Full Video Online: 30th Jubilee Opening Ceremony

In times of social distancing, the University of Innsbruck proudly shares a moment of social gathering: the video of the 30th Peace Studies Jubilee Opening Ceremony, bringing together an academic community from near and around the world.

In January 2020, the MA Programme Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation celebrated a special anniversary, namely the start of its 30th semester. On this occasion the University of Innsbruck welcomed the new generation of peace students and celebrate the graduation of those who have successfully concluded their studies with the degree "Master of Arts in Peace Studies". The live music of Elisabeth Jürschik (Viola), Brigitte Pfurtscheller (German Flute) and Stefan Wolf (Guitar) accompanied this wonderful evening.  

If you want to watch a sequence of the Opening Ceremony, please find each part of the program in the description underneath the video on the University of Innsbruck's Youtube Channel. The time marks in blue, for example 3:53, will guide you to your selected sequence in the video.

After welcoming all guests, Heela Najibullah and Peter Baumgartner moderated through this lively evening. Dirk Rupnow, Dean Faculty of Philosophy and History, started the ceremony with referring to the history of the University of Innsbruck. He emphasized upon the necessity of Peace and Conflict Studies as an academic discipline, as it is in process of integration into the organizational struture of the Faculty. He drew his speech on the University of Innsbruck's own history, which also faced challenges that came along with institutionalisation and the effort to realize continuity and guarantee sustainability.

Adham Hamed, Research Fellow at the Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies, presented new publications, current research initiatives and many diverse international projects, which build an academic network with partners on four continents. New publications include Lama Isamail's Masters of Peace Volume for outstanding MA theses written at the University of Innsbruck's MA Program for Peace Studies, the Elicitive Curricular Development Manual, authored by Josefina Echavarría Alvarez, Adham Hamed and Noah Taylor, as well as the translations of volume 1 of the Many Peaces Trilogy, "Interpretations of Peace in History and Culture", by Wolfgang Dietrich into (Brazilian) Portuguese and Arabic. These translations have been possible due to the valuable partnership with the Unit's Brazilian sister program Paz y Mente, as well as the  Iraqi Al-Amal Association and UNDP Iraq.

The Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies cooperates with the Iraqi Al-Amal Association and UNDP Iraq in curriculum development and capacity building for Peace and Conflict Studies in higher education. Together with nine Iraqi Universities a joint national diploma curriculum has been developed. Furthermore, 28 researchers across Iraq collected data for the elicitive peace and conflict monitoring tool, which serves as a map to unfold underlying peace and conflict dynamics. Another component of the very fruitful cooperation lays upon applied conflict transformation. Additionally, in this context the EU funded project “Protecting Iraqi Human Rights Defenders: Securing a Movement for Human Rights” has enabled two capacity building trainings for Iraqi Academics, for which Daniela Ingruber and Armin Rabitsch have joined the faculty team.  

The partnership between the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies and the Haramaya University looks back at already 2.5 years of cooperation and is based on curriculum development and capacity building in Peace and Development Studies. In December 2019 Norbert Koppensteiner and Noah Taylor visited the Ethiopian partners. Deepening cooperation with African universities is a priority for the University of Innsbruck. Therefore it recently joined the Africa Uninet, which strengthens the continuation and sustainability towards African partners. This network offers the possibilities of exchanging knowledge between faculty members, exploring course workshops, attending conferences and supporting Alumni activities.

A group of alumni of the Master Program for Peace Studies continued the evening by demonstrating that the network of the research community reaches far beyond the program itself. The alumni presented the many students initiatives and projects, including the Peace Studies Fund, the Many Peaces Magazine, the Peace Elicits Project and AARESPECT.

UNESCO Chairholder Wolfgang Dietrich, Head of the Unit, filled the room with music and presented afterwards the state of affairs and the current developments. The 30th opening ceremony marks a period of transition, as Josefina Echavarría Alvarez has left the University of Innsbruck to join the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute. Also long term program coordinator Norbert Koppensteiner will join the Kroc Institute in summer. Wolfgang Dietrich expressed the gratitude of generations of students for the extraordinary efforts and merits of both since the foundation of the program. A significant change is also the farewell of Maj. Gen. Herbert Bauer, who will retire from his position as Military Commander of the Tyrol. Ingrid Felipe, Deputy-Governor of the Tyrol, honored his services in a laudatio before he was called to receive a special graduation certificate from the UNESCO Chairholder. Alumni and members of the faculty performed the song “All is Welcome Here”, a song that the MA students first sang at the occasion of Peace Studies Innsbruck's 10 years anniversary in the summer of 2012. 

Then the students, who successfully graduated, were acknowledged and they received their diploma. These were Emina Briga (Norway), Magne Bondkall (Norway), Josefina Chudnobsky (Argentina), Mirjam Endres (Germany), Jessica Hawkins (Canada), Ana Isabel Hernandez (Venezuela), Luisa Maldonado (Colombia), Julia Michel (Germany), Phyllis Obare (Kenya), Michaela Söllinger (Austria), Mary Ann Torres Vergara (Venezuela) and Tuva Widskjold (Norway).

Jessica Hawkins delivered the traditional graduation speech "To be a Master of Peace" on behalf of the graduates, before the evening was wrapped up with a prepared surprise by the current generation of students. Finally, Sabrina Stein revealed impressions of the time, which has been spent together.

It was a pleasure to celebrate this special occasion with so many great people from near and far. We hope you also enjoy this ceremony by watching the video!


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