Understanding the Historical Roots of Boko Haram

Understanding the Historical Roots of Boko Haram

By Bekeh Utietiang

In its March 31, 2014 issue, Time magazine published an article entitled “Nigeria’s Reckless Neglect” by Alexis Okeowo. The premise of Okeowo’s article was that the Islamic military insurgency in North-East Nigeria was as a result of past Nigerian governments’ neglect of social and economic problems of the North leading to one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. The writer also claimed that investments were done in the oil-rich South at the expense of the North. Such analysis is oversimplified and seen in binaries.

There is no doubt that the current Nigerian government has displayed some high degree of ineptitude when it comes to dealing with the problem of Boko Haram, but one should not be amiss with its complexity. The roots of this problem predate Nigerian independence and can only be understood in its long historical context. The problem is rooted in the scope and nature of British colonial rule in Nigeria, and one can trace a rather complex continuity between what is happening now and the structure that the British set up in the early 1900s.

Prior to the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria into one territory, the British High Commissioner of the Northern Protectorate, Frederick Lugard championed a form of native administration which was known in British colonial history as “Indirect Rule.” In this part of the country, the rule was mainly carried out by Muslim emirs. After 1914, this rule continued and Lugard tried to extend it to the southern part of Nigeria. The danger associated with this rule in the North was that Lugard vociferously prevented Christian missionaries from extending Western education to the North. Sir Hugh Clifford, who succeeded Lugard in 1919 as Governor General of Nigeria, was critical of indirect rule in northern Nigeria as he believed it insulated the North. Clifford, like Lugard, maintained indirect rule for the simple reason that they did not want to wrestle the socio-cultural and religious structure upon which the colonial state rested. The fear was that the presence of missionaries would challenge the colonial structure, which seemed to be stable. For several decades, the education that was exposed to the north was Koranic/Islamic education. While Western education flourished in the South; the North was left behind.

On independence of Nigeria, power was left by the British in the hands of the north with Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, as prime minister, and Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe as the ceremonial president. The vitality of the new independent state was soon to be stifled by the inability of the Nigerian leaders to form a national consensus toward ripping the benefits of self-rule that they had so longed for and promised the people. Sadly, the battle over who controls the “national cake” (the economic resources of Nigeria) wrapped in ethnically based regional parties would soon lead to political strives and ethnic tensions. These resulted in coups and counter-coups that were sectarian in nature. These led to the Nigerian civil war, which in its three years of existence, created mass casualties and ruptured the vestiges of whatever had existed in the name of nationhood.

Flushed with cash from the oil boom of the 1970s, the country that emerged from the war tried to rebuild all that was destroyed during the war. Perhaps, what could not be changed was the mutual suspicion between the ethnic and regional bases that comprised of the Nigerian polity.

To further complicate things, when the southern part of the country, at this time composed of the western and eastern regional governments, introduced very successful programs of universal primary education in 1955 and 1957 respectively, the northern part of the country stayed out of this project because they associated for the most part Western education with Christian education because most of the schools in southern Nigeria were housed in mission locations, headed by mission teachers, and taught Christian religion. The North was content with Islamic education, which if it were only visualized from a distance seemed comparable with the education that was offered by Christian schools in the south. However, Western education was not simply the study of the Bible and catechism, but it imbued its subjects with some core philosophies and values that were necessary for success in a global world; mostly ruled by a Western educational value system. Other subjects beyond Christianity such as arithmetic, history and civics were taught in these schools. This was not the case in the Koranic schools in the North, where the children were taught mainly the memorization of the Koran and the Islamic tenets.

By 1976 when a Christian president from the South, Olusegun Obasanjo introduced nationally, the Universal Primary Education project and pushed it strongly across the country, northern Nigeria was starting at a place of disadvantage; one caused by the early British colonial leaders and the late colonial northern rulers. While northern leaders now saw the advantage of this new system, many remained reluctant to embrace it and still favored the koranic schools. Many young people continued to be steeped in the ideology that Western style education was corrupt and out to undermine Islam. This notion was propagated by some imams and preachers who wanted to maintain their relevancy. Further compounding the problem in the region was the nomadic nature of the Fulani cattle rearers who were a significant bloc of northern Nigeria. They continued to shun Western education in such massive proportions that the military administration of Ibrahim Babangida, a northern Muslim, introduced nomadic education in 1989. This program has remained a colossal failure and it is important to mention that some of the riots and massacres that have happened in some of the villages in northern Nigeria have been attributed to these nomads. The Nigerian government is also reporting that Boko Haram groups are embedding themselves with these Fulani herders.

