultures.

Lederach hosted a public lecture reflecting on his three decades of peacebuilding through nonviolent social change Thursday evening at the Institute for Peace & Justice.

– Kristen S. Knepper

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