Peace-making in a world of conflict

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SCCR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 2020 - Peace-making in a world of conflict

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Here at Cyrenians Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution, we are holding a month-long, all-digital festival of FREE events in place of our annual conference. This exciting programme includes several internationally-renowned special guests. Please feel free to sign up to as many as you wish! This event on the 27th October is a discussion with Cyrenians CEO Ewan Aitken and UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow, Alison Phipps.

Ewan Aitken is CEO of Cyrenians, a charity tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness. Born in Dunfermline, Ewan has over 30 years’ experience working in the public and third sectors. Alongside his position at Cyrenians, he holds a number of roles, including: co-chair of the Edges of Care workgroup for the Independent Review of Care; member of the Scottish Governments Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans Delivery Group; member of the Regional Council of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Regional Deal. In 2018, he received the SCVO Charity Awards Leading Light Award.

Alison Phipps UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow and Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies. She is Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET). She was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Waikato University, Aotearoa New Zealand 2013-2016, Thinker in Residence at the EU Hawke Centre, University of South Australia in 2016, Visiting Professor at Auckland University of Technology, and Principal Investigator for AHRC Large Grant ‘Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the body, law and the state’ And now co-Director of the Global Challenge Research Fund South South Migration Hub. She is an academic, activist and published poet.

In this event, Ewan will be speaking with Alison about her work with people seeking sanctuary around the world, and ways she has found, through learning with communities, of turning differences into something to celebrate. He will discuss the central, and understandable role of fear in an encounter with something we do not readily understand, and how intercultural conflict transformation approaches help re frame conflict, aided by arts, and thoughtful, nuanced communication.

By talking to Alison and colleagues she hopes will – technology permitting – be able to join her on the call Ewan will draw us into a rich world of lived experience so we can better learn from those with long experience of living with conflict, not least from the Gaza strip and Zimbabwe. In particular the role of the arts and the role of languages in breaking the strangle holds of conflict, as well as re-casting difficult subjects which colonise mainstream understandings in particularly unhelpful ways will be a theme in the conversation. Alison and guest from Zimbabwe and The Occupied Palestinian Territories will use story telling to unpack complexity and focus on human dignity, showing how a story is both an anecdote and an antidote. The vaccination potential of the arts and well chosen words against viral fears will be a central themes of the conversation. The issues of conflict and poverty and oppression which lead people to seek asylum will them allow us to weave together stories in specific conflicts with the epic stories of exile, it’s experience and it’s transformation and it’s potency in human history.

This event will be delivered on the online platform Zoom. If you book on to the event you will be sent the details via email on how to join nearer the time to the event when bookings have closed.

Please note Zoom offers video capability so you can join with your webcam on, but this is entirely up to you and this option can be turned off. However we would love to see your faces and feel it is a more interactive experience with videos on.

You can browse our full programme of exciting conference events at our bespoke conference web page:

We hope to see you online soon!

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