2024 - Current Conflicts and the Limits of International Humanitarian Law

A Panel Discussion with John Packer, Dr. Nathan Derejko, Dr. Kjell Anderson, and Karyn Stone, Moderated by Dr. Michelle Gallant

This panel discussion took place on Wednesday, March 20 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am (CST) in-person in Room 225, St. Paul’s College and online via Zoom Webinar. John Packer was unavailable to join the panel discussion.

John Packer is an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Nathan Derejko is an Assistant Professor and Mauro Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice at the University of Manitoba. Karyn Stone is the Regional Coordinator, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for the Canadian Red Cross. Dr. Kjell Anderson is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Human Rights Program at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Michelle Gallant is a Professor in the Faculty of Law.

2023 - Genocide by Other Means: Memory and Accountability in the Afterlife of the Armenian Genocide

Dr. Armen T. Marsoobian

Professor of Philosophy, Southern Connecticut State University

The 2023 MLT Aikins St. Paul’s College University Affiliation Lecture, "Genocide by Other Means: Memory and Accountability in the Afterlife of the Armenian Genocide " took place on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:00 pm (CST-Winnipeg) in-person (Fr. Jensen SJ Theatre - room 100 St. Paul's) and via Zoom Webinar.

Cultural destruction is an integral component of the concept of genocide as it was first formulated by Raphael Lemkin. The erasure of most signs of the indigenous Armenian presence on its historic homeland was particularly pronounced in the decades following the genocide and continues today. Cultural erasure went hand in hand with Turkish state genocide denial and the rewriting and mythologizing of its national narrative.

Distortion of history fuels hatred and violence that is evidenced in the discrimination, persecution, and violence against Armenians in Turkey and the South Caucasus, especially in the decades-long conflict in Karabakh. Attempts to push back against historical distortion have had limited success given the rise of authoritarianism in the region.

In his lecture, Dr. Marsoobian describes one such memory project that employs family memoir and photography to both personalize the trauma and correct the national historical narrative.

About Dr. Armen T. Marsoobian

Dr. Marsoobian has lectured and published extensively on topics in moral philosophy, American philosophy, genocide studies, human rights, aesthetics, Armenian photography & cinema. He taught courses on human rights, genocide and Holocaust studies, and the Armenian Genocide, including courses on literary and artistic responses to mass atrocity. He has worked closely with NGOs in Turkey that focus on the treatment of minorities and accountability for the Armenian Genocide.

Dr. Marsoobian has co-edited seven books, including Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Genocide and Memory (2018), Criticism and Compassion: The Ethics and Politics of Claudia Card (2018), Genocide’s Aftermath: Responsibility and Repair (2007). His book, Fragments of a Lost Homeland: Remembering Armenia, is based upon extensive research about his family, the Dildilians, who were accomplished Ottoman Armenian photographers.

Dr. Marsoobian serves as an Affiliated Faculty member of the Institute of Human Rights at University of Connecticut, and a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University. He is Editor-in-Chief the journal, Metaphilosophy and serves as First Vice President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

2022 - Spirituality and Wonder: A Way Forward in Hard Times

Dr. Heather Eaton

Full Professor, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada

The 2022 MLT Aikins St. Paul’s College University Affiliation Lecture, "Spirituality and Wonder: A Way Forward in Hard Times" took place on Friday, March 25 at 1:00 pm (CST-Winnipeg) via Zoom Webinar. The lecture was held in conjunction with the Prairie Symposium for the Common Good, an inaugural, annual event co-hosted by: Jesuit Centre for Catholic Studies (St. Paul's College - University of Manitoba); Campion College (University of Regina); and St. Thomas More College (University of Saskatchewan).

This lecture identifies and brings a diverse perspective on the ecological decline occurring around the world. Analyses are offered on the political, economic, justice, structural, gender, and conflict aspects of ecological challenges. Yet analyses critique, and denunciation have their limits. Bruno Latour suggested ‘critique has run out of steam’. More is needed.

