This issue includes the latest news from AC4 and the Columbia conflict community, including reflections and conversations with our Grad Student Fellows.
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Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4) - Earth Institute, Columbia University
September 2016

Happy first days for the 2016-2017 school year! We hope classes are off to a good start and you're enjoying the chance to reconnect and meet new classmates and colleagues after summer.

Here at AC4, we have many exciting things to look forward to this fall, including several exciting events lined up. Please read more about them below, including the first Perspectives on Peace event with a film screening and panel discussion happening at the end of this month. More to come soon, including the weekly conflict events mailings and news about an upcoming Sustainable Peace Project Forum happening in October as well as the next Perspectives on Peace event.

We look forward to seeing many of you throughout this semester that is already brimming with opportunities for dialogue and learning.

Join us on Sept 26th!

On September 26th, we are co-hosting Perspectives on Peace 2016: Education & Empowerment in the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Come join us at AC4, along with students, friends and colleagues from around campus, including the Morton Deutsch International Center on Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, the Masters Program in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and the Peace Education Network, a student group at Teachers College. This event is open to the public and will kick off with a networking session that will in the student lounge (AKA Everett Lounge) in the Main Building of Teachers College at Columbia University.

Panelists include:
  • Aline Sara, Founder and CEO of NaTakallam
  • Nada Elatter, Director of Global Social Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Street
  • Laura Doggett, Community Artist and Producer & Editor of Another Kind of Girl
  • Bruce Usher, Professor of Practice and The Elizabeth B. Strickler '86 and Mark T. Gallogly '86 Faculty Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School
Questions? Interesting in hosting a table during the networking session? 
Click here to learn more.

Interview with Cody Pope, AC4 Fellow 2011

Cody Pope, one the 2011 AC4 Graduate Fellows, works on political risk, policy analysis and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. He completed his Masters in International Security Policy and Conflict Resolution at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. As an AC4 fellow, he focused on foreign investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in the mining regions in the east and south-east, and today continues to focus on the nexus of development, conflict and conservation.

The Origins of My Interest in AC4
In my first post-undergraduate life, I was originally and briefly a mountain gorilla researcher. I worked with mountain gorillas in southwest Uganda near to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s border (DRC) in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This is the story I always tell, and that I actually told to get into Columbia, about how I became interested in conflict and conflict resolution. When I was there in 2007, several mountain gorillas were killed, culminating with a
massacre of four animals in July. In total, seven animals were killed in Virunga National Park in about two months; the park straddles the boards of Uganda, DRC, and Rwanda.

The incidents happened on the DRC side and it occurred when many of the world’s Mountain Gorilla researchers were near the parks for several meetings. It also happened only a few weeks after actress Natalie Portman had just finished filming a documentary on the Virunga Mountain Gorillas. All these events were somewhat unrelated, but helped amplify the newsworthiness of slaughter, bringing it to a worldwide audience. It made the cover of Newsweek in early August, into section A of the New York Times a few days after it happened, and was featured on the cover of National Geographic on the one-year anniversary of the slaughter. All this coverage happened in part, because there was so much attention on the area in the weeks leading up to the slaughter.

Long story long: the whole reason that the gorillas were killed, or at least one of the main reasons, was economics. At its heart, it was an extractive materials conflict centered on wood and charcoal, exacerbated by ethnic and regional tensions. At the time, there was charcoal wood going illegally into both Rwanda and Uganda to be burned for cooking. Rwanda and Uganda were rather complicit in this trade because they were actively protecting their national parks for tourism, so they don’t want to disrupt them.

I, as a researcher, used charcoal nearly everyday to cook and to boil clean water for drinking. Some of this charcoal came from very local sources, but most had been sourced from the DRC. And so the charcoal that I was using, in terms of trading hands, had been cut by someone working directly for the rebels that had killed the mountain gorillas, then given to a women who crossed the boarder into Uganda, then bought by someone locally and then used by me. So in terms of the line of consumerism, the link between the charcoal, the death of the gorillas, and me was very obvious. So I became interested in the idea of conflict, conservation and the extractive sector because of that.

My AC4 Project
In terms of AC4, my project was on the extractive sector and the conflict between the extractive sector and rural populations in southeastern Congo. This is essentially what I have gone on to do as a career. I have done it for both the conservation side and the extractive’s side. The AC4 experience transferred relatively directly into my career. It also gave me a lot of opportunities to network both during Columbia and through the project. At the time, 
Jean-Marie Guéhenno was the head of the conflict resolution specialization. He is also the former Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, so he had connections in the Congo that we used to start our project. Those became connections that I used later on in my work. I still talk with some of the people that I worked with during by AC4-sponsored field visit, such as Francesca Bomboko, who is very active in peace and reconciliation issues in DRC. These types of connections can open doors and help you understand your region of specialization in a new way.

