Monday, September 19, 2016

How can peace build technology?

Very excited to be part of the Unusual Suspects Festival taking part in Northern Ireland.

  • Wednesday, 12th October 2016 at 2:00pm to 4:00pm
  • The Nerve Centre at 7-8 Magazine Street Derry BT48 6HJ 

How can technology help develop connections between people and places? What’s the role of digital platforms in divided societies? Join us for an innovative and interactive session exploring how technology can be used to boost and create peacebuilding, or #PeaceTech.

 Speakers include #PeaceTech innovators:

  • Melissa Mbugua, the Innovation Engagement Officer from Ushahidi, the Kenyan crowdmapping platform that’s been used in Kenya after the election violence in 2008, Syria and across the world. 
  • Jen Gaskel, the co-founder of the Build Peace international conference, which aims to explore technologies as a means of enhancing the impact of peacebuilding initiatives, as well as bringing together local and international thought-leader and activists to re-think approaches 
  • Brandon Hamber, the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair based at the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University, which through a combination of research, education and comparative analysis, addresses the causes and consequences of conflict in Northern Ireland and internationally. They also aim to promote conflict resolution management strategies.
  • Enda Young, the co-founder, of Transformative Connections, which focuses on the role technology in promoting peacebuilding and positive social change. Their mission is to create and support real and lasting connections between people and practice.

The Innovation Peace Labs, a new initiative created by the Ulster University, will host the session, alongside the Nerve Centre, Transformative Connections and other international partners.

To register click here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Handbook: “Transforming War Related Identities”

It has been a great privilege for to write the lead article for the Berghof Handbook Dialogue series entitled “Transforming War Related Identities”

The series explores the question of how individuals and collectives can come to terms with war memories or trauma after mass atrocities is crucial for framing post-war relationships. But how do the processes on different levels (individual and collective) and diverse dimensions of identity formation relate to each other? How to deal with trans-generational legacies of violence? How can the needs of the victims be served in an appropriate way, and how to address “cultures of victimhood” that stem from past violence?

These questions are discussed by scholars and practitioners, peace activists, psychologists and social scientists in Berghof Handbook Dialogue 11 (ed. by Beatrix Austin & Martina Fischer).

The following contributions are available on our website:
My contribution  analyses diverse approaches for dealing with painful memories and discusses how different dimensions (interpersonal and intergroup relations, individual and collective memories and identities) relate to one another. The chapter builds on experiences from South Africa and Northern Ireland, where Hamber chairs the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University. We asked scholar-practitioners from other contexts to comment on his thoughts. Olivera Simic (Griffith University, Brisbane) and David Becker (Free University, Berlin) focus on working with trauma and reflect on experiences in coping with painful memories in the Balkans. Andrea Zemskov-Züge (Berghof Foundation) brings in examples from the Caucasus (Georgia/Abkhazia) and Undine Whande’s text makes reference to South Africa and to experiences from Germany in dealing with the legacies of the second world war.

You can also purchase the hard copy from Berghof and it includes my response to the above articles, visit here.

This Handbook Dialogue is dedicated to Dan Bar-On, who spent most of his life reflecting on practical approaches for dealing with the past and exploring how people whose lives and identities have been shattered by violence come to live a decent life again.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dealing with the Past Course for Professionals

Schloss Münchweiler in Switzerland the venue for the training
It was great in July to team up once again with Alistair Little (Beyond Walls) to teach on the The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and swisspeace course entitled Dealing with the Past Advanced Learning Course for Professionals.

The course according to the organisers addresses a range of topics which are central to the development of a holistic approach to Dealing with the Past (DwP) and to the implementation of relevant mechanisms for dealing with prior and on-going grave human rights violations. Special attention is paid to case studies, to a gender based approach, to the need to integrate dealing with the past in the negotiation of peace agreements, as well as in the post conflict efforts.