This presentation focuses on the relationships among the common good, justice, peace and sustainability, including an awareness of planetary as well as human solidarity. The focus will be on themes of spirituality, ethics, and aesthetics, and wonder.

About Dr. Heather Eaton

Heather Eaton holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in ecology, feminism and theology and is engaged in ecological, feminist and liberation theologies, religion and science, inter-religious responses to ecological crisis.

Books include: Advancing Nonviolence and Social Transformation: New Perspectives on Nonviolent Theories with Lauren Levesque (2016), The Intellectual Journey of Thomas Berry: Imagining the Earth Community (2014), Ecological Awareness: Exploring Religion, Ethics and Aesthetics, with Sigurd Bergmann (2011) Introducing Ecofeminist Theologies (2005), and Ecofeminism and Globalization: Exploring Religion, Culture, Context (2003) with Lois Ann Lorentzen, and dozens of academic articles.

Board member of Worldviews: Global Religions, Environment and Culture, of the Religion and Ecology session of the American Academy of Religion, and past president of the Canadian Theological Society. Recent work includes: a) peace and conflict studies on gender, ecology, religion: b) animal rights: c) nonviolence: d) wonder.

2020 - The Power of the Faithful: Genocide and Religion

Dr. Kate E. Temoney

Assistant Professor, Religion, Montclair State University

The 2020 MLT Aikins SPC University Affiliation Lecture took place on Thursday, March 5. Dr. Kate E. Temoney presented on the topic "The Power of the Faithful: Genocide and Religion."

This lecture addresses the under-studied nexuses between genocide and religion. Although rarely the motivating factor in mass atrocities, religion has played a significant role in both fomenting and stymieing genocidal violence. Despite this, there has been little focused research on or practical steps toward engaging religion in genocide prevention. This is beginning to change, and through an examination of recent initiatives and reports, particularly the United Nations Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes, the lecture will explore the promises and challenges of enlisting religious actors in mass atrocity prevention.

About Dr. Kate E. Temoney

Dr. Kate E. Temoney is trained as a comparative religious ethicist and earned an M.Ed. from The College of William & Mary, USA and a Religion M.A. and Ph.D. from Florida State University, USA. She is the co-chair of the Religion, Holocaust, and Genocide Unit of the American Academy of Religion.

A selection of her publications include: "The 1994 Rwandan Genocide: The Religion/Genocide Nexus, Sexual Violence, and the Future of Genocide Studies” in Genocide Studies and Prevention (2016); “Religion and Genocide Nexuses: Bosnia as Case Study,” Religions (2017); “Counter-terrorism and Religious Violence in Nigeria: A Human Rights Perspective on the Doctrine of Necessity” in Law and Religion in Africa, co-author Simeon O. Ilesanmi (2018); and “Anatomizing White Rage: ‘Race is My Religion!’ and ‘White Genocide'" in The Religion of White Rage: White Workers, Religious Fervor, and the Myth of Racial Progress (2020).

Dr. Temoney's Profile Page at Montclair State University

2019 - 25 Years of Peacebuilding at The Carter Center

Dr. Tom Crick

Associate Director, Conflict Resolution Program, The Carter Center

The 2019 MLT Aikins SPC University Affiliation Lecture took place on Wednesday, March 6. Dr. Tom Crick presented on the topic "25 Years of Peacebuilding at The Carter Center."

For the past 25 years, Tom Crick has worked at The Carter Center, supporting former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s peace-making and peacebuilding efforts across the globe. When President and Mrs. Carter founded The Carter Center in 1982 to resolve conflict and promote human rights, the field of conflict resolution was new, third party mediation rare, and state sovereignty strong.

Since then, the international community has established multiple human rights and conflict intervention mechanisms aimed at reducing violent conflict and ensuring accountability by the perpetrators of violence. After a steady decline in violent conflict, war related deaths are on the rise, human rights mechanisms are under challenge, and transnational violence is on the rise.

Drawing from personal experience and the work of the Carter Center, Crick will reflect on the key changes during this period and what they mean for practical efforts to manage conflict and build peace going forward.

