Smithey Explores Conflict Transformation in Award-Winning Book

In his new book Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland, Associate Professor of Sociology Lee Smithey discusses how grassroots movements have transformed the conflicts in Northern Ireland. The book, which launched earlier this month at the Parliament Buildings of the Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont, recently received  the Donald Murphy Book Prize for Distinguished First Book by the American Conference for Irish Studies.

In an interview at the Stormont launch, Smithey discusses his inspiration for the book. A second launch event, also with audio, took place at No Alibis Bookstore in Belfast.

Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland draws attention to the ins and outs of how peace and conflict are being navigated at grassroots levels among Protestants who deeply value their identities as unionists and loyalists and want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom,” Smithey says. “Many of the ways they have publicly expressed their collective identities, such as parades, bonfires, and murals, remain contentious today, but increasingly, attempts are being made to make those practices less disconcerting outside of unionism and loyalism, even if the practices are not abandoned. The implications for how ethnopolitical identities can also become less exclusive in the process lie at the heart of the book.”

Smithey coordinates Swarthmore’s Peace and Conflict Studies program and teaches about social movements and nonviolent conflict resolution. He also contributed to the  development of     a study abroad program in Northern Ireland with an emphasis on peace and conflict resolution. The program allows students to take graduate level coursework in Northern Ireland while interning with grassroots organizations involved in the peace-building process.

Smithey is currently working on a mural mapping project with Professor Greg Maney of Hofstra University. The pair walk every street of Belfast in Northern Ireland every two years to document the murals in order to analyze the shifting contents and themes of the murals in the various neighborhoods. He’s also working on a book with Professor Lester Kurtz of George Mason University on the paradox of repression, with a focus on nonviolent resistance.

Ian Kysel ’04 on Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union

Ian Kysel ’04 will speak on Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union

Tuesday, March 27, 2012; 5:30pm in Science Center room 183 at Swarthmore College

Ian Kysel is the Aryeh Neier Fellow with Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union where he focuses on the solitary confinement of youth held in jails and prisons in the United States. He is also a volunteer with the International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative, of which he was formerly a co-coordinator. While a law student at Georgetown, Ian worked with the Georgetown Center for Applied Legal Studies, the United States Department of State Office of the Legal Adviser, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Amnesty International USA and Shearman & Sterling, LLP.

Prior to law school, Ian worked with non-citizens seeking asylum in the United States at Bromberg, Kohler Maya & Maschler, PLLC and lived in both Moscow and Algiers. Ian received a B.A. with high honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from Swarthmore College in 2004, where he was a member of Sixteen Feet and helped create a pilot Outdoor Orientation Program with Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges, and received a J.D., magna cum laude, with a Certificate in Refugees & Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center in 2011, where he was a Global Law Scholar, recipient of the Bettina E. Pruckmayr Memorial Award and an Articles Editor of the Georgetown Journal of International Law.

Sponsor: Career Services

Peace and Protest: Nigerian Civil War Activism and the 1960s Milieu

“Peace and Protest: Nigerian Civil War Activism and the 1960s Milieu”

A Lecture by Brian McNeil

(University of Texas, at Austin, 2010 Moore Fellow)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

7:00 p.m.

Keith Room, Lang Center for Social Change

Swarthmore College

Co-sponsored by the Friends Historical Library and the Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Prof. Dominic Tierney Launches Iran War Clock

It’s 10 Minutes to Midnight: Political Scientist Dominic Tierney Launches Iran War Clock

by Susan Clarey


[original post from Swarthmore College News and Information]

Iran clock Three students – Jonathan Emont ’12, Lorand Laskai ’13, and James Mao ’12 – provided essential research assistance. recently launched The Iran War Clock created and directed by Dominic Tierney, associate professor of political science.

Drawing together a panel of 22 high-profile experts from the worlds of policy, academia, and journalism, The Iran War Clock reflects the average of each contributor’s estimate that war will break out in Iran in the next year.  Based on this number, the Clock is adjusted so that the hand moves closer to, or further away from, midnight.

The aim of the project is to estimate the chances of war while producing a more informed debate on this highly-charged subject.

“Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Iran War Clock is correct in March 2012 and there’s roughly a 50/50 chance of war,” Tierney explains. “Americans need to have an accurate view of this reality. If they wrongly thought there was just a 1 percent chance of conflict it could be dangerous. And if Americans misperceived and felt there was a 99 percent chance of war, this could also be hazardous.

“When you approach the cliff edge,” he says, “you need to know how far away the precipice is.”

In a Sunday interview with MSNBC’S Alex Witt, Tierney discussed what he called the “dream team” of panelists working on The Iran War Clock and explained the methodology behind it.

Three students provided research assistance: Jonathan Emont ’12, an Honors history major and political science minor from Ridgewood, N.J.; Lorand Laskai ’13, an Honors political science major and a course history major from Berkely Heights, N.J.; and James Mao ’12, an Honors political science major and economics minor with a course major in economics, from Beijing, People’s Republic of China.


Bayard Rustin, Angelic Trouble Maker?

Bayard Rustin, Angelic Trouble Maker?

Film Screening of Brother Outsider

Followed by discussion with Filmmaker Harold Weaver

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

4:30 p.m.

Science Center 199

Swarthmore College

A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence.

Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. Five years in the making and the winner of numerous awards, /Brother Outsider /presents a feature-length documentary portrait, focusing on Rustin’s activism for peace, racial equality, economic justice and human rights.

You are invited to a special screening of /Brother Outsider/ which will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker, Harold Weaver.

