News

Relwar welcomes John Choo, a student at the University of Cambridge who has come to pursue research with us for the summer of 2015. His interests span the range of subjects covered by Relwar, and he will be concentrating in particular on methodology in empirical studies of religion and reconciliation, on comparative Chinese-Western approaches to morals in the art of war, and on military ethics education. John has conducted research for the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. He is a student of Human, Social and Political Science at Hughes Hall in the University of Cambridge, with particular interests in the study of politics and anthropology.

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Call for Paper Proposals and Participants

Chinese and Western Approaches to Military Ethics: Ethics Education, Decision Making and Scholastic Traditions

University of Edinburgh

Saturday 1 November 2015

Approaches to military ethics are undergoing review in Chinese and Western academies, faced with common or comparable problems: changes within the armed forces and within society; new educational, technological and professional demands placed on the military; and developing debates over the relationship between contemporary ethical initiatives and the intellectual resources offered by historic Chinese and Western just war theories.

Expanding contact through international operations, particularly for peacekeeping purposes, has lent further impetus to the drive for greater mutual understanding within both military and diplomatic institutions.

The academic literature comparing Chinese and Western approaches stretches from works suggesting great similarities to essays focused on perceived differences, historical, conceptual, political, and strategic.

This conference will bring Chinese, British, American and other academics together with non-academic interlocutors with specialist interests in comparing approaches to military ethics and to professional ethics education.

Academics with related specialisms are invited to submit paper proposals, including a 250-500 word summary of their proposed paper plus a C.V.  The deadline for proposals is 12 April 2015, though interested participants are advised to send proposals as early as possible. Please send proposals by email to george.wilkes@ed.ac.uk.

Papers may treat Chinese or Western contexts, or compare both. Papers may also directly address the dialogue between Chinese and Western perspectives, either insofar as Chinese and Western texts and models have historically been received and used in the respective militaries, or seen in terms of the current challenges faced in Chinese-Western dialogue on the topic.

The conference is co-hosted by The Project on Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace – http://relwar.org – and the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh – www.confuciusinstitute.ac.uk. The conference takes place in the context of an existing series of dialogues on the topic hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University.

The conference is free but the majority of speakers and participants who wish to attend will need to seek funding support for travel and accommodation (if required) from their own organisations or elsewhere.   In exceptional circumstances some funding support may be available from the conference organisers.

A conference website www.confuciusinstitute.ac.uk/mec will open in May 2015. This will provide the conference programme, general information on the conference, online registration for attendees and allow delegates to pre-book and pay for the optional conference dinner planned for the evening of Saturday 1st November.   

For further information please visit www.confuciusinstitute.ac.uk/MEC from mid May onwards.

Any questions?

Conference Programme/Call for Paper: George Wilkes george.wilkes@ed.ac.uk

Conference Admin Matters: Confucius Institute info@confuciusinstitute.ac.uk

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Preventing Atrocity Workshop: Reasons to Engage with the Religion and Ethics of the Other

25 stakeholders, practitioners and academics gathered in Edinburgh for a 2 day workshop focused on religious dimensions of civilian protection. Participants included staff from the UN, ICRC, HRW, Islamic Relief, Finn Church Aid, the British Army, DfID, and the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. Academics participating with specialisms relating to religion and atrocity prevention from across the UK and from a range of schools in the College of Humanities and Social Science. Follow-up plans and a full report will be posted asap. For more information, see http://wp.me/PguTB-ra.

Bosnia-Herzegovina survey results published

Project researcher publishes article on research in Pakistan

  • Beena Butool, a former researcher with the Relwar programme, has recently had an article published based on her research in the Federated Territories in Pakistan: “Pakistani Responses to AfPak Policy: Local Narratives and an Ending Global War?” Asian Survey, 2013, 53 (6): 1005-1036. Beena is now a doctoral student at Florida State University’s Department of Religious Studies, which has strong combination of faculty with interests in religion, ethics and just war theory. She previously taught courses on Ethics, International Relations and Philosophy at the University of Karachi and the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, and received her previous degrees from the University of Karachi and the University of Cambridge.

