Sarah Fizer, senior music education major from Martinsburg, WV, has been selected to attend the International Peace & Security Institute’s (IPSI) Sarajevo Symposium on Post-Conflict Transitions July 7-22 in Sarajevo, Bosnia. In partnership with the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, the 2018 Sarajevo Symposium will engage participants in contemporary theory and practice of post-conflict political transitions in the Former Yugoslavia and other countries.
During the two weeks, Fizer will train with experts to gain a deep understanding of post-conflict strategies in the areas of governance, security, justice, and reconciliation. Attendees learn what approaches have been successful, which failed, and which are beyond the reach of policy.
“The Sarajevo Symposium was interesting to me as it provided the opportunity to study post-conflict traditions in a location that has first-hand experiences with the dissolving of the Former Yugoslavia,” said Fizer. “Bosnia will be a great place to learn about these traditions and practices, as it will allow me to actually talk to the people that have lived through these policy changes.”
Those who complete the symposium receive a Post-Graduate Certificate in Managing Post-Conflict Transitions upon completion of the course. Attendees may choose to undertake additional rigorous assignments in order to earn a Post-Graduate Certificate in Managing Post-Conflict Transitions with Distinction. Fizer is still unsure as to which track she will pursue.
Students are selected by supplying a résumé or curriculum vitae and a short essay on why the student is interested in attending the Symposium and what he/she intends to do with the training received. IPSI strives to attract a diverse and accomplished student body from across the globe, especially peace and security leaders from conflict and post-conflict countries.
In gaining a cross-sectoral perspective on post-conflict transitions, Fizer hopes to expand her understanding of the subject in preparation for graduate school.
“I plan to use my training at the Sarajevo Symposium to help broaden my understanding of post-conflict traditions in preparation for beginning my Master of Arts in Peace and Justice after graduation from Wesleyan,” said Fizer.
Fizer, who serves as a WE LEAD Human Rights Team Leader, notes her work with the Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development (CCE) as a major inspiration for seeking out this symposium.
“My work in the WE LEAD Human Rights Team has been a huge influence in piquing my interest in global affairs and looking deeper into world conflict strategies and traditions,” she commented. “Discussions based around human rights and recently around the global refugee crisis has made me want to learn more about what policies and changes can be made to help people in all nations.”
IPSI’s methodology stresses hand-on experiential learning where representatives from the first world, the developing world, and conflict and post-conflict countries have the opportunity to actually make decisions faced by current leaders. Through formal lectures, site visits, and interactive simulations and workshops, attendees gain the skills necessary to strengthen legitimate institutions and governance to provide security, justice, and development and break cycles of violence; skills that are instrumental in ensuring long-term stability and preventing conflicts from recurring.
Fizer notes her Wesleyan education as an important factor in helping her find her true passion.
“Wesleyan has opened many doors for me throughout my career, and being able to attend this symposium would not be a reality if it were not for the amazing faculty and staff that have helped me every step of the way,” she said. “The experiences I have had at Wesleyan have helped me find something that I am truly passionate about, and my mentors have gone above and beyond in making sure students have real opportunities to achieve their goals.”
In addition to WE LEAD, Fizer is a Wesleyan Service Scholar and Resident Director, as well as a member of the concert chorale, concert band, jazz band, marching band, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Kappa Delta Pi.