Monthly Archives: October 2013

2014 Annual International Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding

The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation is pleased to announce its 1st ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on Ethnic and Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding.

Theme: The Advantages of Ethnic & Religious Identity in Conflict Mediation and Peacebuilding


Venue: The Graduate Center, CUNY 365 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10016, USA

Date: Friday, October 3, 2014

Time: 9am – 5pm

To register, click here.

“Peace has a chance when despite history, despite politics, despite ethnicity or faith, and despite hardship, people learn to tap into their own cultural ethos of cooperation.” – Dr. Dianna Wuagneux 

Conference Synopsis

For our First Annual International Conference, we have chosen the theme: The Advantages of Ethnic & Religious Identity in Conflict Mediation and Peacebuilding. Too often, differences in ethnicity and faith traditions are seen as a drawback to the peace process. It is time to turn these assumptions around and rediscover the benefits that these differences offer. It is our contention that societies made up of an amalgamation of ethnicities and faith traditions offer largely unexploited assets to the policy makers, donor & humanitarian agencies, and mediation practitioners working to assist them.

It is the purpose of this conference to inspire new thinking, stimulate ideas, inquiry, and dialogue & share anecdotal and empirical accounts, which will introduce and support evidence of the numerous advantages that multi-ethnic & multi-faith populations offer to facilitate peace and advance social/economic well-being.

All peoples have within their histories and customs practices designed to improve the health and cohesion of the community. All have rites, rituals and beliefs that shore up and maintain adaptive social relationships that include mutual obligations and responsibilities. All have tenets, ethics and boundaries establishing what is right, what is just, and what is honorable, which govern interpersonal and business relations. Throughout time, it has been these personal and shared doctrines that have cultivated the cooperation and collaboration necessary to have a better quality of life, promote innovation, build economies, nurture the arts, as well as foster advances in science, medicine, technology, civil society, and law.

How can we identify and utilize the most beneficial aspects of these shared and individual beliefs, doctrines, principles and codes of conduct to mediate and mitigate conflict, stabilize relations, and move toward reconciliation between cultures and across borders?

Which practices offer the greatest promise of success, and how/where/when/ under what circumstances are they best applied? What are the advantages of diversity in ethnicity, religion and culture to improving & sustaining of economies? How do/can these contributions become tools for compromise, cooperation & reconciliation?

2014 ICERM 1st International Conference: Request for Proposals

Policymakers and donor agencies have fallen into the habit, especially during the last several decades, to look at ethnically and religiously diverse populations, especially when they occur in failed states or nations in transition, as being at a disadvantage. Too often, it is assumed that social conflict naturally occurs, or is exacerbated by these differences, without looking more deeply at these relationships.

ICERM invites papers for presentation and publication that support a shift from the focus on ethnic and religious differences and their disadvantages, to finding and utilizing the advantages of culturally diverse populations. The goal is to help one another discover and make the most of what these populations have to offer in terms of mitigating conflict, advancing peace, and strengthening economies for the betterment of all. Preferred papers will include modern examples with an emphasis on practical application.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should include an abstract not to exceed 800 words in length, which describes the substance of the paper in relation to conference theme, the title of the paper, biographies of the author(s), and any affiliated agency, organization, or institution. All proposals should be sent to the Conference Review Committee by email: Abstracts will undergo a double blind peer review. Accepted proposals will be notified by Friday, May 30, 2014. Accepted authors should submit complete papers by Monday, June 30, 2014. Accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. We look forward to reading your proposals.


To register for the ICERM 1st Annual International Conference, click here.



Upcoming Broadcasts Of ICERM Radio

We invite you to listen to our upcoming broadcasts on ICERM Radio.


ICERM Radio is growing, and many people are discovering us. Below are a few shows we have scheduled:

1. Reconciliation and Forgiveness after Deadly Violence: Transforming Tragedy and Trauma into Healing 

Join us for another edition of ICERM Radio. 
For this episode, we shall discuss “Reconciliation and Forgiveness after Deadly Violence: Transforming Tragedy and Trauma into Healing» with Dr. Ani Kalayjian, Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and President, Association for Trauma Outreach & Prevention.
Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 11 am in ET New York.

2. The Politics of Memory in the Great Lakes – Lecture Program by Emeritus Professor René Lemarchand

ICERM Radio invites you to its Lecture Program on The Politics of Memory in the Great Lakes;
Featuring René Lemarchand, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida.
Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 4 pm in ET New York.
This lecture will cover Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo, and will try to show how memorial phenomena (memory distorted, thwarted or falsified) continue to raise obstacles to peaceful co-existence in the region. In grappling with memorial issues, Prof. René Lemarchand draws heavily on Ricoeur’s insights. His magnum opus on memory is an important contribution.
3. The Technology of Nonviolence: Social Media and Violence Prevention 
ICERM Radio invites you to its Book Review Program on “The Technology of Nonviolence: Social Media and Violence Prevention”;
Featuring the author of the book, Joseph G. Bock, Ph.D., Director of Global Health Training at the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame.
Date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 7 pm in ET New York. 

4. Conflict Resolution in Africa – Role of the United Nations

ICERM Radio invites you to tune in for its Lecture Program on Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in Africa – The Role of the United Nations;
Featuring Ambassador Shola Jonathan Omoregie, Former Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Guinea-Bissau and Head of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS).
Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 2 pm in ET New York. 
Previous Episodes
You are also invited to listen to our most recent episodes:
Introducing ICERM Radio – A Global Peace Network – Wednesday 09-25-2013
The Citizen-To-Citizen Public Peace Process – Wednesday 10-16-2013
United in peace, we can make a difference in our world.

NEW EPISODE OF ICERM RADIO PROGRAM On The Citizen-To-Citizen Public Peace Process


The Citizen-To-Citizen Public Peace Process

Hosted on Wednesday, October 16 at 2:00 pm ET

New York, New York

If you missed this program, click on this link to listen to it.

You can also visit the ICERM website to listen to previous episodes.

Introduction and Background Information

Greetings, on behalf of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation, I want to welcome our listeners and guests from the United States and around the world to this episode of ICERM Radio. I am your host, Tziporah Pronman, broadcasting live from New York City. Today is Wednesday, October 16, and it is 2:05 pm Eastern Time.

For many years, questions related to ethnic, racial and religious identity were ignored in many parts of the world. Recently, accumulated evidence brings to light the negative impacts of violent conflicts between different ethnic, racial and religious groups. Today, some African, Asian, and Southeastern European countries, as well as countries in the Middle East and North Africa, are confronted with greater challenges to peace, stability, security and development. Despite all the efforts of the governments, sub-regional, regional and international organizations such as the United Nations, these countries suffer every day the harmful effects of ethnic, religious or sectarian conflicts. The histories of wars and violent conflicts in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Armenia,  and in several other countries of the world, have raised concerns that ethnic conflict, religious bigotry and sectarian violence can affect the prospects for peace, stability and economic growth. These countries, like many other countries in the world, are ethnically and religiously diverse; but unfortunately, the governments have not yet developed or found adequate and peaceful strategies to address the causes and effects of ethno-religious conflicts in order to prevent further deadly violence and massacres.

It is now time for ordinary people – men and women, young and old, rich and poor, citizens and non-citizens, immigrants and Diaspora groups, religious leaders and their members, students and teachers, business men and civil servants, professionals, experts and freelancers – it is time to stand up against ethnic and religious violence. It is time to say no to hate crimes, bigotry, terrorism, mass killings and silent genocide occurring everyday around the world in the name of religious, racial or ethnic supremacy.

History has taught us that ordinary citizens can heroically change the world through nonviolent and peaceful means. History will always remember Martin Luther King Jr, one of America’s most influential civil rights activists. His passionate, but non violent protests, helped to raise awareness of racial inequalities in America, leading to significant political change. « I have a dream, Martin Luther King Jr said, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

Also, the world will not forget Nelson Mandela, a South African activist who later became president after spending over 20 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid regime. What is remarkable about Mandela is not just his opposition to the apartheid regime, but his ability to move South Africa from segregation to unity, from conflict to reconciliation, from hurtful feelings or wounds to forgiveness and healing. “The time for the healing of the wounds has come, Nelson Mandela affirmed. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.” Despite being mistreated, Mandela was magnanimous in his dealing with his oppressors. His forgiving and tolerant attitude gained the respect of the whole South African nation and considerably eased the transition to a full democracy. According to Mandela, “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness. “

Another peaceful and nonviolent hero that history will always remember is Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nonviolence, who led nationwide campaigns in India for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, and above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.

Just like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and many other nonviolent heroes in human history, there are many people and organizations in countries around the world who are currently advocating for peace and an end to ethnic, racial, religious or sectarian violence. These peace advocates and organizations have something in common: they all wish; they wish they could prevent mass killings, bombings, wars, ethnic and religious violence, terrorist attacks and genocides.

They are not alone in their desire for a more peaceful resolution of conflicts. The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation also wishes; We wish that millions of people who have been brutally murdered in many countries around the world, including the unborn, children, women, and young people, were given the opportunity to enjoy the free gift of life they received from their creator. We wish; we wish that the victims of violent conflicts had lived in order to contribute to humanity and our world with their talents and skills. We wish; we wish that the ethnic, religious or sectarian militants could drop their weapons, come to the mediation table, talk about their differences, reach an agreement, and forgive one another. We wish; we wish that all ethnic, religious and sectarian groups could learn from the 200 to 300 Pakistani Muslims and Christians, who, on Sunday, October 6, 2013, stood hand in hand to form a human chain outside the St. Anthony’s Church in Lahore, Pakistan, as a sign of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack that occurred two weeks earlier – resulting in over 100 deaths. They stood shoulder to shoulder as part of the human chain to send a powerful message, “One Nation, One Blood; Many Faiths, One God.” According to the leader of the United Pakistan, Mohammad Jibran Nasir, “The terrorists showed us what they do on Sundays. Here we are showing them what we do on Sundays – we unite.”

We wish; we wish we could find our way back home, back to our inner being and rediscover the potentials, the wealth of solutions and capabilities embedded within which are needed for the resolution of conflicts. In the midst of so many distractions and allurements, accusations and blames, sufferings and violent conflicts, going back home to the innermost part of our being will help us rediscover the beauties and positive realities of nature that each person carries within, and the power and voice of the “soul-life” that gently speaks to us in silence. We wish; We wish we could find our way back to peace and harmony.

For a successful resolution of interethnic and interreligious conflicts, the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation places strong emphasis on open-hearted discussions in the spirit of give-and-take, reciprocity, mutual trust and good will. We believe that contentious issues have to be resolved privately and quietly, and complicated problems cannot be solved by simply holding violent demonstrations, riots, coups, wars, bombings, assassinations, and massacres or by headlines in the Press. “It is only through mutual discussion and good will that amicable settlement can be reached”.

This episode is therefore aimed at discussing how ordinary citizens can get involved in the public peace process. According to Dr. Harold Saunders, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, and Negotiator of the Camp David Accords, “There are some things only governments can do, such as negotiating binding agreements. But there are some things that only citizens outside government can do, such as changing human relationships.”

Many people “want” peace but not relationships. This cannot be, as defined in the 2012 award-winning documentary film — DIALOGUE IN NIGERIA: Muslims & Christians Creating Their Future. In the film, Nigerian Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba defined that the greatest killer of people and creativity — and cause of wars — is not HIV but HRV — Human Relationship Deficiency Virus. Ivorgba defined the root cause of most human crises as rooted in a Poverty of Relationships and a famine of communication skills.

Everyone wants to be heard, yet people are far less interested in listening. The quality of listening around the planet is poor.

Fortunately there is on Earth a new breed of young adult citizens who refuse to be enemies and insist on engaging. These new Artisans of Communication have the will and skill to listen which gives them the power to transform human relationships and re-direct history.

With our guests, we shall discuss these communication skills that begin at home and affect families, schools, businesses, and the birth of a true, sustainable global community of cooperation. Included will be universal principles of Change itself — what works and what doesn’t in real, everyday human activity around Earth.

Joining me today from California to talk about “The Citizen-To-Citizen Public Peace Processare Libby and Len Traubman.

Libby Traubman, a retired clinical social worker, helped organize the 1991 Beyond War conference for Israeli and Palestinian citizen-leaders resulting in a historic signed document, Framework For A Public Peace Process. She co-produced three films modeling a new quality of listening and communication – Peacemakers: Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp, Dialogue at Washington High, and Crossing Lines in Fresno. For her community service and global influence, Libby was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame.

Len Traubman co-founded with Libby the 21-year-old Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue of San Mateo preparing for its 258th meeting. For 30 years he has helped bring “enemies” together and has published on successful public peace processes from personal experience with Soviets and Americans, Armenians and Azerbaijanis, Jews and Palestinians, and most recently Muslim and Christian Nigerians. He co-produced the 2012 documentary, DIALOGUE IN NIGERIA: Muslims & Christians Creating Their Future, and in 2013, DOZOS-GUERRE TRIBAL HEALING IN COTE D’IVOIRE.  A retired pediatric dentist, Len was the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus of the University of California School of Dentistry.

Libby and Len, married for 46 years, live in San Mateo, California, USA.  They are parents to a daughter and son, and grandparents to two boys and a girl.