International Peace and Security Focus of MALAS Student's Summer Experience

September 25, 2015

In summer 2015, MALAS student Javier Astorga participated in the prestigious 2015 Bologna Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution, and Reconciliation, a program offered annually by the International Peace & Security Institute (IPSI), a branch of The Johns Hopkins University.

The program, organized in partnership with the School of Advanced International Studies in Italy, provides comprehensive training to carefully-selected global participants who have demonstrated outstanding current and prospective careers in peacebuilding and conflict management. The participants bring a truly global perspective to the topic at hand, coming from over thirty countries and with backgrounds ranging from academic institutions, NGOs, international organizations, grassroots peace movements, and the armed services.

According to Javier, the program was an eye-opening experience. Over the course of four weeks participants engage in intensive training led by the field's premier political leaders, academic experts, practitioners, and advocates. Thoughtful lecturing, instructive practices, and vivid simulations focus on topics such as negotiation/mediation, social entrepreneurship, diplomacy, conflict evolution, and trauma healing - all of which contribute to a unique perspective on the complexity of peace and conflict phenomena.

His participation in the program has contributed to provide him with essential understanding on the nature of social antagonism and a comprehensive insight of conflict settings, as well as a better grasp of the contentious human dilemmas raised in the aftermath of a violent confrontation, which connect to his in the Latin American Studies program by drawing on his master's second specialty on human rights - post-slavery societies, complicated borders, transitional justice -and his research project on conflicting political agencies in liminal areas of the state.

Javier's participation in the program was made possible through the financial support of the IPSI Board, the UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute, the Graduate & Professional Student Association, and the Office of Graduate Students.

In addition, Javier was recently awarded a LATINO/A Fellowship by El Centro de la Raza and the Graduate Resource Center. This award will further support his efforts to strengthen his professional and academic profile in preparation for a career as specialist in political violence, global health, and post-conflict transitions.