About Dr. Tom Crick

Tom Crick joined the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program in 1994 where he is currently the Associate Director. Mr. Crick has worked on numerous Carter Center conflict management and election initiatives, primarily in Africa, including supporting high level mediation efforts by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Sudan, Uganda, and the Great Lakes region. Most recently, his work has focused on peace-building and conflict prevention in post-war Liberia where he leads the Center’s on-going Access to Justice project that works toward social cohesion, violence prevention, and good governance. In 2014-2015 he coordinated the Carter Center’s response to the Ebola crisis in Liberia.

Mr. Crick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics from Bristol University in the U.K. and a Master’s degree in Irish Political Studies from the Queen's University of Belfast. He has conducted doctoral research at the London School of Economics and Emory University and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Emory University School of Law School, teaching Advanced International Negotiation.

In his spare time, Mr. Crick is a football (soccer) coach, a Marx Brothers fan, and an unsuccessful dog trainer.

2018 - Pop Culture, Peace and Resistance: From Harry Potter to the Hunger Games

Dr. Siobhan McEvoy-Levy

Professor, Political Science, Butler University

The 2018 MLT Aikins SPC University Affiliation Lecture took place on Tuesday, March 13. Dr. Siobhan McEvoy-Levy presented on the topic "Pop Culture, Peace and Resistance: From Harry Potter to the Hunger Games."

Dr. McEvoy-Levy’s lecture explores youth subcultures, including fan activism, and fan fiction communities. The lecture will consider the pop-cultural contexts of liberal peacebuilding and how these blur with militarism, and identify the cultural sources of positive peace and resistance in youth culture.

Militarism and processes of militarization shape the international political system and the lives of people around the world, and popular entertainment is a part of those processes. But complex notions of peace and resistance - and forms of peacebuilding - also exist in pop culture stories and practices. Exploring how children’s entertainment is given new life in youth subcultures, including in fan activism, and fan fiction communities, the lecture makes a call for peace researchers and practitioners to collaborate on a research agenda for critical peace studies focused on entertainment cultures.

Pop culture analysis helps identify the ‘commonsensical’ narratives and ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’ (Weldes) of violence in world politics; uncovers the domestic pop-cultural contexts of liberal peacebuilding and how these blur with militarism; and helps locate the cultural sources of positive peace and resistance in discourses and practices that bridge local lives and global structures.

More about Peace and Resistance in Youth Cultures: Reading the Politics of Peacebuilding from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games (2017)

Peace and Resistance in Youth Cultures: Reading the Politics of Peacebuilding from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games (2017)

This book offers a rationale for and ways of reading popular culture for peace. It argues that we can improve peacebuilding theory and practice through examining popular culture’s youth revolutionaries and their outcomes - from their digital and plastic renderings to their living embodiments in local struggles for justice.

The study combines insights from post-structural, post-colonial, feminist, youth studies and peace and conflict studies theories to analyze the literary themes, political uses, and cultural impacts of two hit book series – Harry Potter and The Hunger Games – tracing how these works have been transformed into visible political practices, including social justice advocacy and government propaganda in the War on Terror.

Pop culture production and consumption help maintain global hierarchies of inequality and structural violence but can also connect people across divisions through fandom participation. Including chapters on fan activism, fan fiction, Guantanamo Bay detention center, youth as a discursive construct in IR, and the merchandizing and tourism opportunities connected with The Hunger Games, the book argues that through taking youth-oriented pop culture seriously, we can better understand the local, global and transnational spaces, discourses, and the relations of power, within which meanings and practices of peace are known, negotiated, encoded and obstructed.

Find the book on Amazon.

2017 - Make _______ Great Again. (Nostalgic Attempts to Exercise Control)

Dr. Janie Leatherman

Professor of Politics & International Studies, Fairfield University

The 2017 MLT Aikins St. Paul's College University Affiliation Lecture took place on Monday, March 27, 2017. Dr. Janie Leatherman presented on the topic of "Make _______ Great Again. (Nostalgic Attempts to Exercise Control)."

