Political Science

Department Spotlight

Whitworth Student Learns Conflict-Resolution Skills at International Symposium

In the midst of escalating violence throughout the world, Whitworth junior Benjamin Metcalf will travel to The Hague, The Netherlands, this summer to develop conflict- resolution and -prevention skills at the seventh annual international student symposium hosted by the Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution.

The four-week symposium on negotiation and conflict resolution will take place July 20- Aug. 17, 2002, and will expose Metcalf, an economics major with political science and psychology minors, to multicultural discussion about the dynamics and prevention of deadly conflict.

"It was a tremendously competitive seminar to be accepted for, and Ben's selection speaks volumes of him," says Whitworth Psychology Professor James Waller, author of the book, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, published this year by Oxford University Press.

A resident of West Linn, Ore., Metcalf transferred to Whitworth last year from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

"Through experiences I had last year training with the Naval ROTC at Colorado and in Dr. Waller's Introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies course, I found a passion in my heart to learn, understand, and one day, work toward both preventing and stopping deadly conflict," says Metcalf, who is especially interested in learning the process of healing victims' emotional and psychological wounds in the aftermath of mass conflict.

The symposium in The Netherlands will provide Metcalf access to an international network of conflict-resolution professionals who will help him develop a diplomatic and theoretical foundation to prevent and resolve conflict. When he returns to the United States, Metcalf can share with his community the skills he learned at the symposium.

"This summer symposium is an excellent way for Ben to develop his passion for healing and reconciliation after ethno-political conflict such as genocide, mass killing, war and other forms of collective violence," Waller says.

The Institute for International Mediation and Conflict Resolution works in partnership with Erasmus University of Rotterdam and the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Program faculty include scholars, negotiation and mediation experts, current and former diplomats, and conflict-resolution specialists.

"The caliber of students attending this symposium is high, and I feel very honored to have this opportunity," Metcalf says.

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