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Refining Trust: Palestine in Comparative Perspective

This project, led by Professor Ralf Wüstenberg and co-sponsored by the DAAD/cambridge Hub and the Europa-University Flensburg, brings together scholars and practitioners with expertise in different country-specific cases of political reconciliation post -1989 (with a particular focus on the German reunification, but also including the South African transition and the case of Ireland) to discuss key questions on both the conditions for political reconciliation and its perspectives for Palestine.

The achievement of a measure of reconciliation (inter-personal, intra-personal, societal, national) needs to include framework conditions that cannot be quickly dispensed with (social justice, sharing truth(s) on contested narratives, considering the impact of religion). Several aspects of the German reunification and national solidarity are explored, as well as their potential for emulation in other contexts.

Primary thematic issues are:

  • What are the conditions, practices or agreements (and environmental contexts) that enable conflicting parties to interact so as to achieve peaceful solutions? These include a variety of institutional procedures and jurisdictional remedies such as the practice of Truth Commissions; different settings of courts – traditional legal or other, as in Rwanda; inter-party and inter-governmental agreements, such as the the Good Friday and Saint Andrew Agreements.
  • What are the demands of both conflictual parties to achieve a stage where they can develop the wish for a nation building?
  • Can a comparative analysis, including the dramatic history of the process of Unification in Germany and that of South Africa be used as a blue print for the struggle of justice and reconciliation in Palestine.

Invited speakers will explore these questions at an international two-days workshop on 9-10 March 2018.Key participants include:

Middle East

  • Mr Ashraf Y Suliman, South African Ambassador to Palestine, South African Representation, Ramallah
  • Prof Amjad Abu El-Ezz, Department of Social Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
  • Dr Zeina Barakat, Jerusalem/Jena (currently Postdoc at Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, Germany)

Europa-University Flensburg, Germany

  • Prof Anne Reichold, Department of Philosophy
  • Prof Monika Eigmueller, Department of Sociology (Vice President for International Affairs)
  • Prof Matthias Bauer, Department of German Studies
  • Prof Ralf Wüstenberg, Department of Theology

Cambridge University

  • Prof Colin Williams, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge
  • Prof Em John Loughlin, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge
  • Dr Michel Tai, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge
  • Dr Elisabeth Phillips, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge
  • Dr Stephen Plant, Trinity Hall, Cambridge

International Scholars

  • Prof Susanne Buckley-Zistel, University of Marburg, Chair for Peace and Conflict Research
  • Dr Gerd Hankel, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung
  • Dr Maria Power, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Ebrahim Moosa, Croc Institute, Notre Dame, USA
  • Dr Joel Hodge, Australian Catholic University, Australia 



The outcome of this research project will consist in an edited volume, as well as several policy papers. There will also be further set of meetings and the creation of a time-limited research network focused on specific themes within these chosen contexts.

An interdisciplinary research hub inspired by Catholic thought and culture, focussed on contemporary global realities, and dedicated to encounter, dialogue, and transformation

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Feb 23, 2018

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