How did Boko Haram become a part of this history? Boko Haram simply means that Western education is forbidden. Why? It is because members of this group believe that it is corrupt, morally bankrupt and evil. Their goal is to institute an Islamic sharia state. It is important to note that its ideology is gradually developing. Of recent, the terror group did not even have a leader who spoke for the movement and even now, it is in question whether the group has one unified movement with a single plan, or separate groups are working disparately for the same broad mission.

This kind of terrorist movement that has attacked Western values is not new to Nigeria. It has always been brewing underground and even raised it’s ugly head in the 1970s. An Islamic militant movement emerged in 1972 called Maitatsine. It was actually not an entirely new movement as its founder, Mohammed Marwa had originally been exiled by the British from Nigeria during colonial rule, because of his extremist views and preaching. Marwa was born in the northeast region of British Nigeria and Cameroon’s (now a part of the Cameroon’s). He returned from exile in 1972 and gradually began to build his followership. By the early 1980s when the group emerged publicly and started carrying out attacks, the members believed that both the traditional Muslim rulers and the politicians had betrayed Islam and deserved death. The members rejected everything Western such as radios, cars and Western education. The movement, like Boko Haram, concentrated its attacks in northern Nigeria. Over 5,000 people were killed by the sect between 1980 and 1985 before the Nigerian military government crushed them and many members flew across the borders to Cameroon. Marwa himself was killed in 1980. Musa Makaniki, his successor was arrested by the Nigerian government in 2004 after a visit to Nigeria from Cameroon. Little is reported of his activities in the Cameroon’s during the 19 years he spent there. Many questions remain unsatisfactorily answered. Had he established links with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb? Was he radicalizing many young Muslims for an eventual battle with Nigeria? The styles of attacks of the Boko Haram group do suggest similarities with the Maitatsine group, which was notorious for going into peoples homes at night and slitting their throats; something Boko Haram consistently does. The group also attacked police and army constellations, as well as churches and schools; another trademark of Boko Haram attacks. The origins of the attacks and the places used as safe nets also suggest strong parallels with both groups. The only discernible difference right now, and one we are not completely certain of, is that Boko Haram is comprised mostly of educated Muslim youths while we know as a matter of fact that the Maitatsine sect was made up mainly of uneducated laborers. This difference still needs to be carefully explored.

To curb the deadly activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, careful attention must be paid to its regional connections beyond Nigeria. The activities from the Cameroonian side of the border need to be carefully analyzed, since this has not received much attention. In order for the problem to be contained, both the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments must cordon off their border areas, temporarily relocate law-abiding citizens and declare the whole area a conflict zone. Without which, many innocent people would continue to be slaughtered each day, as it has been happening in the last few years.

Bekeh Utietiang is a native of Nigeria and a resident of the United States. He did his Masters degree in Religion and Culture at The Catholic University of America, Washington DC and Ph.D at West Virginia University, Morgantown.

Bekeh Utietiang is a native of Nigeria and a resident of the United States. He did his Masters degree in Religion and Culture at The Catholic University of America, Washington DC and Ph.D at West Virginia University, Morgantown.

About the Author:

Bekeh Utietiang is a native of Nigeria and a resident of the United States. He did his Masters degree in Religion and Culture at The Catholic University of America, Washington DC and Ph.D at West Virginia University, Morgantown. His areas of research are development history and political and religious culture of West African Societies. A special area of focus is new political and religious movements and how these shape the respective societies. Bekeh is a regular blogger on the Huffington Post. He also maintains a personal website, http://www.bekeh.com

New York City Living Together Movement

First Living Together Movement Meeting in New York City

A new civic movement made up of peace-driven individuals who recognize the same humanity in all peoples, and are passionate about bridging the gap between different races, ethnicities, religions, political views, genders, generations and nationalities, in order to increase respect, tolerance, acceptance, understanding and harmony in the world.

A new civic movement made up of peace-driven individuals who recognize the same humanity in all peoples, and are passionate about bridging the gap between different races, ethnicities, religions, political views, genders, generations and nationalities, in order to increase respect, tolerance, acceptance, understanding and harmony in the world.

You are cordially invited to attend the first Living Together Movement meeting in New York City.

