The Role of Anthropological Elements in Peace Building Strategies
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Project Duration: April – December 2013
How does your project strengthen the role of citizens and civil society in stimulating positive social change?
In various ways. One of them being that our project aims to contribute to an exchange of knowledge inter-regionally regarding languages and methods of peace building and reconciliation. We realized early on that we talk about peacebuildng and reconciliation as if they mean the same things to different people in different countries. But what if they don’t? Our project is one of the first research projects to incorporate anthropology into this type of research.
Another way we are strengthening civic engagement is that our project aims to bridge the discourse gap between sectors, including academia and civil society that focus specifically on peace building related issues, through an innovatively implemented and published research project.
Our project is also a pioneer in the sense that it is the first partnership of this kind between Cyprus and the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Our idea was developed together during the Power of One conference and got developed through additional consultations to become what it is today.
As for incorporating technology and innovation into your activities, you have chosen to use infographics as part of your project. Tell us about that.
Yes. From the beginning our aim was to create a model for a research project that would not only utilize innovative research methods (combining anthropology and peace building) but that would also present/publish data in a visually engaging info graphic. Many NGOs now are beginning to realize that doing great research and publishing well written reports is only one side of the coin. If you don’t have an attention grabbing way of getting that out to the public, there is a big chance your wonderful and interesting research results are going to sit on a shelf or a desk somewhere, collecting dust. Our project is asking people to rethink the way we approach research as NGOs.
Have you had to make adjustments to your research or thinking in general having had to keep the infographic objective in mind?
The field work for the project was conducted in parallel in Cyprus and the Kurdistan region of Iraq to obtain data and statistics relevant to the project theme of integrating anthropology into peacebuilding. This has enhanced the collaborative partnership as the two organizations have had to work together with continuous communication to ensure the activities are run in parallel. The methodology utilized is the same and the reports produced are similar so that they may be easily interpreted in order to create the visual infographic.
Another major lesson for us in incorporating infographics into our work has also been not only the need to pull out the most interesting findings from the data that would make sense visually but also sometimes organizing a finding into a particular way so that it makes more sense visually. On first look some finding that doesn’t seem all that interesting can reveal a fascinating side once converted into a visual. It’s really about changing perspective.
The Management Centre of the Mediterranean
Bulent holds a PhD from the University of Brighton in the UK, an MBA from Emory University in the...
Jotiar Mahmood is the director of the Sarenj Center for Studies and Survey based in Erbil, the...
She obtained her MA in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Ivan Franko National University...