The JCRS addresses academic institutions and programs as well as experts and scholars, promoting a trans-disciplinary as well as theoretical and practical approach. It aims to develop new models for reconciliation processes based on case studies. The facilitation of practical approaches and applications of reconciliation concepts plays an important role in enabling future peace practitioners and persons interested in the field of conflict resolution, conflict negotiation, and political reconciliation to inquire into adequate and sustainable means for the restoration of social relations.
The JCRS develops not only theoretical approaches of reconciliation and peace studies, but also pragmatic strategies for policy makers, civil society organizations and peace practitioners how overcoming violent conflicts. We collaborate with educative initiatives at academic level as well as with civil society organizations at grassroot level to support dialogue building mechanism and intercultural programs.
JCRS pursues the aim to share knowledge and international expertise based on comparative case studies of conflict areas to emancipate societies, which had to confront past abuses of civil conflicts, human rights abuses, discrimination and repressive mechanisms of autocratic regimes.
Here you will learn more about select events JCRS hosted since 2013.
05-07 August 2021
Hosted by Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan). Center for International Reconciliation Studies
Workshop with Dr. Josef Boehle (University of Birmingham, UK):
"Forgiveness, Restorative Justice and Reconciliation"
Feb 05, 2021 - 2pm/5pm CET
Over the past decades, forgiveness and reconciliation have been increasingly reflected upon and highlighted as core components of healing and peacebuilding in a multitude of studies and publications: in a first phase focusing mainly on individuals and relations between them, and later as well on relations between communities and states in the public sphere. Since the mid 1990’s growing attention has been given in the scholarly debate and in public policy to the contribution forgiveness and reconciliation can make in peacebuilding and to processes of restorative justice in the public sphere. This presentation will focus on the question of forgiveness, restorative justice and reconciliation in peacebuilding, in contemporary scholarship and in the public sphere. Any attempt to better understand forgiveness and reconciliation in relation to peacebuilding has to address also the critical issue of how to safeguard and integrate processes of justice into peace processes, and the distinction between retributive justice and restorative justice. This is necessary for peace processes to be sustainable and to retain the support of victims of atrocities, large-scale violence and crimes.
For those who want to do some additional, preparatory reading: Jennifer J. Llewellyn and Daniel Philpott, Restorative Justice, Reconciliation and Peacebuilding (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2014).
JCRS hosted an inspiring guest lecture by Dr. Fanie Du Toit, Senior Advisor of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa, where he previously served as executive director.
Du Toit has been engaged in post-conflict interventions in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Uganda.
He is the author of When Political Transitions Work: Reconciliation as Interdependence. In the book, the author distinguishes four ideal types of reconciliation theories: 1st Reconciliation as healing of communities, 2nd Reconciliation as liberal establishment of rule of law, 3rd agonistic reconciliation and 4th reconciliation as interconnectedness.
Youtube-Link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZvNfafzTsA
Questions and answers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe9-NETIhtk
Teaching activities take place in digital form via Zoom.
08/05, Theories of reconciliation. Papers from: Fanie Du Toit.
15/05, Field research in reconciliation studies. Case study: Mapuche (Argentina). With Dr. Luis Pena
22/05, Field research in reconciliation studies. Case study: Latin America. With Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner
26/05, Colombia Day 1st day. The role of arts in peace and reconciliation. With international guests.
27/05, Colombia Day 2nd day. Learning from Rwanda's National Unity and Reconciliation Commission. With international guests.
10/06, Reconciliation with oneself. Narrative Identity and Autobiographical Hindsight. Papers from: Paul Ricoeur, Jens Brockmeier
17/06, Reconciliation with oneself. Sense of coherence, Agency, Search of meaning, Alienation. Papers from: Charles Taylor, Aaron Antonovsky, Hartmut Rosa, Rahel Jaeggi
24/06, Reconciliation with oneself as reconciliation with the past. With Dr. Davide Tacchini
01/07, Reconciliation with oneself. Trauma and narratives. Papers from: Pumla Gobodo Madikizela, Dan Bar-On
08/07, Ph.D. students presentations
Colombian and Rwandan truth Commissions
As in previous versions, during Colombian Day we made a follow up of the peace process in Colombia and we contrasted with other cases. In this opportunity we chose Rwanda and we focused on the truth commission in both countries. The presentations analyzed the similarities and the differences in the context addressing several scales of challenges, from local to geopolitical. The event made a call for researchers and peace practitioners not only to engage in comparative studies but also to visualize the achievements and create solidarity to face the difficulties that truth commissions are going through.
The first day we heard the presentations of prof. Dr. Martin Leiner, director of the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies; Bishop John Rucyahana, president of Rwanda's National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC); prof. Dr. John Zuluaga of the Sergio Arboleda University; and Natalia Gomez, Interviewer of the German Node of the Truth Commission Colombia. The second day we had the presentations of Prof. Dr. Pedro Valenzuela, of the Javeriana University of Colombia; Prof. Dr. Stefan Peters, scientific director of the German Colombian Center of Peace (CAPAZ) and Camilo Dominguez, a member of the Special Unit of Peace of the Antioquia University.
From the analysis of these two cases emerged the following two interesting contrasts that are fundamental points of departure for the further investigations, and the establishment of a support network for peace practitioners (we listed here; for the details read the presentations):
1. Unity and diversity as principles of peacebuilding. Given the differentiated character of the Rwanda and Colombian conflicts, in each country the narrative and the instruments of peacebuilding included that of the truth commissions, were based on contrasting principles. In Rwanda was the principle of Unity. In Colombia the principle of diversity.
2. Strongly related to the previous one, in Rwanda, the narrative to rebuild the social fabric destroyed for the genocide was based on the idea of survivors. In Colombia, in contrast, the fundamental principle of the agreements and the comprehensive system of transitional justice emphasized the existence of differentiated victims.
“Making Home” in Reconciliatory Processes
WS 2019/20 Oberseminar of the Doctoral Programme “Religion Conflict Reconciliation” addresses the question of feeling at home – “making home” and its consequences in reconciliatory processes. The class is composed by two units, respectively coordinated by Dr. Irit Dekel and by Dr. Francesco Ferrari.
Dr. Irit Dekel - Home as an idea implies belonging, classification and representation of self and others. This part of the Oberseminar will discuss sociological texts about home, studying the experience of home and return, and their various memories during and after national conflicts. It will also offer a methodological workshop on qualitative studies of audience and visitors in memorial sites.
Dr. Francesco Ferrari - The need to feel at home is a fundamental element in reconciliatory processes, first in reconciliation with oneself. This part of the Oberseminar addresses issues like the dialectic between extraneousness and recognition; the need to feel safe-secure; trust; belonging; perceiving the world as coherent.
ʻAn Enemy is Someone, Whose Story You Have not Heard Yetʼ. The Legacy of Prof. Dan Bar-On (1938-2008)
The conference aims at honoring the legacy of Prof. Dan Bar-On from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who launched a pioneering field research in Germany and Israel, attempting to understand the psychological and moral after-effects of the Holocaust on the children of perpetrators. It is based on the trilateral cooperation project between Prof. Martin Leiner, director of the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies, Prof. Shifra Sagy, Professor Emerita of Education and director of Martin Springer Center for Conflict Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Prof. Sami Adwan, Co-director and Cofounder of the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME) in Bethlehem (Palestine).
While Prof. Sagy and Prof. Adwan have been year-long colleagues of Bar-On, all three professors carry on Bar-On’s legacy as they are engaged in the fields of conflict transformation and reconciliation in individual and common research projects. Being a ground-breaking scientist and prominent figure in the fields concerning the ethical and psychological repercussions of the Holocaust, theory and methodology of psychological reprocessing, rapprochement and reconciliation between victims and perpetrators of the Nazi-regime and beyond, Bar-On’s legacy is of fundamental relevance for political discourses on the Holocaust and German-Israeli relations today, as well as for the interdisciplinary interests.
Prof. Martin Leiner: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Theologische Fakultät, Director of the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS)
Prof. Shifra Sagy: Professor Emerita of Psychology and Director of Martin Springer Center for Conflict Studies at Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Prof. Sami Adwan: Co-director and Co-founder of the Peace Research Institute in the Middle East „PRIME“ in Bethlehem, Palestine
A Challenge for Reconciliation Studies in East Asia. National Memories and Norms as a Factor in International Politics between Active Nations in East Asia
Prof. Asano’s lecture addressed
(1) the historical background of nation-state buildings in East Asia,
(2) democratization process which entailed new explanation-set of National history supported by universal values
(3) reconfigurations between domestic politics and international politics over historical memories which support common values in international society.
Since World War 2, East Asia has experienced dramatic and complex political and economic transformations. Problems associated with emotions, memories, and narratives of the past – particularly those relating to the War and to Japanese Colonization of other countries in the region – are underlying factors that shape the ups and downs of political and economic friction between East Asian countries.
Professor Asano discussed a viewpoint of reconciliation of current issues from a historical perspective. He covered the historical background to the artificial construction of nation states in East Asia, and the process of democratization from the late 1980s onward. Toyomi Asano is professor of history of Japanese politics at the Faculty of Political science and Economics, Waseda university.
Augustinian Methodology of Theology
Jangsaeng Kim is Professor of Theology at the Yonsei University, South Korea
The Crucifixion of Jesus. Torture, Sexual Abuse and the Scandal of the Cross
Recognition of Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse has taken on new relevance and importance in recent years. Tombs draws on Latin American liberation theology hermeneutics to read crucifixion as sexual abuse. Torture reports from Latin America, and elsewhere, point to the prevalence of sexual abuses in the torture and mistreatment of both female and male prisoners. This lecture will review the evidence for recognizing Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse in the stripping in the praetorium and forced nudity on the cross. It will also explore the possibility of further sexual assault in the mockery of Jesus in the praetorium, and/or through sexualized impalement on the cross. It will then examine why this recognition of sexual abuse matters, and suggest how it might inform church responses to public issues, including #MeToo, the clergy child sexual abuse scandal, and the growing awareness of sexual violence as a weapon of war. It will conclude with a brief consideration of theological implications, with particular attention to the theology of the cross, and the theology of reconciliation.
David Tombs is the Howard Paterson Chair of Theology and Public Issues at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand.
History and Stories. Ontological Conception of the Entanglement
W. Schapp’s philosophy has not had much impact on contemporary philosophies of history, assuming one can speak of philosophy of history in the strict sense with regard to the most recent historiographical approaches. Such little success is primarily for two reasons: firstly, Schapp speaks briefly on history in a scientific and methodological sense, showing himself much more interested in the hermeneutical-individual dimension with regard to the understanding of the past; and, secondly, thanks to its effectiveness, the concept of entanglement-in-stories lends itself to a superficial and immediate use, without there being any need to investigate its theoretical assumptions. The lecture focuses on the attempt to establish a possible route between the history intended in its broadest sense and history in the way Schapp defines it, by seeking to deepen the conceptual structure of the entanglement-in-stories.
Daniele Nuccilli is a PhD student at the Philosophy Department of Tor Vergata University (Rome).
Trauma, Narratives and Healing
In a first moment, the roundtable addressed exploring ways in which the impact of the dehumanising experiences of oppression and violent abuse continues to play out in the next generation in the aftermath of historical trauma. In a second moment, Prof. Gobodo Madikizela explained how she is expanding her earlier work on remorse and forgiveness and probing the role of empathy more deeply by engaging a perspective that makes transparent the interconnected relationship among empathy, Ubuntu and the embodied African phenomenon of Inimba.
Prof. Pumla Gobodo Madikizela is Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (South Africa).
The Roundtable focused on the independent role of the Lebanese civil society in the current protests. “I don’t think that the demonstrators really think that changing the prime minister, or changing certain coalitions in the government, is going to solve anything, people realize that the problems are much more deep-rooted. The biggest problem in this country today is a lack of good governance, is corruption from top to bottom, that corruption is systemic which means that actually corruption is in the system, and honesty and good governance would be a problem if anyone would try to do that,” Sensenig said. “If we change the government, that would be a mistake because the problem is not Hariri and the problem is not the coalition, the problem is a deep-seated and deep-rooted lack of good governance,” he added.
Eugene Sensenig is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS) and a senior researcher at the Lebanese Emigration Research Center (LERC), both at Notre Dame University, Lebanon.
- Pastor Dr. Markus Hentschel: “Die Mennoniten als Friedenskirche”;
- Dr. Marina Grasse (Owen), Berlin: “Vom Gegeneinander zum Miteinander. Praxisbeispiele aus der Friedens- und Versöhnungsarbeit von OWEN (Friedensförderung-mobile Akademie für Geschlechterdemokratie und Friedensförderung e.V.) in verschiedenen Konflikten”;
- Knut Wormstädt (Aachen): „Versöhnung zwischen ökumenischen Dialogen und theologischen Metaphern“;
- Heela Najibullah (Zürich): Intergenerational Narratives of Reconciliation Amongst the Afghan Diaspora in Switzerland & Germany;
- Prof. Martin Leiner/Dr. Francesco Ferrari (Jena): The Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies. Challanges and Goals.
The Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS) invited all their partners of the Academic Alliance for Reconciliation in the Middle East and Northern Africa (AARMENA) to its inauguration ceremony and five-day conference from 12th to 16th of August in Jena.
Scientists and experts from Europe and the Middle East met to present and discuss their researches on "Refugees and Reconciliation". Refugees are in need of reconciliation in many respects, but often those needs are not addressed and fulfilled. Professor Leiner, director of the JCRS, stated that reconciliation is one way to deal with violent conflicts, "it is costly and needs generations, but it is the better way than ongoing fighting until the end or the creation of frozen conflicts with resentment, mistrust and the constant danger of revenge."
Today the MENA region is the most affected by wars, civil wars and gross human rights violations on earth. Since the 1990s, reconciliation studies have strongly developed in some centres around the world. However, they still are relatively absent from the academic curricula of universities in the MENA-region. The establishment and the spreading of reconciliation studies in the MENA-region is therefore one main goal of the AARMENA.
Professor Martin Leiner and Ayad Dajani, researcher at JCRS and project coordinator of the AARMENA, welcomed the international conference attendees: Presidents, professors and researchers from Universities in Jordan, Egypt, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Ireland, Turkey, Morocco and Palestine as well as representatives of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and other experts.
The programme covered topics such as "Refugees and Reconciliation", "Refugees and Reconciliation in Media", "Reconciliation and Education" and "Religion and Reconciliation". All topics were approached in a very interdisciplinary perspective.The inspiring discussions lead to a reaffirmation of the necessity of a network like the AARMENA and to the request of making the AARMENA conference a regular event. In this context the vice president of Tanta university, Prof. Dr. Mostafa El-Sheekh, invited to hold the next conference in Egypt in year 2020.
The conference caught attention not only on an academic but also on a political level: In a letter written on behalf of the office of Chancelor Angela Merkel the AARMENA is described as a project which "deserves recognition and support". Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural Politics in the German Foreign Office emphasizes that "a global scientific exchange that links civil societies is a sustainable investment into future collaboration". Also the former Prime Minister of Jordan, Prof. Dr. Adnan Badran spoke out in favour of reconciliation studies and their positive impact on the MENA region.
The conference was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Ernst-Abbe-Foundation.
"THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PEACE AGREEMENTS IN COLOMBIA. PEACE IS NOT FELT BUT THE HOPE IS KEPT."
This year's Colombian Days are about implementing peace agreements in an adverse context. Speakers from different universities and organizations in Germany, Colombia and South Africa are going to discuss current political affairs in Colombia.
"Implementation of the peace agreement and current colombian political configuration. State of affairs." Dr Josefina Echavarría Alvarez. University of Innsbruck/JCRS.
"Post-conflict transformations in Colombia and the reincorporation of ex-combatants" Prof. Dr. Solveig Richter. Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. University of Erfurt.
"From Colonel Buendía to Ivan Marquez. Problems and difficulties in peace processes and reintegration in Colombia" Dr. Manfredo Koessl. University of Erfurt
"Twenty years after South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission" Prof. Dr. Christo Thesnaar. Stellenbosch University.
"Activities and challenges of Truth Commission in Colombia" Priest. Dr. Francisco de Roux. President of Truth Commission Colombia [video]
"Truth Commission in Colombia and Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. A comparison". Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner. Director of the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies. University of Jena
"The history of paramilitarism in Colombia. Who is behind the murder of social leaders in Colombia. Short video documentary" Ariel Avila. Deputy director foundation peace and reconciliation
"Transformation of the “Territorial Spaces for Vocational Training and Reincorporation” in and the implications for peace in Colombia" Dr. Colleen O'Brien. Free University Berlin / JCRS University of Jena
"The moral and geographical imagination of social movements in Colombia. Lesson about territorial peace." Dr Luis Berneth Peña. JCRS. University of Jena
"University for Peace and Reconciliation: the case of the Special Peace Unit of the University of Antioquia." Dr. Hugo Buitrago, Director Special Peace Unit and Juan Camilo Domínguez, Coordinator Postgraduate Studies INER. Antioquia University Colombia.
Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies
Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CALAS)
Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. University of Erfurt
The 2° Study Day on Colombia took place on 30th May 2018. The event was organised by the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies in cooperation with the Faculty of Theology of Jena. "Zwei Jahre nach dem Friedensabkommen: Quo vadis, Kolumbien?" was the title of the workshop. In September 2016, the FARC and the Preseident Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace treaty, in order to put an end to the violent conflict existing since 1964.
The leading questions were: Which are the backgrounds of the violent conflict? Which are nowadays the perspectives for Reconciliation? In order to answer these questions, the JCRS invited several promiment colombian experts, such as Dr. Luis Pena (Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena) , Dr. Manfredo Kössel (Weimar), Dr. Josefina Echavarria Alvarez (Innsbruck Universtität) und Dr. Vladimir Montoya (Universität von Antioquiua).
Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner opened the workshop, raising the question what Reconciliation in praxis exactly means. He highlighted the nature of Reconciliation as process (and goal) and its connection with the issue of Recognition. Afterwards, Dr. Luis Pena held his speech called: "Eliminating Diversity: A political Geography of Colombian Conflict". He tried to analyse the roots of the Colombian Conflict and to seek the central issues in forwarding peace and reconciliation.
Following, Dr. Manfredo Kössel, in his speech "Gewält als Lösung der Probleme in Kolumbien?", highlighted the problem of violence in the Colombian Conflict.
The JCRS warmly thanks all the guestes, who gave the participants the possibililty to hear direct testimonies about the backgrounds of the conflict and the progresses towards reconciliation.
The Study Day "Peace in Colombia" took place on the 10th May, 2017. It was a chance to gain deepen understandings on the Peace Agreement between the government and the FARC, after more than 52 years civil war.
The event has been organised by the JCRS in cooperation with the Faculty of Theology of Jena. Thanks to the speeches of Dr. Josefina Echavarria Alvarez (University of Innsbruck), Nick Jaussi (Fotoreporter), Prof. Dr. Robert Uribe (Department for philosophy of Law, Universidad de Antioquia) and Dr. Luis Berneth Peña (Universidad Externado de Colombia), the participants had the possibility to understand the reasons of the conflict and to gain knowledge about the Peace Process. Furthermore, the exhibition of the photo reporter Nick Jaussi has shown how the life of the ex FARC Guerrilla Fighters has changed, after the war.
you can see the video of the Study Day!
