Melbourne-backed bid for global reconciliation - RMIT newsroom

30 September, 2009

An international summit bringing together more than 300 reconciliation experts from around the world to tackle global cultural, racial, religious and political difference will be launched at RMIT University this week.

The launch of the Pathways to Reconciliation Summit at RMIT Storey Hall at 5.30pm on Thursday, 1 October, will include the inauguration of the Global Reconciliation Desmond Tutu Fellowships and a performance by the gifted and inspiring artist, Archie Roach.

Supported by HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan, RMIT and Monash University, the Pathways to Reconciliation Summitwill be held in Amman, Jordan, in December.

Professor Paul James, summit co-convenor and Director of RMIT Global Cities Research Institute, said the event was a response to the paradox that global political violence and insecurity was intensifying despite the expansion of security regimes and other short-term solutions.

“We need alternative pathways to peace, pathways which emphasise informal reconciliation processes operating beneath the radar of conventional regimes,” Professor James said.

Professor Paul Komesaroff, summit co-convenor and Director of the Monash Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society, said the summit followed reconciliation events in Melbourne, London, New Delhi, Sarajevo and Amman.

“The summit begins from the premise that reconciliation is a complex process that requires more than apologies and mutual recognition, and more than state-organised forums for truth-telling,” Professor Komesaroff said.

“We want a broader practice of reconciliation involving local projects that bring estranged and suspicious peoples together to do something that is socially beneficial across the boundaries of their pain and enmity.”

Summit themes include health and medicine, arts and culture, money and livelihoods, spirituality and celebration, education and learning and sport and recreation.

The summit will introduce the Living Archive, a resource for learning about exemplary grass-roots reconciliation.

The Pathways to Reconciliation Summit patrons include Sir William Deane, Dr Lowitja O’Donaghue, the Reverend Desmond Tutu, Aung San Suu Kyi, President Jose Ramos-Horta, Professor Bernard Lown, and Professor Amartya Sen. The summit will be held in Amman from 14 to 17 December, 2009.

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