Other Events

  • On Wednesday 30 April 2014, Professor Nigel Biggar (Oxford) delivered a lecture on his new book: In Defence of War. A lively discussion with colleagues from Edinburgh ensued, with results likely to feature in a number of publications.
  • Future events are currently being planned for the project ‘Religion, Reconciliation and Trust-Building in Bosnia-Herzegovina’. The launch of the full report on the project’s second survey, accompanied by press meeting and stakeholder consultation, was held on 18 December 2013, Sarajevo. .
  • In preparation for a forthcoming seminar on Cross-Cultural Communication and Conflict Mediation, the Peace & Conflict Group has released an anonymous online survey, accessible at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HQLssbetQU55RRCVv9ErF49QHqKd_GZUqBRjVycrM3g/viewform.
  • Further meetings of the Peace and Conflict Group and of the Seminar on Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding are planned.
  • Future events to be held by the Edinburgh Peace Initiative [https://www.facebook.com/epiedinburghpeaceinitiative] include:
  1. Plans for the October conference of the Edinburgh Peace Initiative are underway. For further information, or to join the organising team, please contact george.wilkes@ed.ac.uk.
  2. Additional events in the series Listening and Non-Violent Communication: Tools for a Peacebuilding Community are to be staged, with facilitation from members of the Edinburgh Friends. The first workshops were held in spring and summer 2013.
  3. A series of EPI events was held as part of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace in August, including events on mediation, consensus decision-making, investment ethics and peacebuilding, and historical Quaker engagements with Islam. Details to be announced shortly.
  4. A series of further events, in early planning stages, will focus on challenges experienced in disadvantaged communities in Edinburgh.

Ongoing studies

  • Current scholarship at the Project includes work on the evaluation of military ethics education and of the role of military chaplains in ethics provision in a select group of NATO and non-NATO states, a survey of attitudes to a Truth and Reconciliation process in ten localities across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and research focusing on reconciliation, civil society and the public sphere, focusing on Bosnia and Herzegovina and on Serbia.
  • Annedore Wilmes has been awarded a consultancy to conduct research on ‘Cross-Cultural, Interreligious and Conflict Sensitive Ethics Programming’. Annedore has completed an M.Th. by research at the University of Edinburgh, with a dissertation exploring concepts of reconciliation held by Christians today. In her previous universities, Bayreuth and Münster in Germany, she studied theology, religious and cultural studies, and law. She has also conducted research on religion and reconciliation at the local level in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Public engagement

  • The Project has been awarded a Knowledge Exchange grant by the University of Edinburgh, to map practical research needs amongst organisations working in a variety of aspects of humanitarian affairs, defence, security and peace-building, or with material interests in those fields. We have been working to identify focal points for collaboration with potential partners in the NGO community, in business, and in both national and international institutions, and welcome engagement with new partners.

Networking

  • The Project Director is due to speak on responsible investment, religion and conflict as part of the University’s programme to develop new approaches to responsible investment.
  • In September 2014, the Project Director will speak about the work of the Bosnia research team in Edinburgh.
  • In June and July 2014, the Project Director spoke at international academic conferences on Jewish literature on the laws of war in Antwerp, Belgium, and on genocide prevention and memorialisation at Wroxton, Oxfordshire.
  • In May 2014, the Project Director spoke at academic-practitioner workshops on military ethics in Hong Kong and Germany.
  • On 17 November 2013, George Wilkes spoke at the Jewish Law Association conference in Berlin on ‘Teaching about Jewish Approaches to the Laws of War’.
  • Follow-up programming after the series of conferences in 2010 on ‘Pluralism in Crisis’ is being planned by a small network of academics in North America and in Europe. The Project on Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace is concentrating on research into the efficacy of ‘pluralistic’ approaches to reconciliation in conflict-prone societies after civil war, in the Former Yugoslavia, in Africa and in the Middle East.

Publications

  • In Religion, State and Society: Wilkes and Gutkowski, ‘Changing Chaplaincy: a Contribution to Debate over the Roles of US and British Military Chaplains in Afghanistan’.

Scholarships and internships

  • The Project welcomes student enquiries about gaining research experience. Joe Gayeski, Alissa Graff, Fasila Hanif and Charles Stainforth conducted Project research in 2012-13, and follow-on work continues in 2014. The Project’s interns for 2011 were Sally May, Deborah Rosenthal and Marcel Rother.

BISA

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