The JCRS is glad to celebrate with you its 6th anniversary. The event will take place at the JCRSs headquarter (Jentower, 15th floor, Leutragraben 1), and in Zwätzengasse 12.
You are kindly invited to the celebration!
Here the program of the event:
12:30- 14:00: Lecture by Dr. Martin O'Malley
on the History and the Development of the Trilateral Project (JCRS Headquater Jentower 15N03)
14:15-15:45: Roundtable discussion on 6 years of JCRS. With Prof. Martin Leiner, Dr. Zeina Barakat, Dr. Francesco Ferrari, Dr. Carolina Rehrmann
presentation on the Peace Process in Colombia. Prof. Dr. Maria Cecilia Plested (Jentower)
15:00 Welcoming by JCRS-head Prof. Martin Leiner and Dr. Francesco Ferrari from Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena on German-French reconciliation
15:30 Wiard Raveling: "Meine Begegnung mit Vladimir Jankélévitch" following: Prof. Klaus-Michael Kodalle from Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena: "Eigentümlichkeiten der französischen Erinnerungspolitik"
Break with drinks
17:00 Prof. Shifra Sagy from Ben-Gurion-University of the Negev, Israel: "Can we empathize with the narrative of our enemy? My personal odyssey in studying peace education."
17:30 Dr. Michael Sternberg from Ben-Gurion-University of the Negev, Israel: "Peace research in the midst of war. Some reflections about the political significance of peace research in Israel Palestine."
15:00 Welcoming - Prof. Martin Leiner
15:30 Keynote-Speech - Cesare Zucconi, General Secretary of St. Egidio, Rome
16:45 "The 'Schiller Correllative' to the Hölderlin Perspective For Reconciliation" - Martin O´Malley, Hearts of Flesh-Coordinator
17:30 "Frieden und Wiedervereinigung in Korea" - Prof. Suk-Sung Yu, President of Seoul Theological University
18:00 "From Hearts of Stone to Hearts of Flesh" - Prof. Mohammed Dajani, Professor in Jerusalem, Israel
18:30 "Aristophanes als Theoretiker der Versöhnung" - Prof. Martin Leiner
20:00 Multilingual Chanson Concert - Carolina Rehrmann & Diego Jascalevich
“Gariwo's aim is to heighten awareness and interest in the figures and the tales of the Righteous, women and men who fought and are still fighting in defense of human dignity. It has been active since 1999 but it was officially set up in 2001 as Gardens of the Righteous Worldwide Committee-Gariwo and in 2009 it became a non-profit organization. It is chaired by Gabriele Nissim. In 2003 was born the Garden of the Righteous worldwide at Monte Stella Hill in Milan, which since 2008 is run by the Association for the Garden of the Righteous - formed by Gariwo, the Municipality of Milan and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities. In 2012, after Gariwo's call, the European Parliament established the European Day of the Righteous - 6 March. In 2017 Italy has been the first country to recognize this recurrence as a civil feast, establishing the Day of the Righteous of the Humanity”.
Mpho Tutu, the daughter of human rights acivist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, will hold a guest lecture on forgiveness. She published several books together with her father, among others the most known book "Made for Goodness".
In her lecture she will speak about forgiveness.
Rev. Nicolas Mumejian of Hartford Seminary (Hartford, CT, USA) will give an introduction on the Christian Far Right Movement in the US under the Trump administration and will provide comparisons with some of the contemporary radical Muslim trends. Rev. Mumejian is an ordained Baptist pastor and is currently working also as the managing editor of "The Muslim World" Journal.
Recently (06.06.2018), the workshop "Islam and Democracy. Muslim Voices Amongst Us" took place in Jena. Thanks to the cooperation with the Jena Schumpeter Center for Research on Socio-Economic Change, the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies hosted ) the Hon. Amédée Turner, Queen's Counsel and member of the European parliament from 1979 until 1994.
Mr. Turner, together with our Research Fellow Dr. Davide Tacchini (Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies) During the last six years, through a team of scholars, researchers and religious leaders in Europe and the USA has organized meetings and gatherings with members of local Muslim communities.
(Over 70 discussion groups -involving 900+ Muslims- were set up all over Europe and the US. Muslims taking part were professional and business people, students, Sunni and Shia mixed).
Firstly, the attention was devoted to the definition of the concept of Democracy, that is not a global concept. It might be defined as a technology, that guarantees, through One person - One vote, the respect of the view of majority and the protection of the rights of minorities. Not one single statement in the discussion groups defined it as contrary to Islamic principles and teachings. Therefore, it is not supposed to be incompatible with Islam.Furthermore, it was highlighted how extremists should not be considered representatives of Islam.
This Workshop gave the participants the possibility of gaining a deeper insight into contemporary Islam and its relationship with the issue of democracy. The JCRS warmly thanks Dr. Davide Tacchini and the Hon. A. Turner for holding such a successful workshop.
On 9th May 2018, the JCRS had the pleasure of hosting Laura Silvia Battaglia Al-Jalal, an Italian freelance journalist living between Italy and Yemen. She is considered one of the most prominent experts on the Middle Eastern conflicts, in particular on the War in Yemen. Together with Dr. Davide Tacchini, she held a workshop focussed on the current situation in Yemen. The opening question was whether we should talk about a forgotten, or rather about a hidden war: the current humanitarian tragedy in Yemen is not so well covered by the media mainstream, such as other conflicts. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, and furthermore many areas are affected by the presence of Al-Qaeda and Radical Muslim Groups, such as the ones in the City of Maqalla.
Laura Silvia Battaglia highlighted how the situation is worsening every day: around 15 million people do not have access to health care service, and children are the ones who suffer the most from this situation. Through a video, we could see the bad conditions in the hospitals and the problems of malnutrition and the plague of human trafficking on the border with Saudi Arabia.
The JCRS thanks warmly Dr. Davide Tacchini and Laura Silvia Battaglia for organising such a successful workshop: it gave the JCRS members the opportunity to meet an expert on Yemen, and to get a better understanding of its current situation.
