Program on Conflict Zones Provokes Emotional Discussion

Posted: September 15, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

A crowded roomful of Mason students and faculty in Student Union Building II yesterday proved once again just how diverse George Mason University really is.

Standing before people of all different ages, majors and backgrounds, Alma Jadallah, MAIS ’96 and PhD Conflict Analysis and Resolution ’06, led a discussion on conflict zones and war-stricken communities that allowed people to tell their stories and experiences in an empathetic setting.

Alma Jaddallah Jones
Alma Jadallah led the discussion on conflict zones.
Photo by Evan Cantwell

Haiti, Rwanda, India, Vietnam – students and faculty members spoke up about the places around the globe they had either visited or lived in during times of conflict. The group also broke into smaller discussion groups to talk about their personal experiences.

“It brings out emotions you didn’t want to think about, but it’s also good to talk about it,” said one student about telling her story and listening to others.

Areas such as Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt were mentioned, as well as events such as Sept. 11, 2001. Students pointed out some of the things both internally and externally that people in conflict zones experience, including hatred, murder, insecurity, poverty and environmental damage.

“We planned this event because we knew that a number of students had been in conflict areas this summer and might have experienced some difficult situations,” said Susan Hirsch, program director for the undergraduate Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution Program. “The Conflict Analysis and Resolution Program wanted to provide a space for them to express their stories.”

Facilitators were on hand to help create a productive discussion. Similar events will be planned in the future.

“We are hoping that this event will lead into a series of dialogues that will help students deal with these experiences and with any tensions on campus,” said Hirsch.

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