When: Friday, May 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm in Eastern Time. 

Where: John H. Holmes Community House, Third Floor.

28 East 35th Street, New York, NY 10016.

Registration: Registration is free and open to the public, but you must RSVP to attend the meeting.  To RSVP, send your name and contact information to:

livingtogethermovement(at)icermediation.org.

You can also join our new meetup group and RSVP on that page.

The Living Together Movement is like “a home outside a home”. Come and listen, talk, learn, share and celebrate in a relaxed, friendly, and welcoming ambience. 

Bring your unique stories, cultural backgrounds, life experiences, words of wisdom, feelings, worries, disappointments, success stories, etc. Everyone will be given an equal opportunity to talk about / share with the group anything of particular interest to him or her.

We practice empathic listening, and do not judge or criticize anyone. Our goal is to truly understand the other before seeking to be understood; and to focus on what the other person is saying rather than what we are going to say next.

To celebrate our diversity in a symbolic manner, please bring your favorite/cultural/ethnic songs (if you have one), light food, and drinks to the meeting; and together we shall renew our commitment to live together in mutual respect and dignity.

Meeting Reflection:

The 21st century continues to experience waves of ethnic and religious violence making it one of the most devastating threats to peace, political stabilization, economic growth and security in our world. These conflicts have killed and maimed tens of thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands, planting the seed for even greater fear, hatred, intolerance, violence and revenge in the future.

We recognize this to be a crucial moment in history, a time to step up and ensure that our children and grandchildren do not have to suffer through the horrors of war or genocide in all of their guises.

As bridge builders, humanists, and peace advocates with diverse beliefs, cultures, customs, backgrounds, etc., it falls to all of us to open the doors to dialogue, to come to truly know one another, and to accept that in so doing, we can take the first tentative steps toward a world that can work for everyone.

And so we begin by working from where we are by revealing the assets available to us. The religious and ethnic differences long blamed for hatred and intolerance are taken out into the light where the advantages that they offer, the connections between us that they make apparent and the opportunities for healthy relations they support are affirmed. Our strength and promise are based on this foundation.

About Living Together Movement:

Living Together Movement, a project of the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation, is a new civic movement made up of peace-driven individuals who recognize the same humanity in all peoples, and are passionate about bridging the gap between different races, ethnicities, religions, political views, genders, generations and nationalities, in order to increase respect, tolerance, acceptance, understanding and harmony in the world.

We come together every month to listen to, talk with, learn from, understand and share with one another. Each member enriches the group with a unique story and cultural background. Everyone is given an equal opportunity to talk about his or her cultural background and feelings, or any topics of interest, including but not limited to security issues, politics, policies, war, conflict, conflict resolution, human dignity, forgiveness, foreign relations, world peace, economy, education, employment, family, health, immigration, science and technology.

We practice empathic listening, and do not judge or criticize anyone. Our goal is to truly understand the other before seeking to be understood; and to focus on what the other person is saying rather than what we are going to say next.

We celebrate our diversity in a symbolic manner with the traditional arts, songs, food and drinks that our members bring to the living together meeting.

GRANT & PROPOSAL WRITING INTERN for Fundraising & Development

Internship Announcement

GRANT & PROPOSAL WRITING INTERN for Fundraising & Development

The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation in NYC, a vibrant and rapidly growing international NGO, is seeking an accomplished, energetic Grant & Proposal Writing Intern with Fundraising & Development experience. We are especially interested in applicants whose studies are/were related to international relations, peace studies, and international conflict mitigation and mediation.
Internships are 15-20 per week for a minimum of three months. The majority of the work can be performed off-site by telecommuting.

The Candidate will possess:

  • Fundraising & grant writing experience in the not-for-profit sector
  • Experience responding to RFPs – requests for proposals
    Maturity, flexibility, initiative, perseverance
  • Creative and positive energy, dedication to making a difference
  • A good sense of humor
  • A resourceful and proactive nature
  • A native-level proficiency in English (speaking and writing)
  • The ability to work independently in a deadline-driven environment
  • Experience producing online content
  • A passion for Grant & Proposal Writing and its potential to serve Fundraising & Development efforts to advance peace-building
  • The ability to thrive as part of a team, as well as the ability to work and think independently
  • Previous nonprofit experience preferred, but not required

Responsibilities:

