Diana Chigas presents "Small Projects and Grand Visions: How Do We Get From Here to There? Reflections on Coexistence Initiatives in Southeastern Europe"

Diana Chigas with Daniel Terris

On Monday, December 2, 2002, Diana Chigas gavea talk at Brandeis entitled "Small Projects and Grand Visions: How Do We Get From Here to There? Reflections on Coexistence Initiatives in Southeastern Europe." Chigas is a Fellow from the Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Speaking primarily about her experiences with the Greek/Turkish conflict in Cyprus, Chigas explored the contribution of small NGOs to the larger vision of peace in conflict regions. Some small coexistence projects can be very successful in raising awareness of "the other," in building relationships across ethnic difference, and in developing skills in mediation and nonviolent problem-solving. But such successes might be totally undermined by a deteriorating political situation, in which such voices for peace can become marginalized at best and highly dangerous at worst. Chigas suggested that such small projects are still valuable in creating a human infrastructure for peace, and building a peace constituency. Coexistence efforts must be "top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out."

Chigas' talk was sponsored by the Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence.