Module Three: SUSTAINING PEACE

This module critically assesses and explores a society’s transition out of violent conflict. It addresses the question of what it means to be a “post-conflict” society and its implications for peace work and transformation.

This module utilises the ACTS Programme’s local grounding and resources in Cambodia as an in-depth case study to understand the country’s transformative journey from violent conflict, genocide and civil war towards peace. Issues to be addressed include how a society heals from the wounds of conflict, what role trauma plays in the healing process and what a peace worker needs to understand about trauma to be most effective and sensitive in their work. The ACTS programme recognizes the important role of the variety of processes necessary to build a society anew after horrendous experiences of violent conflict. Cambodia serves as a insightful and relevant case study for the examination of mechanisms for handling election violence, peace processes, the role of justice (retributive and restorative), cultural models of reconciliation, the role of collective memory in conflict and healing as well as the establishment of peace museums to help in the process of preserving memory and healing from conflict.

With Cambodia as a base case study, the module will also examine other experiences of normalization after conflict in the region. These comparisons will examine many different mechanism used to connect the military and armed groups in the peace process. Of particular importance is the notion of reconciliation and justice in post-conflict contexts, especially the role of collective memory, history, trauma, and healing in these post-conflict contexts. Through the study of multiple cases, larger lessons learned in regards to normalization and the shared responsibility of the past after conflict and indicators of success will be extrapolated, grounded in experience, and critiqued.

Throughout this module, students will also finalise their Action Research proposals, and design their research cycles. Students will also continue their reflections on leadership through the transformative peace leadership component of the programme.

Module Three Objectives:

  • Gain a deeper and nuanced understanding of Cambodia’s journey from conflict towards a more stable peace and identifying the elements of change in Cambodia.
  • Identify critical issues & dilemmas in sustaining peace, and relate these actively to the student’s own situations and, where possible, their practice.
  • Understand the importance of history and memory in the path to healing, justice, and future peace.
  • Develop the final draft of the Action Research Proposal, and make adequate preparations for beginning research.
  • Further explore personal leadership as a core component of peace practice.

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