"Peace: The Prelude & Aftermath of War"
Principal Investigator & Managing Editor: Gary Knight (VII Association, The Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice, The Institute for Gobal Leadership, Tufts University)
Project Authors: Gary Knight with Ron Haviv
There is a story, believed to be of Cherokee origin, in which a girl is troubled by a recurring dream in which two wolves fight viciously. Seeking an explanation, she goes to her grandfather, highly regarded for his wisdom, who explains that there are two forces within each of us, struggling for supremacy, one embodying peace and the other, war. At this, the girl is even more distressed, and asks her grandfather who wins. His answer: "The one you feed." Professor David P. Barash, 2013.
One hundred years ago church bells peeled across Europe to mark the beginning of a war. It was a war that was unlike any other and it would define the century that followed it. The grinding slaughter of men was so terrible and so total it was called the Great War, the war to end all wars.
That war gave birth to a peace so flawed in its approach and its implementation that it would soon unravel and lead to an even deadlier World War. The peace treaty to end World War II would be more lasting and more effective, but it would divide the world East and West and produce a Cold War with new battle lines and insurgencies and demands for independence.
Evolutionary biologists and moral philosophers have long argued whether man is predisposed to warfare or reconciliation and coöperation. As the end of the most violent century in human history gave way to the 21st Century that argument still raged, but the evidence shows us that the peace we make we can’t keep and it often seeds the next war. Why? And how do we change the course of that history?
Does lasting peace emerge from political leadership or is it the will of the people that pushes a society toward reconciliation? Are the ideas of justice and long lasting peace compatible or in conflict with each other? As the US and its allies withdraw from the first two wars of the 21st century, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, why is the idea of peace not even on the table? And as the world stands poised to seek a way out of the violent conflict in Syria, can the idea of peace be something around which the international community can unite. Or is peace so tarnished by the past that it is no longer a productive term?
South African Anti Apartheid activist Paul van Zyk writes that "Societies do not have the luxury of not dealing with their past. If not dealt with pro-actively, the past will always haunt post- conflict societies". As we try to negotiate peace in today’s conflicts, what lessons can be learned from peace made in the past? Why is lasting peace so hard to achieve - is it because we are predisposed to warfare or just not thoughtful enough at making peace? If peace is imposed or comes from within does that make a difference and to what extent does the participation of women in the peace process effect the outcome?
The essential first phase of the project is situated in Bosnia, Cambodia, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, Rwanda and Vietnam, the second phase in Chechnya, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and South Africa. It has multiple and diverse objectives that will encompass scholarship, journalism, education and academia, culture, archive and community outcomes.
Working with scholars, students and local communities, a small group of the world’s leading documentarians of war will revisit the scenes of recent conflict to explore the consequences of peace and try to understand why some attempts at peace succeed and others fail. They will challenge the conventionally held wisdom that peace is an outcome worth seeking at all costs and seek to understand how to answer the question - How do we make better peace that benefits the people who have to live with the consequences?
The photographers and writers of the Peace Project are amongst the most celebrated war correspondents of modern times who built their careers working in these countries at war and who have continued to scrutinize them at peace. They have adopted conflict and post-conflict experiences as their life’s work. Each country will have its own team of documentarians who have years of experience, deep knowledge and broad relationships with its citizens.
The Peace Project’s independent film team made of up of leading industry professionals will work on a series of narrative short films that address the central questions of the project. The filmmakers will have access to all the collaborative outcomes the project produces but will work independently creating a series of complimentary narratives.
In some instances teams will seek to reconnect with people whose lives they documented many years ago during the dark days of conflict; men and women from all walks of life including farmers, workers, soldiers, doctors, civil society and power brokers. In other cases they will connect with new people who’s lives and stories are germane.
These teams will consult and work in close collaboration with peace negotiators, academics, diplomats, religious leaders, military officers, former insurgents and others who have been actors in the evolution of war to peace.
Publishing and Broadcast
The organizing principle for all narrative outcomes will be a deep and ambitious web based interactive (or trans-media) documentary, that exists across multiple platforms and allows a non-linear reader experience. Interactive documentaries encourage viewers to explore the stories and geography of the project in their own unique way. Users will be able to experience qualitative (documentary) and quantitative (data driven) information at the same time through series of photographic essays, narrative short films, narrative texts and contextual essays by a political philosopher, a peace negotiator, a former combatant and an evolutionary biologist, oral histories, historical artifacts, maps and data visualizations.
All these publishing outcomes will also be distributed through significant media partners with global brand and reach through wide print and online distribution. Where possible we will endeavor to find a local media publishing partner in each country we work - always being mindful of protecting our collaborators and interlocutors.
The project will also realize an E-book containing the photographic and written essays, multimedia, narrative short films, data visualization and GIS mapping and a printed book containing the written and photographic essays, mapping, diagrams, drawings, histories and data.
Cultural and Archive
A physical museum quality exhibition and installation containing contemporary and historical photographs, films and other time based visual media, oral histories, visual display of quantitative information, remote sensing and GIS data mapping.
A digital online adaptation of the physical exhibition.
Education and Academia
An educational program created by education professionals with lesson plans and teaching aids based on the work we produce.
Student research and internships gathering data for the visual display of quantitative information, remote sensing and GIS data mapping by Tufts University Geographic Information Systems Center and leading designer Giorgio Baravalle. Field work for students in the region gathering oral histories and engaging in historical archive search.
All data available for research purposes by scholars and academics through the Tufts University Library and Archive.
All photography, film, oral histories and essays will be available for research purposes by scholars and academics through the Tufts University Library and Archive.
A conference at Tufts University hosted by the Institute for Global Leadership and the Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice
In the Community
A series of seminars and events in each territory that create an opportunity for dialogue and conversation amongst key actors.
A conference held in Sarajevo in collaboration with the WARM Foundation that seeks to exploit the research and findings of the project and furthers the progress of successful peace negotiation by bringing together state actors, members of civil society and communities engaged in conflict resolution.
A series of short mobile seminars in communities engaged in conflict resolution.
VII Photo Agency - The VII Association - The Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice - The Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts Unversity - Tufts University Geographic Information Systems Center - Giorgio Baravalle / de.MO - WARM
A WARM Partner Project.