Find Events Find People Find Jobs Find Sites Find Help Index


December 11, 2000

Reconciliation Symposium

Faculty panel organizers will contribute a series of columns
for Emory Report leading up to the Reconciliation Symposium,
Jan. 25–28, 2001.

Ben Homola is a third-year Master of Divinity student in the School of Theology

“Reconciliation in the Context of Global Conflicts: The Tension between Retributive Justice and Restorative Justice,” Friday, Jan. 26, 1–3 p.m. Facilitated by Johan van der Vyver, I.T. Cohen Professor of International Law and Human Rights.

This session deals with issues of conflict that have global implications; could you give some background and explain the magnitude of the questions that will be raised?
van der Vyver: In 1998, the U.N. Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries approved the statute of an International Criminal Court designed to bring perpetrators of international crimes—such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes—to justice. Political conflict and transition to new democracies in South Africa and Eastern Europe continue to raise the question as to the feasibility of either prosecutions or “truth commissions.”

Revelation of the truth is essential for people of the world to come to terms with and respond to atrocities such as apartheid and the Holocaust. The answer to the question of “Truth and Prosecution” or “Truth instead of Prosecu-tion” is critical for dealing with current and future political conflicts.

What can attendees expect to gain from this session?
Participants will explore the tensions that exist between criminal prosecutions (retributive justice) and alternative mechanisms that could be invoked by nations having to come to terms with an unfortunate past and for building a new future (restorative justice). It is hoped that an honest discussion of these issues might also contribute to peoples of the United States coming to better understand the latent group-related conflict situations in our own country.

Who will be contributing to this conversation?
Richard Goldstone, former prosecutor in the International Criminal Tribunals of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and current judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa, will be presenting a discussion entitled, “Truth Commissions and Prosecutions: Is There a Conflict?” Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies, and I will respond to Judge Goldstone’s remarks.

“Psychological Reconciliation,” Friday, Jan. 26,
1–3 p.m. Facilitated by Robert Paul, Candler Professor in the ILA and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Could you explain the importance of “psychological reconciliation” to the Emory community and beyond?
Psychological reconciliation, it might be argued, lies at the root of and serves as the paradigm for all other forms of reconciliation. Reconciliation by all people with themselves and with significant others in their lives is a matter of concern and experience for all reconciliation efforts. An inability to reconcile with oneself and the significant others in one’s life hinders the possibility of more collective reconciliation efforts. Insights, such as those provided by professionals who practice and study psychology and psychiatry, can help in this immediate, accessible area of conflict and potential resolution.

How will attendees be impacted by this conversation?
Participants will gain a greater understanding of the need for psychological reconciliation with self and others, as well as some obstacles that hinder it. They will also learn the methods by which those who work with psychological conflict and trauma conceptualize these matters to promote personal and relational healing. The presentation will focus on the necessity of individual psychological reconciliation and the ways in which this increases the potential for reconciliation on more collective levels.

Who will be participating in the discussion?
I will start the session by presenting a paper titled, “Make My Day: Reconciliation Versus the Craving for Revenge.” Professor of Psychology Robyn Fivush will then present her paper, “Reconciling Trauma and Self.” Our respondent will be Beth Seelig, associate professor of psychology.


Back to Emory Report Dec. 11, 2000