Unprecedented numbers of displaced persons are fleeing war, hunger, crime, poverty and climate change. These global developments threaten to unsettle the systems of patriarchal power on which the nation-state system has been built. It is not surprising that many states have turned their focus to the border—liminal spaces that are edgy and anxiety-producing. Under these conditions, states attempt to saturate the political space with spectacles of power and authority. Commonly referred to as populism, these are nostalgic attempts to exercise control.

This lecture will focus on the gendered relations of catastrophic masculinities that draw lines to exclude rather than include. It will explore why these politics of catastrophe are violent and toxic, and how they operate within states and beyond. It will contrast them with rise of peace movements that are pushing back through the intersectionalities of their personal and collective lives to offer an ethics of caring and the provision of refuge.

About Dr. Janie Leatherman

Dr. Janie Leatherman is professor of politics and international studies. She is Chair of Politics, Director of the Humanitarian Action Minor, and Project Director of Collaborative Project in Student Learning: The Examination of Enduring Questions through Humanitarian Education (Teagle Foundation Grant)

Dr. Leatherman's training and consultancy in conflict resolution include the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, the United Nations University, Catholic Relief Services, Search for Common Ground, the Brookings Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). She has grants from national and international funding sources, including the Department of Education, United States Institute of Peace, the Social Science Research Council, Pew Foundation, Swedish Government, and also the Fulbright-Hayes and American Scandinavian dissertation fellowships. She has delivered more than 50 public addresses and dozens of conference papers in national and international forum.

Dr. Leatherman served as Director of International Studies at Fairfield University from 2006-2012. Her prior appointments include Director of International Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Illinois State University (1997-2006), Visiting Fellow, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame (1992-1997), and Visiting Assistant Professor, Macalester College (1989-1991). She was Director of Brethren Colleges Abroad and taught at the University of Barcelona from 1991-1992. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies (1991).

Dr. Leatherman's work on sexual violence examines its pervasive reality in many contemporary warzones; asks how such atrocity becomes normalized through a complex interplay of local to global forces, and explores the range of humanitarian responses from pyschosocial, protection, caring and social transformation. Her most recent publication Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict explores the catastrophic, and often hidden, consequences for women, men, girls, and boys in conflict zones, and how the destruction of their lives along with family and community is linked to a global political economy of violence and its networks of plunder and profit, especially with illicit goods and conflict minerals and other commodities.

Safe space is an overlooked concept, whose protection is vital to the security of famliies and communities around the world, and yet seems to be collapsing in many contexts. These range from the impact of global climate change, fragile and collapsing states, piracy, kidnappings, loss of safe space in humanitarian crises and war, the global rise in domestic violence, human trafficking, and sweatshops, to terrorism, and the linkages among them. As globalization has collapsed time and space, it has disarticulated the territoriality of the inter-state and associated war system, while accelerating the movement of people, goods and ideas, prompting a mismatch between global humanitarian and human rights norms and the system they were designed for, and contemporary threats. Safe space in one sector after another (humanitarian spaces, schools, markets, malls, public transport, hospitals, religious and cultural sites, etc.) situated historically under the protective arm of international regimes and associated state duties is in peril. The emergence of the responsibility to protect is just one manifestation of the struggle to respond to the pervasive collapse of safe space.

2016 - The Role of Human Rights in Peace and Conflict Studies

Professor John Packer

Director, Human Rights Research and Education Centre and Associate Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

The 2016 MLT Aikins St. Paul's College University Affiliation Lecture took place on Tuesday, March 15. Professor John Packer presented on the topic "The Role of Human Rights in Peace and Conflict Studies."

It’s been said that war is the absence of human rights. But what exactly is the relationship between human rights and peace? Is the full respect and effective enjoyment of human rights essentially the manifestation of peace? Or are these different but related elements of a larger recipe for resilient, non-violent and productive societies? More precisely, what is the relationship between human rights and conflict resolution?

These and other questions will be explored by the speaker on the basis of an extraordinary experience of 25 years engaged in over fifty conflicts around the world, working with the UN, OSCE, EU and many other organizations and actors.

