ICTJ and UNICEF to Host Roundtable on Transitional Justice, Education, and Peacebuilding


Transitional justice practitioners, researchers, and educators will gather next week at ICTJ’s headquarters in New York to explore the connections between transitional justice and education in peacebuilding contexts.

The expert roundtable, to be held on October 21st and 22nd, is part of a collaboration between ICTJ's Research Unit and UNICEF seeking to develop innovative strategies to prevent recurrence of human rights abuses through education and children and youth participation.

The role that the relationship between education and transitional justice approaches can play in peacebuilding initiatives is often overlooked in the aftermath of armed conflict. Strategically coordinating the reconstruction of a country’s education system with the implementation of other transitional justice measures can help boost the legitimacy of democratic institutions and ultimately contribute to prevent a return to violence. A comprehensive focus on education can also contribute to reintegrate children and youth into the new social project and promote values of tolerance and peace through curricula. However, in order for these efforts to be successful, they must be sensitive to the legacies of past human rights abuses.

This will be the third roundtable ICTJ and UNICEF will hold as part of the project. The issues and ideas emerging from the dialogues will help frame a final report—to be released in March 2015—providing practical recommendations for policymakers, transitional justice practitioners and educators on how transitional justice can contribute to peacebuilding through education, and how to effectively engage children and young people in justice processes.

“While the intersection between transitional justice and education is rapidly gaining recognition among experts in both fields, proven strategies for interacting across sectors and critical points of intervention are still being identified,” said Clara Ramírez-Barat, Senior Associate from ICTJ’s Research Unit. “There is a need to create space to share lessons-learned, as well as ideas to inform further innovation, and this meeting aims precisely at creating such space.”

Some of the key issues to be discussed at the roundtable include education reconstruction after conflict, teaching the past from a transitional justice perspective, and the intersection of education and reparative justice. Participants include Christian Salazar, UNICEF's Deputy Director of Programmes; Marie Wilson, Commissioner of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Ibtihel Abdellatif, commissioner from Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission; María Andrea Rocha, researcher from Colombia’s Centro National de Memoria Histórica; Lili Cole, from the United States Institute of Peace; and Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Education at the University of Ulster.

The event is not open to the public, but ICTJ will be reporting live via Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #TJEducation and #learn4peace.