Words of Advice
Words of advice to upcoming or potential AC4 scholars: I think it’s a great program. Obviously, I focused a lot on the conflict element of the 4 c’s – conflict is complex. It is a great opportunity to do independent research. The way that it was structured made it fairly liberal in how you could use your funds, which was very effective in giving you control on how to plan your trip. So, I was able to spend two weeks in the Congo, which was exactly what I wanted to do. I was able to combine my AC4 fellowship with several other different courses offered by SIPA, such as Conflict Assessment and Applied Peacebuilding. When you are applying for the fellowship, make sure that you have a good plan. Remember, it’s a good networking opportunity. Also, if you think you want to work with a company or organization in the future, then it’s a good way to know what they’re like and if they fit with your style of working.

Read the full interview (and see more photos) with Cody Pope here. This interview was conducted by AC4 Research Assistant, Alex James.

New student orientation on conflict resolution courses and advanced certificate opportunities at MD-ICCCR

Learn more about current opportunities at the new student orientation at the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution on Thursday, 9/29!

Thursday, 9/29 | 5:00-6:30pm 
232 Horace Mann Teachers College, Columbia University

For more information,
visit here.

Workshop, 9/30: Career Development for Conflict Resolution Professionals with Todd Drucker

Sept 30, 2016 | 9:30am
Faculty House at Columbia University

Finding a rewarding career path in the conflict resolution profession is rarely a straightforward endeavor. For those starting out, the prospect of finding ideal employment can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Similarly, for those in existing conflict resolution careers, learning how to shift gears to achieve greater career satisfaction (and success) can also be a challenge.

In this full-day workshop, led by Todd Drucker, Senior Practice Development Manager at JAMS and incoming President of the Association for Conflict Resolution – Greater New York Chapter (ACR-GNY), you’ll learn that the best career development path is defined by setting short-term and long-term goals, fighting adversity inside and outside of the workplace and learning how to pivot along the way. Attendees will walk away with accessible and actionable career-development tools and an increased awareness of potential paths to career satisfaction in the conflict resolution space.

Click here to register and learn more about the workshop. 


Grad Student Fellowship Opportunities

Read this year's fellows' Reflections from the field!

Are you a graduate student wanting to contribute to create solutions to current social and environmental challenges? Are you working on an interdisciplinary research project or want to go do fieldwork in the field of peace and conflict? Read the blog series from Graduate Fellows and learn more about the AC4 Fellowship program!  

The Fellowship Program brings together a mix of interdisciplinary graduate students from different schools around Columbia, who are conducting applied research projects related to peace-building and conflict resolution. This year's cohort of 12 students, includes a project that's looking at gang violence in El Salvador, from two students in the School of Professional Studies' Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program; 
a project focused on women peace-builders in Southeast Asia, from a student at the School of International and Public Affairs; as well as many others in various places around the world, including right here in the capital of the United States. Stay tuned for updates about this year's application process! For more information about the Fellowship Program, contact Meredith Smith.

Conversations from the Leading Edge Podcast and Radio Show with WKCR

Current episode explores the design thinking and pedagogical decisions involved in the construction of sites of public memory around historical moments, such as the Japanese American Internment, with Cathlin Goulding, one of the 2013 AC4 Graduate Fellows. Cathlin Goulding is a cultural researcher nearing completion of her doctorate at Teachers College, who has focused on two interrelated historical moments: the Japanese American Internment and the detainment of suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay Prison. In this conversation, she shares about Tule Lake, a part of northern California and the site of an original prison camp, showing how this public memory site, now a national landmark, can potentially cultivate meaning making not only of difficult pasts but also on debates of our own times.

Listen now on Soundcloud and subscribe on iTunes.

Professor Peter T. Coleman, AC4 Co-Executive Director and Professor of Psychology and Education and Director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR), has received the 2016 Outstanding Book Award from the International Association of Conflict Management (IACM) for Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

The award was presented at the annual meeting of IACM, held at Columbia University on June 26-29, 2016. Learn more here.

Job Opportunity!

Assistant Professor 
(Tenure-Track) in Negotiations and Conflict Management at the University of Baltimore

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