As the community prepares to remember the violence of the Sept.11th terrorist attacks, students and faculty will close discussions in a conference designed to highlight recent successes and challenges in conflict resolution.

“Students in part will get this lesson: Peace is not something that comes easily. It is something that we have to work toward,” said Fathali Moghaddam, director of the Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution program.

“From Conflict to Peace: Innovative Approaches to Peacebuilding,” which was organized jointly by the Conflict Resolution program and the Office of the President, is the first conference of its kind at Georgetown. Moghaddam said it has been extremely successful, with several hundred people registered.

“Conflict resolution is so well-matched to the Georgetown institution,” he said.

The conference was designed to highlight successes in recent peace-building, such as South Africa and Northern Ireland. Challenges in the Middle East also dominated conference discussions.

“It’s a very important time for the Middle East,” Moghaddam said. “We see opportunities coming, but we also see great dangers.”

Moghaddam said he hoped the conference’s success would draw more attention to the Conflict Resolution Program that opened its doors six years ago and now has 75 graduate students enrolled.

“One of our goals is to bring more students into conflict resolution,” Moghaddam said, adding that he especially wanted to raise awareness of opportunities for undergraduate students.

Students who helped organize the conference said they are especially excited for today’s speaker panel, which will feature students from Georgetown and around the world. Among the topics are a discussion on sports and peace and one featuring students from Queen’s University in Belfast who will discuss the Irish peace process based on their own experiences.

“It’s going to be very exciting to hear the results of very recent research in all these areas,” Amanda Munroe (GRD ’12) said.

Kaitlyn Allen (GRD ’12), who also helped organize the conference, said that the panelists like Robi Damelin — a widely known advocate and member of Parents Circle, which is an organization for bereaved Palestinian and Israeli parents — were the highlight of the conference for her.

“We’ve all studied her work, in essence,” Allen said.

Damelin, whose son was shot by a sniper while serving in the Israeli Army, said she thought it was important to engage in dialogue with those from opposing sides of an issue.

“On the contrary, I’m happy to talk to people who disagree with me because I feel it’s important to plant a seed,” she said. “We don’t have a monopoly on truth.”

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