Social Cohesion through Creative Knowledge in Post-Conflict Societies: Lessons from Cambodia |

Social Cohesion through Creative Knowledge in Post-Conflict Societies: Lessons from Cambodia


Conflicts – domestic and inter-state – often result from differences of historically constructed perceptions and values. Analyzing the origins of these perceptions can help the promoters of peace to challenge them. Education and, more generally, activities of transmission of cultural knowledge are well known for their contribution to collective perception making. Through them, “imagined” exclusionary designs can be forged. Similarly, when societies are faced with the challenge of rebuilding themselves after a murderous conflict, particularly when past perpetrators live alongside their victims - like in Cambodia -, education and culture can bear a lasting effect in social rehabilitation, and possibly reconciliation, among individuals and communities at large.

The project to be discussed addresses the question of the Arts, the Humanities and the Social Sciences and their teaching, as producers of collective meaning promoting long term social cohesion in post-war or war-prone societies. It aims for concrete action to support educators, artists, journalists and other cultural leaders imparting to their audience creative thinking skills and, ultimately, a culture of accountability. The objective is to reinforce civil society, which, together with the state and international cooperation, is an essential factor of sustained peace and development.

This presentation, using Cambodia as main case study, addresses both the historical roots as well as the more immediate causes of socio-cultural fragmentation still existing today. Taking examples of recent civil society-originated initiatives, it then explores practical ways to support the emancipating role played by educators and cultural leaders.

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Philippe Peycam, Former Director of the Center for Khmer Studies

Thursday, 25 February 2010
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 3-5
Level 3, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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