01.02.2018, 10:00 Uhr
„Nie wieder Krieg - Kommt endlich zur Vernunft“ Ein Appell von Michail Gorbatschow an die Welt
Dr. Franz Alt hat von 1972-1992 das politische Magazin „Report“ geleitet und moderiert. Er ist dadurch einer der prägenden Journalisten für Deutschland geworden. Er stellt sein neues Buch vor, das er 2017 mit Michael Gorbatschow im Hintergrund der wachsenden Spannungen zwi-schen Russland und Europa herausgegeben hat. Ohne Gorbatschow wäre das Ende des kalten Krieges und die deutsche Wiedervereinigung kaum möglich gewesen. In den heutigen Zeiten neuer Feindbilder und Kriege brauchen wir vermittelnde und versöhnende Stimmen wie die des erfahrenen Realisten Michail Gorbatschow. Er fordert ein grundlegendes weltpolitisches Umden-ken, bei dem Gewaltfreiheit in den internationalen Beziehungen an erster Stelle steht. Sein Ap-pell ist ein Weckruf, von nationalstaatlichem Denken und Egoismus endlich Abschied zu nehmen, Ethik und Politik in einer neuen Weise zusammen zu denken und das »gemeinsame Haus Europa« zu bauen.
JCRS hosted a Winter School co-organized with Prof. Christo Thesnaar. Students from Stellenbosch University (South Africa) shared presentations and activities with their colleagues from RCR.
500 years ago (1517) Martin Luther has started his reformative movement, which has got the name of "Reformation". This event played a key role for the European Churches and Societies, and his effects are nowadays strong. For this reason, the JCRS has welcomed Representatives of different countries (USA, Italy and Belgium), who discussed about important issues, such as the ecumenical dialogue, Reconciliation and the relation between Reformation and religious encounters. This conference had the goal to bring into dialogue representatives of different religions, such as Lutherans, Catholics and Orthodoxies. Marc Chapman, Dennis Doyle und Leo Lefebure are just some of the important speakers of the conference. These successful days have been shown how the intercultural-interreligious dialogue important is.
Die Beiträge der Tagung untersuchen Tillichs Verständnis von 'Reformation' und 'Revolution' vor dem Hintergrund seines Gesamtwerks in einer problemgeschichtlichen Perspektive. Diskutiert werden die verschiedenen Facetten und Bezüge seiner Reformations- und Revolutionsdeutung ebenso wie Perspektiven, die sich für gegenwärtige Debatten ergeben. Auf diese Weise erschließt der Tagung ein Themenfeld, welches bislang kaum untersucht wurde.
Recently the JCRS had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Cesare Zucconi, the general secretary of the Community of Sant'Egidio (Rome), who gave a lecture called "Road to Peace. Religions and Culture in Dialogue", which was held on February 23rd 2017 at the Faculty of Theology of Jena.
In his speech, Dr. Zucconi highlighted the following two points:
The importance of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace;
The obstacles that war represents for peace. "War, mother of all poverty" (Quote of Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Community).
In order to show how powerful dialogue can be, Dr. Zucconi recalled the history of Mozambique: October 4th 1992 is a crucial day for the African country. On this very day a peace agreement was made, which put an end to Mozambiques terrible civil war, which started in 1977. The humanitarian and mediating efforts of the Community of Sant'Egidio played a key role in achieving the peace treaty of 1992. Since then, the country experienced major developments, such as democratic elections and the discovery of economic resources.
Furthermore, Dr. Zucconi turned our attention to the annual event "Friedensgebete der Weltreligionen", which will take place from 10th until 12 of September 2017 in Münster and Osnabruck (North Rhine - Westphalia).
The JCRS is happy to welcome Prof. Dr. Sultan Barakat, director of the Center for Conflict Management and Humanitarian Studies in Doha/Qatar for a workshop at the Friedrich-Schiller-University.
The Workshop will take place on 11th July, 2017 at the Schillers Gartenhaus, Jena. It will start with a panel discussion featuring some PhD Students of the JCRS, such as Ayad Dajani and Dina Dajani, Dr. Zeina Barakat and Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner.
Prof. Phillip Wayne Tolliday is visiting scholar at JCRS in SS 2017. We are glad to invite you to attend his guest lecture “Tales of the Way We Never Were: Collective Memory in Australia“ on the issue of indigenous politics in Australia.
Prof. Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, an eminent personality in the Southafrican Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will give a Workshop on "Trauma and Reconciliation". Prof. Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela has recently received an "Ehrendoktorwurde" at the FSU.
More infos here:
DSF Workshop "South Africa Database - Violence and the Role of Religions in South Africa"
A cooperation of the JCRS, the Economic Department of FSU Jena and the Stellenbosch University South Africa:
"Confession, forgiveness and reconciliation in the lives of nations are not just airy-fairy religious and spiritual things, nebulous and unrealistic. They are the stuff of practical politics." (Tutu 2002, 351.)
The conference has been explorative with the overall aim to discuss methodological questions and possibilities for the research of the "role of religions after conflicts" to support the discussion with regards to content in this interdisciplinary context. It had a focus on the research of the role of religions in South Africa and their ambivalent influence on conflicts, "violence circles" and peace in a micro-level analysis. Therefore also the causes and consequences of conflicts and violence from a micro-level-perspective, including the importance of retributive justice were issues of the conference.
The project was is a cooperation of theological and economical scientists and there should be further projects coming. There have been presentations (chronologically) of Dr. Helga Dickow, Prof. Ralf K. Wüstenberg, Prof. Christo Thesnaar, Dr. J. Tarusarira, Prof. D. Smit, Prof. Andreas Freytag, Prof. Martin Leiner and Prof. Stan Du Plessis.
Jena Center for Reconciliation Studiesat Friedrich Schiller University Jena is proud to have hosted Prof. Dr. Ralf K. Wüstenberg, Chair for Systematic and Historic Theology at Europa-University Flensburg, as a guest speaker in the class "Reconciliation and Culture in Palestinian Society", instructed by Dr. Zeina Barakat and directed by Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner.
Prof. Wüstenberg's accumulated experience and knowledge are formidable. His lecture titled, "The Theological Implications in Political Reconciliation: The Cases of South Africa and Germany" discussed the importance of forgiveness (Vergebung) emphasizing three aspects:
I. Reconciliation and Forgiveness in Theology
II. Political Reconciliation in Germany and South Africa
III. Theological Implications of Political Reconciliation
The lecturer explored the political dimensions of forgiveness and reconciliation in light of the transitions to democracy in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall and in South Africa after the end of Apartheid. He proceeded in three steps: First, he started by offering some remarks about the theological understanding of reconciliation and forgiveness explaining that the difference between Political reconciliation and theological reconciliation, as well as what does the word 'reconciliation' mean in theological understanding, namely, it is basically the relationship between god and mankind that was good in the beginning, broke up through sin and was restored through Christ. He argued that reconciliation has to do with "change" that the Apostle Paul introduced in the well-known passage in 2 Corinthians: "God … reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us" (5:18-19) and how it played a key role in complex diplomatic processes, e.g., when hostile cities made peace with each other again.