  • Develop Fundraising & Development strategy in alignment with ICERM Mission
  • Research Grants & Proposals relevant to the ICERM Mission; compile accurate profiles of prospective funders.
  • Discover and respond to relevant RFPs & write grant proposals to targeted donor prospects to fund ICERM’s Mission and projects, and gifts in the form of contributions-in-kind; such as: donations of meeting space for conferences & symposia, office space, furniture, equipment, office supplies, etc.
  • Develop donor prospects & maintain donor relations, including writing follow-ups and thank you letters; maintaining records of ICERM donors and contact’s communications.
  • Expand and improve the philanthropic organizations, foundations, individual donors, and corporate donor prospect base.
  • Develop and maintain Fundraising & Development database listing donor contacts and tracking Grants & Proposals keeping it accurate and up-to-date.
  • Develop & pitch fundraising event ideas.
  • Research opportunities for ICERM to participate/speak at conferences or events related to conflict mediation.
  • Research potential guest speakers, interviewees, honorees from among our donors who exemplify ICERM mission for mention on our web site, inclusion in our Journal, or to be guests on our radio show, etc. Assist with drafting save-the-dates and invitations, keeping track of guest lists
  • Contribute to ICERM blog content weekly to be posted on the ICERM website and shared through relevant social networks; contribute content to ICERM e-newsletters
  • Work alongside marketing, social media, and events planning staff & interns to support the development strategy.
  • Reply to online queries and general correspondence related to Fundraising, Grants & Proposals
  • Help to develop creative ideas & online content for membership drives, up-coming events, development campaigns and special projects.
  • Help fulfill requests for information, undertake special projects and assignments as needed

Some of our Special Projects include:
The Journal of Living Together
The Living Together Movement
The ICERM radio show including book reviews, music, expert panels, and related lectures, etc.
Membership and fundraising campaigns, including radio sponsorship
Annual International Conference on Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding

Certificate Training Programs

Conflict Monitoring Networks

 

Internship Benefits:
An ICERM Certificate of Participation and Appreciation for your professional portfolio
Your inclusion on our website as an outstanding intern
A written professional reference
An invitation to be involved with future ICERM events

ICERM interns are given the chance to grow and develop professionally through their experience and exposure to real international issues on the front lines and an international team of experts who continue to serve all over the globe. Dedicated interns will hone their professional research, reporting, and writing techniques while developing the international contacts that will ensure their professional futures.

Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated interest in international issues, peace building, and the needs of vulnerable or marginalized populations & be able to provide excellent references.
To apply:

Submit your resume along with a cover letter expressing why you see yourself as a top candidate for this internship, including a list of proposals and grants that you have written and other examples of your successes in Fundraising & Development in the not-for-profit sector to: careers@icermediation.org.

Include the words “Fundraising & Development Internship” in the subject line.

Front list of candidates will be contacted.
 

Internship Announcement: Social Media Intern

Internship  Announcement

SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation in NYC, a vibrant and rapidly growing international NGO, is seeking an accomplished, energetic Social Media Intern. We are especially interested in applicants whose studies are/were related to international relations, peace studies, and international conflict mitigation and mediation.
Internships are 15-20 per week for a minimum of three months. Some work can be performed by telecommuting.

The Candidate will possess:

  • Maturity, flexibility, initiative, perseverance
  • Creative and positive energy, dedication to making a difference
  • A good sense of humor
  • A resourceful and proactive nature
  • A native-level proficiency in English (speaking and writing)
  • The ability to work independently in a deadline-driven environment
  • Experience producing online content
  • A passion for social media and its potential as a peace-building tool
  • The ability to thrive as part of a team, as well as the ability to work and think independently
  • Previous nonprofit experience preferred, but not required

Responsibilities:

  • Develop social media strategy in alignment with ICERM Mission & projects
  • Contribute to/write ICERM blog content weekly to be posted on the ICERM website and shared through relevant social networks
  • Create press releases, assist with the creation of e-newsletters
  • Work alongside marketing, fundraising, and events planning interns to develop a membership building strategy and related materials.
  • Work alongside ICERM web developer to contribute ideas and coordinate on social media strategies & assist with keeping the website content up-to-date.
  • Monitor and compile news developments related to the ICERM mission to incorporate into on-line messages, conflict monitoring networks,  create linkages to relevant articles, videos, and other online content
  • Develop and maintain social media database
  • Assist with the research and drafting of articles for online publication
  • Determine new places to post calls for papers, assist with their on-line content, help reply to online queries and general correspondence regarding submissions
  • Help to develop creative ideas & online content for membership drives, up-coming events, fundraising campaigns and special projects.
  • Develop and maintain social media relations
  • Report on related international meetings, lectures, related to the ICERM mission
  • Help fulfill requests for information, undertake special projects and assignments as needed

