Pearson Global Forum in Berlin to focus on deconstructing conflict

Renowned experts from politics, academia and civil society will gather Oct. 18-19 in Berlin for the Pearson Global Forum, entitled "Beyond Walls Deconstructing Conflict." Inspired by the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the forum will discuss lessons learned from the German experience and research-based solutions to help prevent, de-escalate and resolve current global conflicts.

The University of Chicago’s Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts will host the forum, near where the Berlin Wall used to divide the city. Keynote speakers including Markus Meckel, former foreign minister of the GDR; and Roland Jahn, acting Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records, will give first-hand insight into the political and social events of autumn 1989 and the lessons learned since then.

"The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts is dedicated to applying rigorous, evidence-based inquiry to the issues of peace and conflict," said Provost Daniel Diermeier. "The Pearson Institute seeks to contribute to a world more at peace through field-defining research, educating the next generation of policy scholars and leaders, and engaging the policy community in conversation through The Pearson Global Forum."

Berlin was chosen as this year’s venue because it offers a distinctive perspective on what can drive conflict, as well as factors that contribute to lasting peace and reunifying a society. The conference will address, among other topics, lessons from German reunification that might be applicable to current conflicts.

Looking beyond the German context, Feisal al-Istrabadi, former Deputy Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, will speak on state building in Iraq. Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian Mission in the United Kingdom; Stav Shaffir, Israeli politician and member of the Knesset; and peace activist and author Yousef Bashir, will give insight into the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine. The situation of minorities in China will be addressed by Sophie Richardson, China Director at Human Rights Watch; and by author Jewher Ilham.

"The purpose of this forum is to bring together international policymakers, academics and practitioners to ensure that we are working together to impact policy based on the best research of the day," said Prof. James Robinson, faculty director of the Pearson Institute. A renowned UChicago political scientist and economist, Robinson recently co-authored The Narrow Corridor , which examines the fundamental struggle between the state and society.

In 2015, the University announced the creation of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the Harris School of Public Policy, a first-of-its-kind research institute dedicated to applying rigorous, evidence-based inquiry to the issues of peace and conflict. The institute seeks to understand the complex causes and consequences of conflict by mobilizing the best minds and the most innovative tools and technology to drive new breakthroughs and understanding that informs policy and leads to a more peaceful world.

--Adapted from an article that first appeared on the Harris Public Policy website.

  • Complete program for the Pearson Global Forum


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