Second, the lecturerexplored the political options in transition societies (like amnesty or truth commissions); and, third, he analyzed extensively the implications of moral and theological values (like truth-telling or repentance). He argued [Office1] that there is no straight path leading from political reconciliation to its theological meaning. There is instead an ontological breach at the point where we enter the theological understanding of the process. However, coming from the theological angle enables us to discover "connections" between a theological and a political understanding of reconciliation and to explore the power of forgiveness that we introduced through our New Testament citation in the introduction of this lecture. "Reconciliation through truth" does not mean theologically being stuck in moral accusations; what it does is highlight the overcoming of moral guilt. Truth is truth only when it sets one free as made clear in the saying of Jesus, "The truth will make you free," quoted in the Gospel of John (8:32). Free for what? Free to make journeys from the self to the other and back and to see our common history from their perspective as well as ours, rather than closing ourselves off; free to live a truthful life and hence be a self-effecting witness to truth rather than fabricating our own 'truths' and imposing them on others; free to embrace others in truth rather than engage in open or clandestine acts of deceitful violence against them. 
In the lecturere view, to make reaconciliation happen there is a need for frame conditions in the political reality. Truth commissions as political instruments can help to provide such framework conditions as they provide save room in which victims and perpetrators come together and in which both parties share "their" truth and allow the other person to participate in this with a trustful moderator, such as Desmond Tutu.
Finally, Prof. Wüstenberg suggested a number of criteria or conditions that would allow for forgiveness or reconciliation to happen.
 See Cilliers Breytenbach: Versöhnung. Eine Studie zur paulinischen Soteriologie (Neukirchen: Neukirchener Verlag, 1989). Breytenbach argues with some force that when Paul transferred the concept of reconciliation to the theological field in order to express the relationship between God and human beings, it had lost its social and political dimension. On the other hand Breytenbach seems to fail to see the rich possibilities that his exegetical results open up for reconstructing the theological dimension of reconciliation in politics.
 Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996), pp. 272f.
Dr. Christine Schliesser (Zurich University)
Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner (Jena University)
Persistent and newly emerging conflicts around the world have made the search for successful and sustainable conflict resolution imperative. With traditional military intervention repeatedly leading to the transformation of entire regions into zones of instability and violence (e.g. Iraq, Libya, Afghani-stan), the study of alternative and less violent approaches to conflict resolu-tion has gained momentum.
The aim of this conference was to bring together innovative approaches in conflict resolution both for discussion and for the exploration of concrete improvements in conflict resolution strategies. Five different focal points served this purpose: negotiations, religion and gender, reconciliation and forgiveness, dealing with the past and transitional justice, and the arts. This interdisciplinary conference sought to combine the knowledge and insights of experts from academia, NGOs and politics alike. The hosts have been Prof. Martin Leiner and Dr. Christine Schließer.
In preparation for a joint DFG-funded doctoral school on "Religion-Conflict-Reconciliation", the joint application of cooperative EU-Horizon 2020 programs and the foundation of a Consortium of a German Reconciliation Center, the JCRS hosted this Round Table Talk. Special attention was given to past successful cases, the theoretical link between reconciliation and justice, reconciliation and cultural heritage, reconciliation policy and retributive/transitional justices.
Our co-operation partners were the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology (MPI), Europa-University Flensburg (EUF) and University of Zürich (UZH).
The workshop has been opened via a short welcoming speech by Prof. Dr. Thorsten Heinzel, vice president for research (FSU Jena).
Buchenhorst, Ralph (MLU): »Through Memory towards Reconciliation: Scopes and limits of remembering difficult pasts in the context of peace-building.«
Thompson, James (MLU): »Reconciliation and the Practice of Justice«
Fleckstein, Anne (MPI): »Reconciliation through truth. A South African paradigm of transitional justice«
Wüstenberg, Ralf K. (EUF) »Politische Versöhnung in theologischer Perspektive - methodische Ansätze«
Schliesser, Christine (UZH): »Reconciliation after Genocide? - Examplary Practices in Post-Genocide Rwanda«
Ferrari, Francesco (FSU): »Paul Ricoeur: Archeology and Teleology of Reconciliation«
Leiner, Martin, Joram Tarusarira, Maria Palme (FSU): Introduction of the "Horizon 2020 program"
Wenn es um die Probleme zwischen Juden und Palästinensern geht, dann ist jedem klar, dass Versöhnung zur Beilegung dieses Konflikts eine wichtige Rolle spielt. Aber braucht man in Deutschland Versöhnung? Das Thema liegt gar nicht so fern, wenn man beispielsweise an die Stasi-Problematik und den Umgang mit der eigenen Vergangenheit in den neuen Ländern denkt. Aber auch aktuelle Tendenzen wie Pegida und die Gegendemonstrationen beweisen, dass ohne ein Aufeinanderzugehen und Zuhören viele Konflikte unversöhnlich bleiben werden.
"Aufarbeitung und Versöhnung in Thüringen"
Was Ministerpräsident Bodo Ramelow zum Thema "Aufarbeitung und Versöhnung in Thüringen" denkt, das wird er in einem Grundsatzreferat beim Thüringentag für Philosophie 2015 äußern, der am 19. November an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (FSU) stattfindet. Unter dem Titel "Thüringen 2015: Braucht das Land Versöhnung?"
laden die Neue Thüringische Gesellschaft für Philosophie i. G. sowie das Ethikzentrum und das Zentrum für Versöhnungsstudien der Universität Jena alle Interessierten zur Teilnahme herzlich ein; der Eintritt ist frei.