Some of our Special Projects include:
The Journal of Living Together
The Living Together Movement
The ICERM radio show including book reviews, music, expert panels, and related lectures, etc.
Membership and fundraising campaigns, including radio sponsorship

Annual International Conference on Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding

Certificate Training Programs

Conflict Monitoring Networks

 

Internship Benefits:
An ICERM Certificate of Participation and Appreciation for your professional portfolio
Your inclusion on our website as an outstanding intern
A written professional reference
An invitation to be involved with future ICERM events

ICERM interns are given the chance to grow and develop professionally through their experience and exposure to real international issues on the front lines and an international team of experts who continue to serve all over the globe. Dedicated interns will hone their professional research, reporting, and writing techniques while developing the international contacts that will ensure their professional futures.

Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated interest in international issues, peace building, and the needs of vulnerable or marginalized populations & be able to provide excellent references.
To apply:

Submit your resume along with a cover letter expressing why you see yourself as a top candidate for this internship, including examples of your successes in social media as they pertain to the not-for-profit sector to: careers@icermediation.org

Include the words “Social Media Intern” in the subject line.

Front list of candidates will be contacted.

Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding: 2014 ICERM 1st Annual International Conference

Register for the 2014 ICERM 1st Annual International Conference On Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding

Important Updates:

  • Please note that the date of the Conference has been changed to Wednesday, October 1, 2014. We discovered that some religious groups observe Friday as a holiday, and because of that, we want to give everybody the opportunity to participate in the Conference by doing it on Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
  • The registration fee for the 2014 ICERM International Conference has been reduced in order to accommodate everybody. We want to give you the opportunity to participate in this conference. You can now register at a reduced fee. Please also note that the seating capacity for this event is limited. Seats are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Buy your ticket now to reserve a seat.

The International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation is pleased to announce its 

1st   Annual International Conference On Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution And Peacebuilding 

Theme:  The Advantages of Ethnic & Religious Identity in Conflict Mediation and                  

             Peacebuilding

Venue: 136 East 39th Street

             Between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue

             New York, NY 10016, USA 

Date:    Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Time:     9am – 5pm

«Peace has a chance when despite history, despite politics, despite ethnicity or faith, and despite hardship, people learn to tap into their own cultural ethos of cooperation – Dr. Dianna Wuagneux»

«Peace has a chance when despite history, despite politics, despite ethnicity or faith, and despite hardship, people learn to tap into their own cultural ethos of cooperation – Dr. Dianna Wuagneux»

Conference Synopsis

For our First Annual International Conference, we have chosen the theme: The Advantagesof Ethnic & Religious Identity in Conflict Mediation and Peacebuilding. Too often, differences in ethnicity and faith traditions are seen as a drawback to the peace process. It is time to turn these assumptions around and rediscover the benefits that these differences offer. It is our contention that societies made up of an amalgamation of ethnicities and faith traditions offer largely unexplored assets to the policy makers, donor & humanitarian agencies, and mediation practitioners working to assist them.

It is the purpose of this conference to inspire new thinking, stimulate ideas, inquiry, and dialogue & share anecdotal and empirical accounts, which will introduce and support evidence of the numerous advantages that multi-ethnic & multi-faith populations offer to facilitate peace and advance social/economic well-being.

All peoples have within their histories and customs practices designed to improve the health and cohesion of the community. All have rites, rituals and beliefs that shore up and maintain adaptive social relationships that include mutual obligations and responsibilities. All have tenets, ethics and boundaries establishing what is right, what is just, and what is honorable, which govern interpersonal and business relations. Throughout time, it has been these personal and shared doctrines that have cultivated the cooperation and collaboration necessary to have a better quality of life, promote innovation, build economies, nurture the arts, as well as foster advances in science, medicine, technology, civil society, and law.

How can we identify and utilize the most beneficial aspects of these shared and individual beliefs, doctrines, principles and codes of conduct to mediate and mitigate conflict, stabilize relations, and move toward reconciliation between cultures and across borders?

