In Search of Reconciliation and Peace in Indonesia and East Timor

National University of Singapore : This workshop goes beyond a mere political approach to reconciliation and offers new understandings of cultural reconciliation processes and factors, which both facilitate and inhibit reconciliation in different cultures.

A number of Southeast Asian countries have been badly shaken in recent decades by religious, ethnic, social, political and economic conflicts. The search for reconciliation and peace is an important issue in the whole region. Promoting an interdisciplinary examination of one of the countries affected, Indonesia, this workshop goes beyond a mere political approach to reconciliation and offers new understandings of cultural reconciliation processes and factors, which both facilitate and inhibit reconciliation in different cultures. This will provide valuable insights not only for Indonesia, but for conflict situations much more broadly.

The issues of conflict, conflict resolution and reconciliation have been on the agenda for most of the second half of the twentieth century in general. The rise of the new media has transformed conflicts into global spectacles: images of conflicts from all over the world are brought right into the users' homes, be it on TV or the Internet, in the newspaper or on the radio. Images of conflict seem to be much easier to convey on these channels than images of reconciliation and peace. As we all know: only bad news is news. Recent conflicts in South Africa, Rwanda and East Timor have given rise to a reconciliation toolkit of truth commissions and law enforcement, justice and human rights, forgiveness and amnesty. These mechanisms are supposed to be the means not only to stop conflict and violence, but also to reconcile warring parties and create sustainable peace. Due to the often limited success of these approaches, people and organisations involved in developing conflict solving strategies have started to think about the integration of cultural factors into the reconciliation process. Kevin Avruch argues (1998) that no conflict can be understood and analysed, let alone sustainably solved, without taking its cultural context into account. The workshop therefore aims to go beyond seeing reconciliation as a purely political process by exploring its socio-cultural contexts and promoting a more ethnographic reading of the reconciliation processes.

A lot has been said and written about violent conflict in Indonesia, investigating its different dimensions across disciplines. Unfortunately, reconciliation has caught much less attention by academics. Debates on reconciliation in Indonesia focus on human rights issues, justice and law enforcement and are heavily influenced by international NGOs and agencies such as the UN. This workshop strives to fill major gaps in reconciliation studies by exploring the cultural dimension of reconciliation in general and its specific forms in Indonesia.

The workshop aims to invite scholars from different academic disciplines such as social anthropology, sociology, law, political science, history and others from Indonesia and abroad. We invite both empirical case studies based on original fieldwork and theoretical reflections to be presented at the workshop. The workshop will cover reconciliation issues that deal with conflicts on different scales, in different contexts, in different regions and in different phases of contemporary Indonesian history. The publication of selected papers of the workshop will make a unique and new contribution to understanding 'the other' dimension of reconciliation and different cultures of reconciliation.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

· Cultural approaches to conflict resolution and reconciliation
· Actors of reconciliation and different levels of reconciliation (government, local and international NGOs, media, religious organisations, grassroots organisations etc.)
· Traditional conflict resolution mechanisms
· Local narratives of reconciliation
· Reconciliation, public sphere and civil society
· Democratization, conflict and reconciliation
· Spatial or territorial dimensions of reconciliation
· Gender, ethnic and religious aspects of conflict and reconciliation
· Regional case studies (including those from East Timor)
· Comparative studies from beyond Indonesia


Admission is Free. Do register early as seats are available on a first come, first served basis. We would gratefully request that you RSVP to Ms Valerie Yeo at Tel: 6516 5279 or email: [email protected] indicating your name, email, designation, organisation/affiliation and contact number.


Dr Birgit Bräuchler ([email protected])
Dr Maribeth Erb ([email protected])
Dr Priyambudi Sulistiyanto ([email protected])
Dr Jamie Davidson ([email protected])

Ms Valerie Yeo ([email protected])
Asia Research Institute
National University of Singapore
469A Tower Block #10-01,
Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
Tel: (65) 6516 5279
Fax: (65) 6779 1428

Contact Person: Mdm YEO Ee Lin Valerie, Dr BRÄUCHLER Birgit
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

From 18 Jul 2007
Until 20 Jul 2007
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