Confer, reconcile

By Bonnie Leung

Can we ever solve the crisis in Kosovo? Is reconciliation possible?

From June 2-6, the University of Calgary will hold an international conference to examine the issues of reconciliation in the world today. The conference will explore issues such as the crisis in Kosovo; black South Africans and their white neighbours; Cambodia and its past; aboriginals in Canada.

According to U of C Political Science Professor Dr. Carol Prager, this conference is being held in Calgary because Calgarians have a great interest in the area of reconciliation.

"We want to find out whether people can live together after they’ve done such horrifying things to each other," she said.

Interests in this conference have extended beyond Calgary.

"We’ve had inquiries for our conference from places like Australia [and] Haiti, so it is an international conference," said Prager. "We have presenters coming from South Africa."

According to Prager, the conference hopes to address many issues.

"[We hope] to advance our understanding of the problems surrounding reconciliation," she said. "We want to advance our understanding both for scholars and practitioners and I think also help the general public understand these questions."

The conference’s keynote speaker is Dr. Michael Marrus, history professor and dean of the graduate faculty at the University of Toronto. Judge Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor for the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in the former Yugoslavia, will also speak.

According to U of C Management Professor Dr. Ashis Gupta, the conference will include a free Literary Evening on June 4 at the Rozsa Centre. It will feature poetry and fiction with themes of reconciliation.

"The evening is not only an opportunity for the writers to speak briefly and somehow illuminate the subject, it is also an opportunity for the general public to see and hear some of Canada’s outstanding writers and poets," said Gupta.

The conference also has a community focus.

"Reconciliation is always an issue in other contexts and as a part of our conference, we’re having a community seminar," said Prager. "The seminar will involve people [of the community] coming together to talk about any reconciliation there may be in Calgary, not including atrocities against various groups, but integrating perhaps immigrant groups."

For more information call Dr. Carol Prager at 283-2663. To register, call 220-7238.

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