Which practices offer the greatest promise of success, and how/where/when/ under what circumstances are they best applied? What are the advantages of diversity in ethnicity, religion and culture to improving & sustaining of economies? How do/can these contributions become tools for compromise, cooperation & reconciliation?

2014 ICERM 1st International Conference: Request for Proposals

Policymakers and donor agencies have fallen into the habit, especially during the last several decades, to look at ethnically and religiously diverse populations, especially when they occur in failed states or nations in transition, as being at a disadvantage. Too often, it is assumed that social conflict naturally occurs, or is exacerbated by these differences, without looking more deeply at these relationships.

ICERM invites papers for presentation and publication that support a shift from the focus on ethnic and religious differences and their disadvantages, to finding and utilizing the advantages of culturally diverse populations. The goal is to help one another discover and make the most of what these populations have to offer in terms of mitigating conflict, advancing peace, and strengthening economies for the betterment of all. Preferred papers will include modern examples with an emphasis on practical application.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should include an abstract not to exceed 800 words in length, which describes the substance of the paper in relation to conference theme, the title of the paper, biographies of the author(s), and any affiliated agency, organization, or institution. All proposals should be sent to the Conference Review Committee by email:conference@icermediation.org. Abstracts will undergo a double blind peer review. Accepted proposals will be notified by Friday, May 30, 2014. Accepted authors should submit complete papers by Monday, June 30, 2014. Accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. We look forward to reading your proposals.

Registration

Registration for the ICERM 1st Annual International Conference is done online.


Register Online for the
ICERM 1st Annual International Conference

Letters of Invitation

If requested, the ICERM Office will provide a letter of invitation if doing so will help participants gain permission from their professional bodies, procure travel funds, or obtain a visa. Consulates and embassies often need a lot of time to process a visa request; therefore we suggest participants request a letter of invitation at the earliest convenience. To request a letter of invitation, e-mail the ICERM at conference(at)icermediation.org. Please include the full name, postal, and e-mail address of each individual requesting a letter of invitation. Be sure to also include the organization, agency, embassy or consulate to which the letter should be addressed.  Letters of invitation will be e-mailed to the requesting individual, NOT to the embassy or consulate. Please allow up to five (5) business days for processing your request.

Certificates of Attendance

Certificates of attendance will be available for all pre-registered attendees.

Presentations

All presenters will be allowed 20 sessions with an additional 10 minutes for questions & discussion. The Session Chair will determine the order of presentations and, if time permits, facilitate discussion questions following the presentations.

ICERM will provide an LCD projector, screen, and laptop computer. Please plan to arrive a few minutes before your session to check the equipment and allow time for AV technician support in the instance of a technical difficulty.

Presenter Requirements

Tips for Presentation Slides

  • Allow at least one (1) minute per slide
  • Avoid text-dense slides
  • Use graphics, tables, and graphs
  • Use light text on a dark background
  • Speak clearly, be engaging
  • Practice your speaking time in advance, so you can be sure that your info & materials are appropriate for the time allotted.

All presenters must agree to adhere to the presenter policies and deadlines, including:

  • Confirm intention to present your accepted abstract by Monday, June 30, 2014.  Confirmation is completed via email.
  • Any minor updates or edits to your abstract must be received before Monday, June 30, 2014.  Changes made to abstracts after this date will not be reflected in the Conference Proceedings.
  • Register for the Conference by July 31, 2014Presenters that do not preregister for the conference will have their presentations withdrawn from the program.

Cancellation and Presenter Replacement

Presenters that are unable to present may authorize co-author(s) to serve as presenter provided they notify ICERM. All presentation cancellations must be received in writing before Monday, September 1, 2014.

Cancellation Policy

ICERM reserves the right to cancel any event due to lack of enrollment or other factors. In the event of a cancellation, registered participants will be notified by e-mail in advance.

Cancellation Fees

All registration cancellations by participants must be received in writing and all refunds will be paid after the conclusion of the conference. Registration cancellations received prior to Monday, September 1, 2014 will be charged an administration fee of $15.00. Cancellations received after this date will not be eligible for a refund. Cancellation notices should be directed to the ICERM Office by email: conference(at)icermediation.org.

Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations

Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations

Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations, Ambassador Shola Omoregie's new memoir.

Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations, Ambassador Shola Omoregie’s new memoir.

Click here to listen to the review of “Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations”.

ICERM Radio Book Review Program, March 13, 2014.

Host: Chavie Brumer.

