Prof. Leiner’s and Dr. Ferrari’s visit to the Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia)

The peace process in Colombia constitutes a new frontier for studies and practices of reconciliation. Through the kind invitation of our colleagues Prof. Roberth Uribe (Filosofía del Derecho, Coordinador Programa de Construcción de Paz, Universidad de Antioquia)[1] and Dr. Josefina Echavarria Alvarez (Senior Lecturer. Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Innsbruck)[2], Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner and Dr. Francesco Ferrari (JCRS) spent a couple of weeks in Medellin, the city which represents for many Colombians the symbol of the (finally ended) long-protracted conflict. Their journey to Colombia served several goals:

  • Introducing JCRS and doctoral program RCR to Universidad de Antioquia and further Colombian universities. Assessing future cooperations, inviting Colombian students to write their Ph.Ds at JCRS as well as JCRS members to spend research periods in Colombia; planning joint applications; creating a shared platform for teaching, through summer schools, classes, and conferences. An encouraging interest has been shown by several Professors, International Offices, as well as by doctoral candidates. A fruitful contact has been established too with German Media, for instance with Ursula Ott (Chefredakteurin von chrismon) and the freelance photojournalist Nick Jaussi[3]
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  • Teaching at the Universidad de Antioquia - The class "Reconciliación: elementos básicos y casos de studio" took place from the 28th of February 2017 to the 2nd of March, 2017 (17:00-20:00), at the Auditorio Principal of the Facultad Nacional de Salud Pública). The first day was about "What is reconciliation - analysis of a concept". The second day was devoted to "Learn from others: Specific experiences with reconciliation around the world". The third day approached Reconciliation in Colombia. c02b      c02
  • Course description - The course, held by Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner and Dr. Francesco Ferrari, presented the basics of scientific research on reconciliation. After violent conflicts such as civil wars or gross human rights violations societies have to choose whether they will (1.) remain trapped in a spiral of violence and vengeance, or (2.) in a situation of frozen conflict with resentment, mistrust and fear as dominating emotions or (3.) whether they choose the way of reconciliation in order to secure peace and to find understanding and mutual trust, cooperation and friendship again. Unfortunately to many societies the possibility of reconciliation is not known or still so unfamiliar that many people do not consider it as a realistic option.
  • On Friday the 3rd of March Prof. Leiner gave a key lecture on Reconciliation and Justice at the Campus "San Antonio" of the Universidad de Antioquia. In the same occasion, Dr. Ferrari released a video-interview[4]. In all those activities we were kindly assisted by Prof. Maria Cecilia Alvarez[5] (Terminología y Traducción, Universidad de Antioquia), which translated our speeches from German to Spanish.


  • Encounter with NGOS and initiatives from the civil society:

1)     Museo Casa de la Memoria - Its purpose is to offer a space to the armed conflict victims and their family to dignify, collect their memories, and disseminate their views on the cycle of violence in towns and countryside. Interactive screens allow to search within the history of the conflict by keywords that would lead to newspaper articles on that matter written at the time it happened. Videos, songs and also pictures from photo-albums of conflict victims show the "public" as well as the "private" dimension of the conflict in a synesthetic perspective from the beginning of the armed conflict to the present.


2)     Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe / Lunes de Ciudad - Approximately eight blocks from Parque Berrio the theater hosts an array of different events and activities from poetry to live bands, theater to dance. Opened in 1967, the theater is the oldest in Medellín. Its politics of "open doors" is a significant element about the issue of security and trust. It hosts the project Lunes de Ciudad[6]. Lunes de Ciudad is an open-space initiative, where citizens are invited to walk through the city center of Medellin accompanied by experts from different areas (members of the civil society and/or NGOs, peace practicioners, professors, journalists…), in order to overcome the feeling of unsecurity related with their own city and to learn critically about its recent history. It is a platform of dialogue and encounter, "un laboratorio de construcción ciudadana. Que tiene el fin de consolidar una ciudadanía informada, crítica y propositiva". During our "Lunes" we have been guided by Gerardo Pérez through Cementerio San Lorenzo, Teatro Matacandelas and Colegio Héctor Abad Gómez. We have been also invited to present the activities of JCRS and RCR. Many students raised us questions about our activities in Jena.

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  • Getting the feeling of a city (as well as of a country), which is trying to open a new season of peace and reconciliation. Through the marvellous hospitality of our Colombian colleagues we had the possibility to breathe what is happening right now in Medellin.

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 (Picture 1 - From left to right: Dr. Francesco Ferrari, Dr. Josefina Echavarria Alvarez, Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner and Prof. Dr. Maria Cecilia Alvarez)

 (Picture 2 - From left to right: Prof. Dr. Maria Cecilia Alvarez, Prof. Dr. Roberth Uribe, Prof. Dr. Carlos Rendon, Sofia Reyes, Gabriel Aristizabal and Dr. Francesco Ferrari)

We walked through the city center as well as through the slums over Acevedo; we visited the Botero Museum as well as the Museum of the Universidad de Antioquia; we talked with younger and older people.

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Just by taking Metro you can see the strong will of the city to foster reconciliatory processes, as its payoff "Quality of life" asserts.

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Meldung vom: 2017-03-17 09:00
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