About Professor John Packer

John Packer is an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa. He previously held academic positions at the University of Essex and at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. He has held Fellowships at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and lectured at universities and professional institutions around the world.

Professor Packer is an experienced practitioner with over 20 years of experience working for intergovernmental organizations, including for the United Nations (UNHCR, ILO, OHCHR) i.a. investigating serious human rights violations in a number of situations, notably Iraq, Afghanistan, and Burma/Myanmar, as well as themes including extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, the use of forensic sciences, the use of civil defense forces, and regarding the independence of judges and lawyers throughout the world.

From 1995 to 2004, he was Senior Legal Adviser and then the first Director of the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) in The Hague working across Central and Eastern Europe and throughout the former Soviet Union.

From 2012 to 2014, Prof. Packer was a Constitutions and Process Design Expert on the United Nation’s Standby Team of Mediation Experts attached to the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), advising in numerous peace processes and political transitions around the world focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, diversity management, constitutional and legal reform, and the protection of human rights including minorities. He is Associate Editor of the Human Rights Law Journal and a General Editor of the European Yearbook of Minority Issues, and has sat on the boards of several international human rights NGOs.

2015 - Identity Matters: Confronting Identity on the Road to Conflict Resolution, Peace and Justice

Dr. Celia Cook-Huffman

Juniata College

The 2015 MLT Aikins St. Paul's College University Affiliation Lecture took place on Tuesday, March 24. Dr. Celia Cook-Huffman presented on the topic "Identity Matters: Confronting Identity on the Road to Conflict Resolution, Peace and Justice."

How are identities shaped, defined and managed as part of conflict? What is the role of identity in mobilizing parties? How do the identities we claim shape our strategies for waging conflict? How do self-perception and identity prevent us from compromise and reconciliation and implicate us in social inequality and injustice?

Conflict is fundamentally grounded in the self-perceptions of the individuals or groups in conflict. How the parties define themselves and their opponents in conflict is often a critical factor in the escalation and rigidification of conflict. Accordingly, addressing identity is critical to our ability to shift, mitigate, resolve, and transform conflicts.

Dr. Cook-Huffman's lecture explores the roles identity plays in conflict and what theory tells us about the impact of identities on conflicts. The lecture will question who is creating, presenting, and shaping identities in particular ways and for what purposes, citing recent examples from Rwanda to Ferguson, Missouri.

About Dr. Celia Cook-Huffman

Dr. Celia Cook-Huffman teaches in the Peace and Conflict Studies program and is the Associate Director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Her background combines peace studies with specialized training and education in conflict resolution, nonviolence, gender, and mediation. The focus of her teaching is on understanding how conflict affects individuals, communities and the world system. In exploring conflict, Dr. Cook-Huffman asks students to think about both how to wage conflicts productively as well as how to resolve them. In all her courses, she encourages students to think creatively about conflict and the dangers and opportunities it brings to our lives.

Outside the classroom, Dr. Cook-Huffman has worked with the college community, churches, school and small businesses, teaching mediation and conflict resolution skills, and providing community mediation services under the auspices of the Baker Institute.

Her research focuses on the impact of social identity on conflict and the relationship between gender issues and conflict. She received the Juniata Junior Faculty Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996. She has a BA in peace studies and conflict resolution from Manchester College, an MA in peace studies from the University of Notre Dame where she was an International Scholars Program Fellow, and a PhD from Syracuse University. She currently holds the W. Clay and Kathryn H. Burkholder Professorship in Conflict Resolution.

2014 - The Constructive Conflict Approach with Applications to Contemporary Conflicts

Dr. Louis Kriesberg

Syracuse University

The 2014 MLT Aikins St. Paul's College University Affiliation Lecture took place on Monday, March 17. Dr. Louis Kriesberg, founder and past Director of the Program on the Analysis and Resolutions of Conflict at Syracuse University, presented on the topic "The Constructive Conflict Approach with Applications to Contemporary Conflicts."