In 2016 the course took place in Switzerland, 5 - 13 July 2016. Alistair and I taught a two day session on dealing with victim-perpetrator issues in post-conflict societies, reconciliation and dealing with the past.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Documentation, Human Rights and Transitional Justice

Special Issue of Human Rights Practice (2016, 8, 1) now out focusing on "Documentation, Human Rights and Transitional Justice".

Edited by Elisabeth Baumgartner (swisspeace), Brandon Hamber (INCORE), Briony Jones (swisspeace), Gráinne Kelly (INCORE), and Ingrid Oliveira (swisspeace).

The Special Edition can be viewed here:


  • Documentation, Human Rights and Transitional Justice by Elisabeth Baumgartner, Brandon Hamber, Briony Jones, Gráinne Kelly, and Ingrid Oliveira
  • Truth Commission Archives as ‘New Democratic Spaces’ by Briony Jones and Ingrid Oliveira
  • Practice, Power and Inertia: Personal Narrative, Archives and Dealing with the Past in Northern Ireland by Brandon Hamber and Gráinne Kelly (email for a copy)
  • The Archive as Confessional: The Role of Video Testimony in Understanding and Remorse by Juliet Brough Rogers
  • Arrested Truth: Transitional Justice and the Politics of Remembrance in Kosovo by Gëzim Visoka
  • Truth, Evidence, Truth: The Deployment of Testimony, Archives and Technical Data in Domestic Human Rights Trials by Daniela Accatino and Cath Collins
  • Tensions in UN Information Management: Security, Data and Human Rights Monitoring in Darfur, Sudan by Róisín Read

Policy and Practice Note

  • Official Victims’ Registries: A Tool for the Recognition of Human Rights Violations by Jairo Rivas

Monday, June 6, 2016

Visit to Northern Uganda

I had an incredible trip to Uganda in late May and early June at the invitation of the Refugee Law Project. In May the Chair travelled to Uganda. I primarily participated in The Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) an annual event established in 2010, by the Refugee Law Project (RLP) with financial support by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).

The event aims at bringing together African practitioners and researchers to enhance practice and theory on the continent. Some 7 participants, from ten different countries, including Spain, England, Northern Ireland, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Germany, United States of America and host country Uganda attended.

I gave the keynote address at the conference which focused on theme "Too little too late - or too much too soon?- The Time and Timing of Transitional Justice”. The 6th IATJ was held in Gulu from 29th May to 3rd June 2016, and it was fantastic to be in Gulu and see the developments that have taken place. The event provided an important opportunity to better understand the long-term aftermath of the war that ostensibly ended in 2008.

On visiting some local communities in Northern Uganda it was clear that the issue of dealing with the disappeared, memories of the conflict and displacement, the consequences of physical and community destruction of resources, ongoing distrust of the current government to support local communities, and inter-community trust remain key issues.

Most impressive was the local mourning rituals that have been developed around dealing with the disappeared, work with male victims of sexual violence and also the Refugee Law Projects work in the new The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC).

I hope to continue to work with groups and individuals in developing work in Uganda in the coming years. 

Hut for the disappeared
Planting a tree for the disappeared
Memories inside the hut
The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC) 
Exhibit in NMDPC


Monday, April 25, 2016

John J Sweeney Scholarship at Ulster University

I am very proud to have been involved in the efforts of Ulster University and AFL/CIO in the establishment The John J Sweeney Scholarship. The John J Sweeney Scholarship at Ulster University’s International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) is now open for applications for our MSc Applied Peace and Conflict Studies programme. The deadline for applications is 31 May 2016, midnight. This is the second year of this scholarship which is supported by the AFL-CIO.

For more details click here.

Ulster University presents the INCORE Global Peace and Social Justice to AFL-CIO President Emeritus John J Sweeney, Washington, July 2014. L-R: Professor Brandon Hamber, Director of INCORE, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Hugh McKenna, AFL-CIO President Emeritus John J Sweeney, Eddie Friel, Director of Development and Alumni Relations Ulster University