Dr. Harold Weaver is a Non-Resident Fellow, Du Bois Research Institute, Harvard University. He is also a filmmaker and principal curator of “The China Project,” “The Black Quaker Project” and “The Black Film Project.” Co-editor of the 2011 anthology,/ Black Fire: African American Quakers On Spirituality And Human Rights/, Dr. Weaver taught the first course on African cinema in the United States at Rutgers University in 1972.

This event is free and open to the public.

Organized by Sociology and Anthropology, and Black Studies. Funding provided by many programs and departments.

Woman, Man, and God in Modern Islam

Award-winning historian and former Swarthmore College president Theodore “Dorie” Friend will discuss his recently published book Woman, Man, and God in Modern Islam on Tues., Mar. 13, 2012, at 4:30 p.m. in the Scheuer Room of Kohlberg Hall on the Swarthmore College campus. The event is free and open to the public.

In Woman, Man, and God in Modern Islam, Friend recounts his journeys across Asia and the Middle East on a quest to understand firsthand the life situations of women in Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey. Commingling a deep respect for Islam and his own faith in the potential of women to change their worlds, Friend presents a revealing outsider’s perspective on women in five very different Islamic cultures.
Friend, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, served as Swarthmore’s 11th president, from 1973-1982. While at Swarthmore, Friend worked to increase minority enrollments, faculty involvement in setting policies, and student participation in standing College committees. During his tenure, he also established the Black Studies program, introduced Chinese language courses, and sought to address women’s concerns. Friend later served as president of Eisenhower Fellowships for 12 years.
Friend is also the author of Indonesian Destinies (2003) and Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929-1946 (1965), which won the Bancroft Prize in American History, Foreign Policy, and Diplomacy.
A question-and-answer period and reception will follow. The lecture is sponsored by the Departments of History, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology and Anthropology; the Gender and Sexuality Studies, Islamic Studies, and Peace and Conflict Studies Programs; and the President’s Office.
For additional information, please contact Anna Everetts at (610) 328-7750.

The Future of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Role of the United States in Resolving It

The Future of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Role of the United States in Resolving It, a talk by Norman Finkelstein

Wednesday, 3/14/12

4:30 p.m.

Science Center 101

Norman Finkelstein is a political scientist, activist and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the

politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who are Jewish Holocaust survivors. He is a graduate of

Binghamton University and received his Ph.D in Political Science from Princeton University. He has held faculty positions at Brooklyn College,

Rutgers University, Hunter College, New York University, and, most recently, DePaul University.

Engaging Peace Conference @ Arcadia

Announcing the “Engaging Peace” Conference, a collaborative event offered by Arcadia University and The Peace Center.

Friday, March 23 – Saturday, March 24, 2012

Check-in opens 5:00 PM Friday evening and Saturday morning at 7:30 AM.

Arcadia University

450 S. Easton Rd.

Glenside, PA 19038

(Greater Philadelphia Area)

For detailed information & to register:

Registration is open to both students and the general public. Students (high school, undergraduate, & graduate) attend for free. Non-student registration = $75. Registration closes Friday, March 16, 2012. For more information please visit our website at:

One Year through the Egyptian Revolution

Egyptian activists Ahmed Salah and Mahitab Elgilani shared their experiences in planning and participating in the Egyptian Revolution with the Swarthmore community on February 20, 2012. They spoke about the challenges and successes they have had in the January 2011 protests in Tahrir Square.

“There have been many groups [that have made] an impossible movement possible,” says Salah of the coalition behind the revolution which began in 2011. Salah described the strategy for motivating mass engagement among Egyptians of all ages. He asked himself, “Maybe we can solve the problem of people not being in the street, by giving the illusion there are already people in the street?” Thus, rather than begin protests in large places, then, Salah says the first protests were in back alleys and smaller streets. As the crowds wound through the smaller streets, they attracted more people, and moved to larger avenues. Thus, the movement grew exponentially.

Introducing Mahitab Elgilani, Salah referred to her as the movement’s “cover girl,” because her visible enthusiasm during protests often attracts the attention of photographers. Elgilani reported that protesters have faced physical violence and chemical weapons, some of which are made in the United States. At other times, protesters have received poisoned food. She said, “Despite all this the Egyptian Revolution, since January 25th, has remained nonviolent.” She continued, “Every time a martyr falls, it creates a wave in the streets which causes hundreds more to come down for justice.”

Salah encouraged the audience to write to their congressional representatives and ask that the US government stop allowing the Egyptian military’s money into the country. “You can do a lot,” Salah tells students in closing. “Politicians need to be reelected…if you write emails to your representatives in the Congress, in the White House, this may work.”

Salah, an Egyptian Revolutionary, was the executive director of The House of New Future Center for Legal and Human Rights Studies in Egypt and works as a freelance translator on the side.  Salah was one of the co-founders of the Kifaya Movement (the Egyptian Movement for Change) in 2004 and remained a member of the Coordinators Council of Kifaya until mid-2008. He led the first, and only, youth movement in Egypt during the years 2005-2006, called Youth for Change.  In addition, he is also the co-founder, strategist, ideologist, and foreign affairs representative of the April 6 Youth Movement, which launched in August 2008 until November 2010. In these capacities, Salah was able to coordinate political activists to stand in opposition to the Mubarak regime and served as a principle organizer for the January 25th revolution.  At present, he is working hard to create democratic representation from across Egypt, and to continue with the Egyptian Revolution until its complete success, serving as the head of The Coalition of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.

The non-violent struggle for democracy in Egypt continues.