Guest and Author: Ambassador Shola Omoregie.

We are happy to announce the review of “Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations”, a candid and illuminating memoir written by Ambassador Shola Omoregie, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Africa Peace Support, and Former Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Guinea- Bissau and Head of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS).

In this detailed, candid and illuminating memoir, Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations, Ambassador Shola Omoregie sheds light on a personal journey from childhood in Nigeria, through professional transition in the Nigerian Foreign Service to his eventual elevation as a top United Nations official. Ambassador Omoregie recounts the story of his youth with verve, sharing anecdotes of his birth in a polygamous home and of growing up in the homes of his maternal grandfather and uncle. He offers personal and direct accounts of the influence of the Nigerian civil war on his life, including many dangerous encounters when he was mistaken for a rebel soldier.

Former Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau and Head of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) from 2006 - 2008

Former Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau and Head of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) from 2006 – 2008

Ambassador Omoregie highlights his transition from service in the Nigerian Foreign Service to the United Nations where he served for more than three decades. As the Resident Representative of the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia in Botswana and later in Angola, culminating in his appointment as the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Peace Building Support Office in Guinea-Bissau, where he was entrusted with the responsibility of managing critical United Nations peace-building efforts. He boldly addresses the many peculiar challenges and limitations of working in a multinational setting and navigating the many associated ordeals, including leading the international community efforts to stabilize the volatile situation in Guinea-Bissau. He examines the extraordinary powers exerted by certain major countries within the Organization and deftly examines the practical implications of the structure of the international system on the internal workings of the United Nations Security Council.

The memoir provides glimpses from the vantage point of someone who had seen action in the Front Line States in Southern Africa; of being at the heart of the United Nations Secretariat in New York at a critical time, including personally witnessing the inner dynamics of the Security Council; and of leading critical field assignments in Angola, Botswana and Guinea-Bissau, while also undertaking United Nations Ad Hoc assignments. It also offers lessons learned from his direct experiences as a United Nations expert and as a consultant for the African Union, to which he provided technical and political expertise during the establishment of its Peace and Security Council. This contribution, therefore, comes from someone who has observed developments at close quarters at the international level, including the transformation in the Security Council following the end of the Cold War.

This fascinating multi-disciplinary memoir will be of special interest to policy makers, students on a broad range of academic disciplines and others with interest in, and committed to multilateral diplomacy in a multifaceted international system.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amb. Omoregie with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonSHOLA JONATHAN OMOREGIE is founder and Chief Operating Officer of Africa Peace Support, LLC, an international political and security consulting firm with headquarters in New York. A retired career diplomat, Ambassador Omoregie had extensive experience spanning over three decades at the United Nations where he was an expert in Security Council affairs and peace operations. He retired from the United Nations after serving as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Guinea Bissau. Ambassador Omoregie was also a long-serving member of the Nigerian Foreign Service where he rose to the rank of ambassador. He served at various Nigerian diplomatic missions, including Beijing in China and London and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, where he was the Area Officer. He was educated at the University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, where he earned a B.SC (Honors) in psychology. Born on 12 December 1946 in Benin City, Nigeria, he is married and has six children.

More information about Ambassador Shola Omoregie and his book, “Witness to Transformation: My years at the United Nations” is found on this website: http://www.africapeacesupport.com/.

The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker

The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker

The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian's Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker “, an award winning book written by Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe.

The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker “, an award winning book written by Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe.

Click here to listen to the review of “The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker”.

ICERM Radio Book Review Program, March 9, 2014.

Host: Maurice Q. Robinson, Esq., PHR.

Guest and Author: Jen Marlowe.

We are thrilled to announce the review of “The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker”, an award winning book written by Sami Al Jundi and Jen Marlowe.

Synopsis of The Hour of Sunlight:

As a teenager, Sami Al Jundi had one ambition: overthrowing Israeli occupation. With two friends he formed a militant cell and began building a bomb to use against the Israeli police. But their plans were derailed when the bomb exploded prematurely, killing one of his friends. Sami was sentenced to ten years in prison.

The Hour of Sunlight describes Sami’s extraordinary metamorphosis from a militant to a passionate advocate of nonviolence and peaceful reconciliation. Born to a family of Palestinian refugees in the Old City of Jerusalem, Sami was only five years old when Israeli soldiers took over his home after the 1967 war. His family began life again as refugees in another part of the Old City. In moving detail Sami describes how these and other realities (and indignities) of his early years caused his radicalization.

