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Latin America (2009)

1st International Summer School

"Societies in Transition. Latin America between Conflict and Reconciliation", July 27th - August 5th, 2009

The Summer School "Societies in Transition. Latin America between Conflict and Reconciliation" was a great success and received high marks.The programme focussed on the historical changes in Latin American societies, as seen from different perspectives. The main part were lectures, workshops, and the presentation of participants' projects. In addition there were films, excursions with guided tours, a reception, a farewell party, and walking tours through Jena.On the first day, Prof. Leiner briefly presented the overall concept of theSummer Schools. Patricia Tappatá de Valdez, Executive Director of the human rights organization "Memoria Abierta", then discussed practical questions related to the reappraisal of the military dictatorships in Argentinien und El Savador, where she served as a member of the truth commission. On the next day, Prof. Elizabeth Lira spoke about the history of Chile, coming to terms with the Pinochet dictatorship. In the evening,we showed the film "The Judge and the General", which focussed on legal and humanitarian aspects and revealed the deep divisions that still exist in Chilean society. After the focus on southern Latin America, there were several lectures and a film related to Central America. Dr. David Tombs shared his expertise on the role of the churches in Guatemala and El Salvador. Prof. Francisco Rojas had prepared a lecture on the causes of the rise of crime in countries like El Salvador and the consequences for peace building processes, but he had to cancel his participations on short notice, due to his invitation to participate in the mediation attempt of the Costa Rican government in the political crisis in Honduras (after the ouster of President Zelaya on June 28, 2009). His lecture was presented by Prof. Lira. A panel discussion in the university book store and a lecture by Prof. Andreas Hasenclever, with a sociological and empirical focus, provided a survey of recent social studies on reconciliation and addressed the question of comparing peace building processes in different countries.

Another important part were the four workshops:

  1. Peacebuilding - The Challenge of Coherent Strategies (Flämig,Hasenclever)
  2. Mediation - Practical Skills in Managing Conflicts (Clegg)
  3. Religion and Reconciliation (Leiner)
  4. Dealing with the Past - Latin American Case Studies (Valdez,Tomuschat)

Every participant of the Summer School took part in one of them.Finally, the excursions to Weimar and Leipzig as well as the showing of the Academy Award winning movie "The Life of the Others" led to an inspired critical discussion and brought into conversation the memorialization of recent German history with corresponding processes in Latin America (and South Africa, Iraq, China, Japan, etc.).

Further information: