Dan Serwer, Vice President for Peace and Stability Operations, discusses historical roots to the conflict in Kosovo.
Anne Henderson, Associate Academic Dean, College of Notre Dame, discusses competing versions of Kosovar history. On June 28, 1389, on the plains of Kosovo Polje, Serbia fought the most famous battle of its history. Amid competing and often contradictory versions of history, those who analyze the conflict in Kosovo face a difficult task. Both Orthodox Serbs and Muslim Albanians have lived in Kosovo since before 1389, and for this reason both have developed strong attachments to the land. In the debates and soul-searching following the Rwandan genocide, there has been little agreement over what exactly could have been done when and by whom.
A comprehensive analysis of the Rwandan genocide is outside the scope of this course; however, a first step in understanding any conflict is learning about its history.
Religious leaders involved in peacemaking can contribute in multiple ways to prevent, mediate and reduce conflict. Ensure that all parties involved are committed and have the authority to participate in an interfaith dialogue conflict resolution project.
Guarantee that there are adequate financial and staff resources that are shared by the interfaith dialogue community. Collect, manage, assess and analyze information that can assist the interfaith dialogue leadership team in the conflict.
Assemble a group of individuals who can brainstorm options and strategies as the situation changes. As appropriate, assist relief workers, civilians, military, peace monitors, politicians, international groups and law enforcement. It is not necessary for every exercise in interfaith dialogue to result in action, but to the extent that peacebuilding is an objective of the effort, participants should attempt to find tangible expression of the gains they have made in learning about the other, developing empathy, building relationships, and addressing justice issues. Conflict resolution workshop in Sudan, sponsored by USIP and the Sudan Inter-Religious Council.
Joint efforts might address long-standing community problems, such as attempts to improve public services. An example would be Jews in the Middle East helping to rebuild damaged mosques and Muslim cemeteries, and Muslims mourning Jews killed in political violence. When cross-boundary ties have been effectively forged, interfaith teams can be formed to enter situations of conflict and tension as peacemakers. Interfaith dialogue can help faith communities better understand each other and their shared histories and religious experiences. As members of different religious traditions become more knowledgeable of each other, they forge important bonds for peacemaking. Dialogue allows one to hear the wisdom of other religious, cultural and social perspectives and gain an insider's view.


These two examples show how faith-based conflict resolution efforts have helped to bring peace in two of the world's most difficult conflicts, one on a local level and the other on a national level.
In fact, there are many roles that faith-based communities can and do play in conflict resolution. A mosque in Virginia, USA, has been spray-painted with hate-inspired slogans, such as "terrorists" and "Islam is evil." The imam gathers the congregation for Friday prayers. Following the Israeli-Arab war in 1948 and the establishment of the State of Israel, Palestinians living in towns around Haifa and Tel Aviv were forced to move to refugee camps on the West Bank and Gaza.
How might the intense, lasting bitterness between Israeli Jews and both Muslim and Christian Palestinians be overcome? In Mozambique an extremely brutal civil war was waged for decades between the ruling FRELIMO party and the rebel RENAMO. In the face of this history can there be any chance for peace, reconciliation and the building of a single, unified country? These conflicts may have to do with economic and political power, with real and perceived injustices, or with disagreements over land, water, energy sources, and the like. Investigate the multiple ways in which the Abrahamic traditions have experienced the sacred.
Study together the teachings of the prophets and how these teachings became essential beliefs in the Abrahamic traditions. Study overlapping themes like creation, sin, repentance, the hereafter, compassion and hope.
On behalf of the Organizing Committee of the 3rd Asian Mediation Association Conference, I would like to sincerely thank you for being our honorable guest speaker in the Conference.
Your presentation was excellent and encouraged a lot of discussions amongst Conference participants on ways forward for developing mediation, and enhancing own skills in mediation practices as well.
Meeting people from a variety of backgrounds with a common interest in problem solving and mediation. Excellent specifics on how to handle a mediation, my role and responsibilities, felt free to express myself without judgment. Exactly 600 years later, at an outdoor assembly on the same battlefield, Serbian nationalist Slobodan Milosevic stirred up this memory, rallying Serbs behind his move to end the limited autonomy enjoyed by Kosovo's Albanians. A comprehensive study is outside the scope of this course; nevertheless, a few basic facts begin to explain some of the region's tensions.
In the early centuries, Serbs outnumbered Albanians; however, over time Serbs in search of a better life tended to move inward toward Belgrade, while Albanians tended to move northward into Kosovo.
Yet the international community did little in 1994 when extremists in the Rwandan government and their supporters conducted a brutal, systematic campaign to eliminate an entire people. However, on two points analysts generally concur: that individual nations, regional organizations and the international community need to be better prepared to prevent such catastrophes in the future, and that part of this preparation is attempting to understand what went wrong in Rwanda. Applying to this history terms and concepts from the curve of conflict yields a particular focus, a preliminary analysis tracing levels of potential or actual violence at key points in the conflict's timeline.


When two faith communities can come together to jointly adopt a justice agenda or jointly organize a service program, this is an effective means of improving interfaith relations and understanding, while providing tangible benefits to each. With insight into each other's religious traditions, faith communities can build relationships that seek to develop common interests. Faith-based peacemaking entirely depends on strong relationships that are built on trust, empathy, and care.
This perspective gives insight into the other's worldview and how important their faith is in daily matters.
We trust that the participants has benefitted greatly from your unique experiences and insights, leading to inspiring exchange of ideas. Barthel has shown a true commitment to successful student learning as well as a deep caring for individual achievement. Barthel has also advised several students in their desire to study abroad by giving them the necessary guidance to meet their particular needs. As a result, although Serbs still have greater numbers in the region as a whole, Albanians have since the end of the 18th Century been the majority in Kosovo. For the first 100 days, the rate of killing in Rwanda even exceeded that of the Nazi death camps. Authentic trust cannot be built without convincing demonstrations of empathy emanating from both sides. I hope you enjoyed the time and found the experience shared by others inspiring, enlightening and interesting. In their struggles against the Albanians, Serbian nationalists often conjured up the memory of the Battle of Kosovo.
Like many traditional memories used to justify conflict, this one has developed a significance quite apart from the actual events upon which it is based. In a small region with limited resources, the two communities have often struggled against one another, either on their own or as a part of wider events, such as the fighting in World Wars I and II. Barthel has taught both graduate and undergraduate students majoring in law, international relations, engineering and computer science. Barthel has been a very creative instructor and the students have benefitted from his unique teaching style.
Exhorting their supporters over the public airwaves and executing those who refused to go along, the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide churned up a nightmare, where the majority of victims were killed by machete, where streets and roads were piled with corpses, where women and children were killed in some cases by women and children. He is able to move from theory to practice seamlessly, and the students not only grasp the underlying principles, they are able to practice the everyday skills. Barthel has taught over 150 students in 5 semester long classes in both negotiation and mediation.




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