From the Editor’s Desk

by Kyrstie Lane, Managing Editor

CCS is undergoing some exciting and significant changes – namely, becoming an official center of the Monterey Institute of International Studies! In the coming months and issues, Reflections will be seeing some changes too. We are currently evaluating and adapting our format and content to best fit our authors, subjects, and of course our readers. We’re eager to continue bringing you new and thoughtful commentary on a wide range of issues in conflict studies.

The diverse featured articles in this quarter’s Reflections include thoughts on specific conflicts as well as overarching issues in conflict resolution. Siamak Naficy presents a comprehensive and carefully constructed argument on why the use of drone strikes by the U.S. in the war on terror is counter-productive and must be ended. Hamdan Goumaa provides an analysis of the long-lasting, ongoing conflict in Sudan and South Sudan, and discusses the issues peacebuilders must address in order to make real progress in transforming this conflict. Finally, Barbara Moser-Mercer (with contributions by two of her doctoral students) writes about the challenges aid workers and peacebuilders face due to difficulties with multicultural communication and interpretation, and provides yet another reason why international workers must connect with local populations in order to achieve their best work.

This quarter’s Pedagogy of Conflict column speaks to the slogan of CCS: “Knowledge as Action; Action as Change.” Our director, Dr. Iyer, discusses the necessity of being more philosophical in our pursuit of knowledge and in how this knowledge informs our actions. A more philosophical approach will lead to more strategic actions, rather than emotional reactions in intense conflict situations, which will strengthen our efforts at resolution and transformation.

Picks of the Quarter presents two stories from the U.S. that are unfortunate examples of the continued discrimination that exists in our society: a defense spending bill that could go so far as to protect discrimination against minorities in the military, and a court case that allowed a male employer to fire his female employee because she was too attractive, setting a dangerous precedent for women. Lastly, we touch upon a recent case of inter-caste marriage in India that touched off a new round of violence against a Dalit community and once again brought to light the ever-present discrimination against this population.

And last but certainly not least, our cover photo is brought to us by MIIS student Bryan Weiner, who shares with us his experiences working with children in Paraguay and India. He speaks of how easily children are able to overcome barriers of communication and other divisions, and reflects on whether language brings us together or tears us apart: What can we, as conflict resolvers, learn from children and the ease with which they often “speak from their hearts,” unrestrained by the common obstacles of language?

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