Die Grundlagen von Versöhnung
Die Veranstaltung ist zweigeteilt: Von 9.00-12.30 Uhr wird im Großen Rosensaal (Fürstengraben 27) über die Grundlagen von Versöhnung gesprochen. Dieser Prozess, in dem Personen, gar Gesellschaften konstruktiv mit vergangenen und andauernden Konflikten umgehen, wird von Wissenschaftlern der Universität Jena intensiv erforscht. Ihr Hauptaugenmerk liegt auf dem Israel-Palästina-Konflikt, auf Südafrika, Lateinamerika und dem Balkan. Ihre Erfahrungen werden der Leiter des Jena Zentrums für Versöhnungsstudien (Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies) Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner und der Leiter des Ethikzentrums Jena, Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Knoepffler, mit Blick auf Thüringen darlegen. Prof. Leiner wird in seinem Referat u. a. zeigen, in welchem Ausmaß Versöhnung notwendig ist trotz des Vierteljahrhunderts politischer Einheit in Deutschland ist. Martin O'Malley, PhD, wird die ethische Reflexion der Konzepte von Versöhnung und Gerechtigkeit darlegen, die zum Verständnis bestmöglicher Versöhnung notwendig ist. Er will veranschaulichen, wie eine solche Versöhnung aussehen und sich anfühlen kann, wenn sie geschieht. Aus philosophischer Perspektive werden sich Prof. Dr. Klaus-Michael Kodalle und Prof. Dr. Klaus Vieweg (beide FSU) mit für Versöhnung relevanten Fragen befassen.
Das ebenfalls öffentliche Abendprogramm, das von 17.00-19.00 Uhr in der Aula im Universitätshauptgebäude (Fürstengraben 1) stattfindet, widmet sich explizit dem Thema der Versöhnung in Thüringen. Nach der programmatischen Rede von Ministerpräsident Bodo Ramelow wird Ehrhart Neubert aus Sicht eines DDR-Oppositionellen reden. Eine ausgewählte Gruppe Thüringer Bürger wird in einer Podiumsdiskussion den Abend beschließen.
Martin O'Malley, PhD
Ethikzentrum der Universität Jena
This international and interdisciplinary symposium dealt with the question of trust building and restoring strategies of promoting stable and peaceful coexistence of communities and societies in order to make life livable after shared experiences of atrocities and mass violence. The inquiry was based on the assumption to explain the polysemic nature of the phenomenon of reconciliation.
The Symposium has been organized in cooperation with the Martin-Springer Institute, Arizona University and the JCRS.
Björn Krondorfer, Ph.D., Endowed Professor of Religious Studies, Director of Martin-Springer Institute, Northern Arizona University, USA (PI)
Prof. Wilhelm Verwoerd, Director of Beyond Walls Ltd, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa
Dr. Avner Dinur, Lecturer for Interdisciplinary Studies, Sapir College, Jewish Studies, Hakibbutzim College, Israel
Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner, Director of Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany
Dr. Zeina Barakat, PhD, Applied Ethics Center at the Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany
The Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS) was proud to announce the "Interkultureller Koreanisch-Deutscher Vortragsabend" (Intercultural Korean-German Lecture Evening) on the topic "Die Bedeutung von Bonhoeffers Friedens- und Versöhnungsdenken für Ostasien und Europa" (The Meaning of Bonhoeffers Thinking about Peace and Reconciliation pro East Asia and Europe), which took place in the Rosensäle (Fürstengraben 27, Jena) on the 27th of January 2015 (4.15-6.15 p.m.).
Our guest from Seoul Prof. Yu Suk-Sung, who is since September 2010 the president of the Seoul Theological University, was lecturing about "Bonhoeffers Friedensgedanke und Frieden in Ostasien", followed by the director of the JCRS Prof. Martin Leiner, who had lectured about "1918 - 1945 - 1989. Theologische Wendepunkte Der Deutschen Geschichte".
The event was accompanied musically by the Korean-Evangelical Pentecostal Church Jena/Weimar under the leadership of pastor Kim Yona.
From February 17 to May, 2014, the Graduate School of East Asian Studies (GEAS), FU Berlin was joined by Prof. Dong-Choon Kim as a visiting professor. Dong-Choon Kim served as a Standing Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the Republic of South Korea (TRCK) from 2005 to 2010. He received his PhD in Sociology from Seoul National University in 1993. The main areas of Professor Kim's research have been historical sociology of Korean politics, working class formation, and the Korean War.
As an activist, Professor Kim has been at the center of progressive academic movements since the 1980s.His books include Social Movements in 1960s Korea (1991), A Study of Korea's Working Class (1995), Shadow of Modernity (2000), War and Society (2000), Engine of America-Market and War (2004). War and Society has been translated into German, Japanese, and English ("The Unending Korean War").
In his speech he pointed out critical issues about the TRCK as a product of South Korea's decades-long democratization movement and the liberal government. Its findings and recommendations may accordingly be seen as a tool for breaking open the politics of denial that have been maintained in South Korea for the past sixty years.
"Religio-political non-conformism, democratization and reconciliation in Zimbabwe"
The Zimbabwean scholar Joram Tarusarira achieved inter alia a Master of Arts in Religious Studies (African Traditional Religion, University of Zimbabwe, 2005), a Master of Arts in Reconciliation Studies (Trinity College Dublin (Ireland, 2009) and also a Master of Adult Education (St. Francis Xavier University (Canada), 2012). He's academically interested in Religious Studies, Sociology and Politics. And since 2011 he's a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Leipzig (Germany). The title of his dissertation is "Religio-political non-conformism, democratization and reconciliation in Zimbabwe".
Mr. Tarusaria about his research: "The role of religion in the political sphere in Zimbabwe has been dominated by mainline Christian institutional churches and their apex bodies. Religious and political powers have often treated non-doctrinal religio-political organizations and individuals as an epiphenomenon or purposeless critics. This tendency, observable in colonial and post-colonial Zimbabwe, has obscured the role that such organizations and individuals operating structurally and culturally outside the jurisdiction and power of dominant religious and political systems have played in influencing the political realm. The study fills a research gap between historical narratives and modern admonitions for religious entities to play a constructive role in the socio-political sphere. It is an ethnographic study of religio-political organizations and the role they play in dealing with political conflict and violence in pursuit of democratization and reconciliation."
Workshop on "Mediation, Trauma Therapy and Conflict Transformation between Germans,
Palestinians and Israeli"
3. February 2014, 14:30-18:00, SR 308, Carl-Zeiss-Str.3
4. February 2014, 14:30-18:00, SR 114, Carl-Zeiss-Str.3
The Workshop will be hold by our invited guest expert, Prof. Krondorfer (Director of Martin Springer Institute & Endowed Professor, Dept.of Comparative Cultural Studies, Northern Arizona University). The event is directed to the participants of the Graduate Seminar of the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS). The advanced training gives insights into the practical applications of reconciliation studies. The Martin-Springer Institute attends to the experiences of the Holocaust in order to relate them to today's concerns, crises, and conflicts. Our programs promote the values of moral courage, tolerance, empathy, reconciliation, and justice. Founded by Ralph and Doris Martin, the Institute fosters dialogue on local, national, and international levels.
