Knowledge Intervention

Mari Fitzduff

Professor and Director of the MA Conflict and Coexistence Programme at Brandeis University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

One thing I was very proud of was that in our own case, the British government would commission us and say, look, victims is a problem that's coming up now. Can you do a piece for us on victims around the world and the way in which governments are dealing with them so that we can learn from the best practices in South Africa or Guatemala or wherever.

So we very much use the international to inform the local on the basis that people who are in conflict often think there is nowhere else like them. They feel their problems are not replicated elsewhere, but there is enormous learning. Every conflict is different, but every conflict has also usually got something to offer to different parts of the world.... So what we try and do is the best learning in the field, and bring it to bear on different conflicts.

... It's what we call a knowledge intervention....

The final thing, I think is actually that learning from the international was hugely important for us. Our folk could often take many things from people who had been elsewhere. So we learned an enormous amount from, for instance, South Africa. To a certain extent the United States, in terms of some of their legal policies to do with diversity and race was also extremely important. So, we have found that we have become very important in terms of all of our processes to elsewhere. Because it is less threatening when you realize that these are problems that are shared elsewhere, and there are ways that other people are developing that actually can make it a lot easier for you in terms of where you're going.