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International Network Sites

The Asch Center is working to establish cooperative arrangements with sites in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Israel/Palestine, and Sri Lanka, and we look forward to additional collaborations at other locations in the future. After completing the ten-week Summer Institute, selected Asch Center postdoctoral Fellows have received Asch Center support for one or two years' work at one of these international network sites. The Fellows’ activities during this time period are determined by their specific research and clinical interests in conjunction with the staff of the Asch Center and the particular site sponsors.

Co-Directors Paul Rozin and Clark McCauley visited these four sites to initiate what the Asch Center hopes will become an international network of long-term relationships with local academics at each site. The four sites were selected with six criteria in mind. First, the presence of significant ethnopolitical conflict, thereby providing an opportunity for postdoctoral Fellows to both learn and contribute first-hand. Second, the availability of interested and talented research collaborators and sponsors for the Fellows’ proposed work. Third, consideration of the practical issues involved in conducting research and intervention efforts in a particular setting. Fourth, the presence of ongoing research projects which could serve as a springboard for the Fellows' own activities. Fifth, relatively minor linguistic barriers for the Fellows. And finally, the very important consideration of the level of personal risk to which the Fellow would likely be exposed during his or her stay.

Thus far the Asch Center has begun working to establish arrangements for research collaboration and/or reciprocal predoctoral and postdoctoral exchanges in four locations:

Ireland (North and South). The Asch Center’s primary network affiliation in Northern Ireland has been with INCORE, a center similarly focused on the study and resolution of conflict at the University of Ulster. In addition, we are working to establish relationships with University College Dublin, through the Institute of Irish and British Studies run by John Coakley. Our focus here will be on intellectual analysis and critical support for the 1998 Agreement. Two of our graduates from the 1999 Summer Institute are currently working in Northern Ireland, one as a Lecturer at Queen’s University of Belfast and the other as a staff member of UNICEF. Professor Ed Cairns of the University of Ulster has participated as a distinguished lecturer in the Asch Center’s Summer Institute program. It is particularly hoped to encourage more doctoral candidates in psychology and political science from Ireland. Asch Director O’Leary is engaged in a major study of the making and implementation of the Belfast Agreement that will be published by Oxford University Press.  

South Africa. The Asch Center's network links in South Africa include scholars at the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. Three Fellows from our Summer Institutes have each received two-year fellowships to pursue research in South Africa. Their research endeavors focus on issues of group identification, an analysis of political violence, and the development of treatment programs for the survivors of political torture. The Asch Center has also established a program by which promising graduate students from South African universities spend a semester studying at the University of Pennsylvania with support provided by the Center. The Asch Center has also relied on the expertise of scholars from South Africa for instruction in our Summer Institutes.

Israel/Gaza. The Asch Center has established network connections in both Palestine and Israel. Our longest-standing affiliation is with the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. One of the Fellows from our 1999 Summer Institute, a clinical psychologist, was supported by the Center for a year as a consultant to the staff at GCMHP. Other centers where we have worked to build links include the Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) and the Swiss Center for Conflict Research, Management, and Resolution at Hebrew University. A Fellow from our 2001 Summer Institute has spent the past year with Asch Center support working at the Truman Center in Jerusalem. The Asch Center has also arranged for two Palestinian and two Israeli scholars to spend their sabbatical years as Visiting Scholars at Penn.

Sri Lanka. The Asch Center has established relationships with important scholars at both major universities in Sri Lanka (Colombo and Peradeniya) and also with representatives of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Kandy. In addition, the Asch Center has provided one- or two-year fellowships to two Sri Lankan participants in our 1999 and 2001 Summer Institutes. Another Institute Fellow from the United States was also awarded a two-year fellowship to pursue his research on human rights activities in Sri Lanka. Through funding provided by the Mellon Foundation, the Asch Center is currently working to establish a well-defined partnership arrangement with the University of Peradeniya. The immediate goal of the partnership is to build educational and research resources at Peradeniya, by exchanges of faculty and students between the University and the Asch Center, and by recruitment and launching of the careers of young scholars. The long term goal is to improve assistance to refugees by bringing more and better-educated researchers and practitioners to work on refugee problems. 

 

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