On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the JCRS hosted a panel discussion on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Dr. Christine Schließer from the Institute of Social Ethics at the University of Zurich gave the key lecture on "Remembrance and Reconciliation: Theological Perspectives on Post-Genocide Rwanda".
Drawing on the idea of Cultural Memory in the work of Paul Ricoeur and Aleida Assmann, the lecture addressed the difficult task of remembering a painful past. In conversation with Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns, Dr. Schließer emphasized that reconciliation is not only the goal of a process but occurs during the process itself in various forms (confession of guilt, atonement, the plea for forgiveness, etc.). She also presented the idea of transformative justice, developed by Howard Zehr, and mentioned the problems of an official, state-sanctioned, and stereotyping remembrance, which suppresses dissident voices. She asked whether "peaceful coexistence", rather than "reconciliation" might not be a more appropriate term to describe the reality of Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.
The first response was given by Dr. Katharina Peetz from the University of the Saarland in Saarbrücken. She presented her research project, which is a qualitative study about personal views about reconciliation, based on interviews with 'perpetrators' and 'victims' of the Rwandan genocide. Preliminary findings show that 'perpetrators' more often speak about forgiveness, whereas 'victims' favor the term reconciliation.
The second response came from Rev. Helmut Keiner, who served as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Kigali from 1983 until 1991. He emphasized that the genocide was one aspect of the bloody civil war that escalated in 1990, when the Rwandan Patriotic Front, under the leadership of current President Paul Kagame and with support from the Ugandan Army, invaded Rwanda.
After the lecture and the brief responses the discussion continued with several questions and comments from the audience.
Click here to find the recording of the discussion.
Wissenschaftler der Universität Jena starten mit einem internationalen Team ein Projekt zur Versöhnung von Israelis und Palästinensern. Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft fördert das Vorhaben „Hearts of Flesh – Not Stone: Does Meeting the ‚Suffering of the Other‘ Influence Reconciliation in the Middle of Conflict?“ in den kommenden zwei Jahren mit über einer Million Euro.
„Ich schenke euch ein neues Herz und lege einen neuen Geist in euch. Ich nehme das Herz von Stein aus eurer Brust und gebe euch ein Herz aus Fleisch.“ Mit diesen Worten kündete das Buch Hesekiel von der Barmherzigkeit Gottes und wies dem Volke Israel einen Weg zur Versöhnung.
Um Versöhnung geht es auch heute noch im Heiligen Land: Seit Jahrzehnten schwelt hier der Konflikt zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern. Wissenschaftler der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena wollen nun in einem von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) geförderten Forschungsprojekt untersuchen, wie es in diesem Konflikt nachhaltig zur Versöhnung kommen kann. Die DFG unterstützt das trilaterale Projekt von Theologen, Psychologen, Politikwissenschaftlern und Ethikern aus Deutschland, Israel und Palästina in den kommenden zwei Jahren mit zunächst gut einer Million Euro. Eine anschließende Verlängerung des Vorhabens um weitere drei Jahre ist vorgesehen.
Der Projekttitel „Hearts of Flesh – Not Stone: Does Meeting the ‚Suffering of the Other‘ Influence Reconciliation in the Middle of Conflict?“ greife bewusst das Bild des Propheten Hesekiel aus dem Alten Testament auf, sagt Prof. Dr. Martin Leiner von der Uni Jena. Das Herz aus Fleisch symbolisiere Empathie und das sei eine entscheidende Voraussetzung für Versöhnung, ist der Professor für Systematische Theologie und Ethik überzeugt. „Unsere Idee ist es daher, Empathie zwischen den Konfliktparteien zu wecken“, erläutert der Leiter des Gesamtprojekts.
Damit schlägt das interdisziplinäre Forscherteam eine bisher verhältnismäßig wenig erforschte Richtung ein, wie Dr. Martin O’Malley vom Ethikzentrum der Universität Jena betont. „Wir wissen bisher einfach noch zu wenig über die konkreten Prozesse, die Einzelpersonen oder soziale Gruppen dazu bewegen, sich für Aussöhnung zu öffnen“, so der Koordinator des Jenaer Teilprojekts.
„Bisher sehen sich beide Konfliktparteien ausnahmslos in der Opferrolle und konkurrieren vielfach darum, wer diese Rolle vor allem einnehmen darf“, sagt Prof. Leiner. Dies sei wenig produktiv, zumal diese Sicht von den politischen Eliten wie auch den Medien beider Seiten immer wieder bedient werde, was eine Begegnung mit den anderen und ihrem Leiden praktisch verhindert, so der Experte für Medienethik weiter. Hier will das internationale Wissenschaftlerteam ansetzen und den Konfliktparteien das Leiden der jeweils anderen Seite vor Augen führen: Zunächst werden junge Palästinenser nach Auschwitz fahren und junge Israelis palästinensische Flüchtlingscamps in der Westbank oder Jordanien besuchen. Anschließend sollen gemischte Gruppen die Orte erneut aufsuchen und sich über ihre Erfahrungen austauschen. Die Reisen werden vorbereitet und begleitet von sozialpsychologischen Untersuchungen und sollen in ein theoretisch fundiertes Konzept dieser Form des Perspektivenwechsels münden.
Die Idee zu diesem Projekt ist bereits 2010 entstanden als Prof. Dr. Arie Nadler als erster „Scientist in Residence“ der Graduierten-Akademie für mehrere Monate an der Uni Jena forschte und lehrte. Der renommierte Sozialpsychologe von der Universität Tel Aviv ist auf die psychologischen Grundlagen der Versöhnung zwischen Individuen und sozialen Gruppen spezialisiert und bringt seine Expertise ebenso in das Projekt ein wie seine Jenaer Fachkollegen um Prof. Dr. Thomas Kessler, den Religionswissenschaftler Prof. Dr. Bertram Schmitz sowie den Leiter des Ethikzentrums Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Knoepffler. Außerdem sind Forscher der Al Quds Universität in Jerusalem und der Ben Gurion Universität in Beer Sheva beteiligt.
Am 18. Juli wird an der Universität Jena auch eine von Prof. Leiner geleitete Forschungsstelle für Versöhnung mit einem Vortrag und einem Empfang in den Rosensälen eröffnet.
Dr. Ute Schönfelder, Stabsstelle Kommunikation/Pressestelle