Following his arrest, Sami was bound and tortured for weeks by the Israeli General Security Service before beginning his ten-year prison sentence. Ironically, it was in an Israeli jail that his personal transformation began: Sami was welcomed into a highly organized, democratic community of political prisoners who required that members of their cell read, engage in political discourse on topics ranging from global revolutions to Russian literature.

In the prison library, Sami found a book on Mahatma Gandhi. He was struck by one story in particular—a Hindu man who had murdered a Muslim baby came to Gandhi seeking repentance. Gandhi told him that there was one way that he could find peace again; he must raise a Muslim orphan for twenty years. It took two decades to build a life, Sami reflected, but only seconds to destroy one.

Sami left prison still determined to fight for his people’s rights—but with a very different notion of how to undertake that struggle. He discovered the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence, and later became supervisor of an Israeli-Palestinian coexistence center in Jerusalem. He kept his faith in reconciliation alive through the most difficult times, remaining determined to inspire a new generation to follow the path of peace and nonviolence.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Marlowe is a Seattle-based award-winning author/documentary filmmaker/playwright and human rights activist.

Jen Marlowe is a Seattle-based award-winning author/documentary filmmaker/playwright and human rights activist.

Jen Marlowe is a Seattle-based award-winning author/documentary filmmaker/playwright and human rights activist. Jen began her professional life working at Seattle Children’s Theatre; from 1994-2000, she did youth theatre work in Seattle, using theatre as a platform for students to tell their stories. Jen lived and worked in Jerusalem from 2000-2004, using some of these same techniques to engage in dialogue-based conflict resolution with Palestinian and Israeli teenagers. Jen also did conflict resolution work with youth in Afghanistan, Cyprus, India, Pakistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was while working with youth in conflict areas that she first picked up a video camera—at that time, in order to record messages being exchanged between Israeli and Palestinian youth. As the youth themselves pushed the video dialogue project to more complex realms, Jen began to explore the idea of how film can be used, not only as a tool of dialogue, but also as a tool of activism. In 2004, with colleagues Adam Shapiro and Aisha Bain, Jen traveled to Northern Darfur and Eastern Chad to make the award-winning documentary film Darfur Diaries: Message from Home and wrote the accompanying book Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival (Nation

Books, 2006). Darfur Diaries was included in the 2007 edition of the Best American Non-Required Reading, edited by Dave Eggers.

Jen Marlowe

Jen Marlowe

Jen’s second feature-length award-winning documentary is called Rebuilding Hope: Sudan’s Lost Boys Return HomeRebuilding Hope follows three Sudanese-American young men on their first homecoming trip back to Sudan, to discover whether their homes and families survived the civil war and to build a school, drill wells and bring medical supplies to their villages in Sudan. Jen’s second book, calledThe Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker (Nation Books, 2011), is co-authored with and tells the story of Sami Al Jundi, a Palestinian man who spent ten years in Israeli prison for being involved in militant anti-occupation activities as a youth and who has spent the last two decades of his life working towards nonviolence and peaceful reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.The Hour of Sunlight was the winner of the London-based Middle East Monitor’s Palestine Book Award in 2012. Jen is also the playwright of There is a Field. The play, which addresses issues faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel, launched globally in October 2010, marking the ten-year anniversary of Black October. Jen’s third award-winning documentary film, One Family in Gaza profiles one family’s experience during and after the 2009 assault on the Gaza Strip. Jen’s most recent book is I Am Troy Davis (Haymarket Books, 2013), written with Martina Davis-Correia, the sister of innocent death row prisoner Troy Davis whose execution in 2011 stirred world-wide protest and condemnation due to his strong case of innocence. Jen is currently working on a documentary fllm about the pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain. She has also recently filmed in Honduras and Brazil for the human rights organization Frontline Defenders. Jen’s articles about Palestine/Israel, Sudan, Bahrain and the death penalty can be found at The Nation,ProgressiveWorldfocus.orgTomdispatch.comYes!, Colorlines and Massachusetts Review. Jen has been the recipient of grants, residencies and fellowships from the Pultizer Center on Crisis Reportingthe Nation Institute Investigative Fund,the Dorot FoundationSeattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural AffairsHedgebrook, and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice.

More information about “The Hour of Sunlight” and Jen Marlowe is found on this website: http://www.donkeysaddle.org/.

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