Cost of War Conference (Cost of War)

Venue: Liverpool Hope University

Location: Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom

Event Date/Time: Jun 17, 2009 End Date/Time: Jun 20, 2009
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The First International Conference of the Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace: June 17-20, 2009, Liverpool Hope University Campus.

A major priority in war and peace studies is to document the harmful costs of wars, particularly current ones. While many assessments have been conducted, this conference will be unique in its comprehensive interdisciplinary account, particularly for the war in Iraq. It is also distinctive in featuring an interwoven strand on Arts of War, where current musical, artistic, and literary creations will be performed and exhibited.

From the full range of the conference presentations, researchers and practitioners in their separate disciplines, and citizens in the public arena, will be able to appreciate, as seldom heretofore possible, the full breadth and scope of the harms.

It is also clear that the full extent of these costs will escape the attention of the international community, and will fail to influence policy, unless they are comprehensively documented, rigorously peer-reviewed, and concisely presented. The Centre will devote significant resources toward communicating the conference findings to the international community through news media, publications, and exhibitions.

Keynote for the Conference - Juan Cole, PhD, University of Michigan, USA.
On the long lasting damage to world peace from the harms of the Iraq war. Fluent in Arabic and Farsi, with long experience in the Middle East, Professor Cole is widely appreciated as a distinguished scholar and interpreter of Middle East history, religion, and politics.

His blog Informed Comment at is appreciated as one of the major influences in changing American public opinion about the war in Iraq. His recent scholarly book Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East depicts that first of many unsuccessful Western military invasions of the Arab world in, drawing striking parallels with the US/UK invasion of Iraq. His forthcoming book, Engaging Muslims, is expected in April of 2009.

Keynote for the Arts Strand - Jean Said Makdisi, Lebanese Republic.
How the full costs of war are experienced in art and literature, not simply in epidemiology or economics. Born in Jerusalem of Christian heritage, sister of the late Edward Said, and long time resident and university teacher in Beirut, she is acclaimed worldwide for her intense literary contributions.

Her Beirut Fragments: A War Memoir has been widely praised as a timeless portrayal of the impact on civilians in war zones, and her Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women has been equally widely appreciated as an extraordinarily beautiful family portrait of life and war in the Middle East.

Keynote for the Human Costs Theme - Naeema Al-Gasseer, PhD, World Health Organization Representative for Iraq.
On health consequences of the war in Iraq. A native of Bahrain, Dr. Al-Gasseer has broad experience in field work and scholarly documentation of public health impacts in war zones. In her current assignment, she directs a staff of over 100 persons, addressing both the physical and mental health catastrophe that has befallen Iraq.

In addition to her scholarly reputation for publications on public health realities in Iraq, she has gained wide respect for her unflinching devotion to empirical facts and her astonishing courage in the field, visiting needy persons and communities all over Iraq, despite severe dangers and threats.
Stuart Gordon, PhD, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
On the distinct responsibilities of military occupation forces for establishing and maintaining peace in the territories they occupy. Dr. Gordon was a British army officer in Iraq and leader of the Coalition effort in reconstruction. His publications on peacemaking and human rights in war zones extend across three continents. He will be joined in a panel on the Threat to International Law, by Jim Whitman, PhD, from the Department of Peace Studies of the University of Bradford and Bjorn Muller-Wille, PhD, also from Sandhurst.

Olusegun Ilesanmi, PhD, JD, Wake Forest University, USA
On war, religion, and human rights. A native of Nigeria, he holds degrees in religious et hics and in law, and has distinguished record of publications in international law, war crimes, human rights, and the inter-relation of religion and politics in Africa. He is a fellow of the Yale University/Pew Project on Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa.
Brian Rappert, PhD, and Richard Moyes. University of Exeter.
On the unexpectedly high cost of cleanup in war zones, e.g. as in the case of left over, unexploded, cluster munitions. Dr Rappert is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Public Affairs. He is a vigorous contributor to national and international deliberations regarding the proactive estimation of the costs of war.

George Gericke, MD, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa.
On wartime damage to the human genome in soldiers and civilians on both sides of current conflicts, and on the potential for passing that damage to their descendents. Professor Gericke is a pediatrician and geneticist with strong clinical and research experience in populations suffering diverse stresses.

Basil Pillay, PhD, The Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in South Africa.
On the long lasting costs in mental health and social stability that are caused by inter-group violence. He served as a consultant to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, and he heads one the largest clinical psychology service delivery programs in the world. His experience, publications, and lectures have gained worldwide acclaim.

Marcel Kinsbourne, DM Oxon, New School University, USA
On neurotoxic injuries in war zones. He is a pediatric and behavioural neurologist and professor in graduate studies in psychology at The New School, in New York. A native of Austria, he and his family fled to the UK in a narrow escape from the Holocaust.

Micheal O’Siadhail, Dublin
One of Ireland’s leading poets, he will deliver an extended reading from his famous The Gossamer Wall: Poems in Witness to the Holocaust.

Thomas Hall’s The Song of the Wall, directed by Dr. Victor Merriman.
Thomas Hall’s new drama The Song of the Wall will have its world premiere performance during the conference. The performance will be directed by Victor Merriman, Head of Drama and Theatre Studies at Liverpool Hope University.

Call for Papers.
The Centre solicits both scientific and artistic submissions. Acceptance for conference presentation will be based solely on review by a distinguished international scientific peer panel and artistic jury—who are blind to the author or source of the submission. The guiding principle for the review of submissions is that scientific submissions be empirical and the arts based submissions be honest depictions of the human experience. While it is hoped that the submissions will ultimately inform policy decisions by governments and individuals, those policies are not themselves the agenda of this conference.

Scientific Submissions:
• Should represent empirical research from 21st century zones of armed conflict, especially Iraq (the conference’s main focus).
• May well address war zones other than Iraq, preferably if at least one party is a UN member state and if the evidence is suitably documented.
• May address harms that occurred to either side of an armed conflict or subsequent military occupation.
• Should document costs and harm using state-of-the-art scientific standards.

Submissions considering the following categories are particularly welcomed:
• Deaths, however counted and estimated.
• Resurgent or newly emerging physical or psychiatric disease or conditions if plausibly related to the conflict or its aftermath).
• Dissolution or weakening of specific religious/ethnic communities, and of general social cohesion.
• Destruction or pillage of cultural institutions.
• Degradation of infrastructure; decline of productivity; loss of economic opportunity; and waste of resources.
• Adverse impacts on, and displacement of individuals/social groups.
• Adverse impacts on the locales to which displaced people flee.
Artistic Submissions:
• May depict the costs felt in the war zones mentioned above, or other armed conflicts.
• May arise from grievances around specific acts of violence, but must depict the cost felt in broadly relevant terms.
• May be presented in any of the full range of Arts and Humanities disciplines; literary, musical, visual, graphic, sculptural, or performing arts.
Defining the Future Research Agenda
The Centre is committed to the widest possible publication and interpretation of the evidence base and the art that is presented at the conference. Reviews of the entire conference will be conducted both by the Board of International Advisors and an independent Student Panel. A question of major interest will be the degree of overlap or divergence between the conclusions of the International Board and the Student Panel reviews. Experience suggests the student review may add perspectives otherwise lost. The final goal of both reviews will be the definition of future research priorities.


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Additional Information

Contact Details: Mr. C. Brown (administrator) FML065 Liverpool Hope University, Taggart Avenue, Liverpool, L16 9JD Tel: 0151 291 3516 E-mail: e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it