Brandeis International Fellowships 2003-2004


Re-Imagining Self and Other: Creativity and Ethical Action in the Aftermath of Violence

A symposium of the Brandeis International Fellowship Program:
Recasting Reconciliation through Culture and the Arts

Presenters' Biographies and Related Readings

Barbara Sonneborn is director of the award-winnning film, Regret to Inform, depicting widows' stories of loss incurred by the Vietnam war. Regret to Inform is Sonneborn's first film. She has also worked as a photographer, sculptor, and set designer for 26 years. She designed and directed all visual aspects of Jean-Claude Van Itallie's play Bag Lady, which was produced in New York at the Theater for the New City. She photographed and directed the use of projections in The White Buffalo, produced at Princeton University. Her artwork has been exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and can be seen in New Directions in Photography, a book edited by then New York Metropolitan Museum of Art curator of photography Weston Naef. Her photographs are also included in many private and museum collections. Her awards include a 1998 Rockefeller Film/Video/Multi-Media Fellowship, the International Documentary Association Award for Distinguished Achievement/ABC News VideoSource Award and two National Endowment for the Arts grants. A student of Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peacebuilder, her future plans include writing a book about the widows of the Vietnam war, and further films that explore the psychological and societal impact of war.

  • Regret to Inform: A History of the Film (pdf)

Prof. Hizkias Assefa is the founder and co-coordinator of the African Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Network in Nairobi, Kenya and has been engaged in second-track diplomacy and grass-roots peacebuilding and processes in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, southern Sudan, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Colombia, and in many other regions. He has served as consultant to the United Nations, European Union, and many international and national NGOs, and conducted conflict resolution and peacebuilding training seminars and workshops in over 50 countries around the world. Also a distinguished scholar, he trained in Law, Economics, Public Management, International Relations and Conflict Resolution. He is Professor of Conflict Studies at the Conflict Transformation Graduate Program at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He has served as a resident scholar in a number of universities including Brandeis University.

  • Peace and Conflict in Africa: Reflections from an African Peacebuilder (pdf)
  • Coexistence and Reconciliation in Region of Ghana (pdf)

Jane Sapp is a cultural worker who engages with disenfranchised urban and rural communities in the United States. She is a powerful, highly-regarded performer, song-writer, recording artist, and educator. Her music reflects the blues and gospel sounds of her Georgia youth and is deeply rooted in the spiritual, religious and historical experiences of the African-American world. She has recorded four albums, and her performances have been featured in concert halls (including Carnegie Hall with Pete Seeger), colleges, and community centers throughout the U.S. and in Sweden, Canada, Senegal, and Mali, West Africa. She is also a Senior Fellow at MIT's Center for Reflective Community Practice. As an educator, Jane Sapp has developed techniques to help the silenced find their voices through the arts. Her community-based cultural development programs have been the subject of an hour-long documentary - Someone Sang for Me by Julie Akeret (Filmmakers Library 2002) - and three scholarly studies. She has lectured and performed extensively at colleges, conferences, and community gatherings.

  • Global Partnerships for Education (pdf)

Olivier Urbain is associate professor of Art & Peace Studies, English and French at Soka University, Japan. Born in Belgium in 1961, he moved to the U.S. in 1985 to pursue his Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is currently pursuing a second Ph.D. in Peace Studies at Bradford University in England. A Blues pianist and a Nichiren Buddhist, he founded the Transcend: Art and Peace Network (TAP) in 2000, a virtual network designed to strengthen the contributions of artists to peace. "I see the relationship between art and peace as a question of personal choice, and I established the TAP Network to enable a maximum of people to be empowered to make that choice."

  • Art and Peace at IPRA 2004 (pdf)
  • Jazz and Social Justice (Part 1): Giving Voice to the Voiceless (pdf)
  • Three Sessions Using Hawaiian-Style Reconciliation Methods Inspired by the Ho'oponopono Problem-solving Process (pdf)

Goenawan Mohamad is an Indonesian writer, editor, activist, and poet. In 1971, he founded Tempo Magazine, an Indonesian weekly similar to America's Time magazine. Tempo, which quickly turned out to be the mouthpiece of the opposition, was banned in 1994 after years of harassment, but reestablished itself following the ousting of Suharto. Mohamad then founded The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Indonesia's first independent journalist association, as well as the Institute for Studies in the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), which documents harassment in the Indonesian press. In May 1997, Harvard University conferred upon him the Louis Lyons Award for Conscience, Integrity and Courage in Journalism, which is administered by the Nieman Foundation. Mohamad has since emerged as Indonesia's most prominent essayist and is the author of Conversations with Difference.

  • Conversations with Difference part 1 (pdf)
  • Conversations with Difference part 2 (pdf)
  • Conversations with Difference part 3 (pdf)
  • Conversations with Difference part 4 (pdf)
  • Conversations with Difference part 5 (pdf)