This exploratory comparative case study examines hopes and fears for self and country of 300 students attending university in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. Students report living in stressful societies where ethno political and state violence were the norm. The results of this qualitative study indicate that while the young people are optimistic about their life changes, they are concerned that the conflicts could re-ignite and spiral out of control. In particular, the students’ images indicate the importance of the self-society relationship and that these young adults relish the challenge of being productive citizens in their post-conflict societies.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Sean Byrne is Professor and Director of Arthur Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice St. Paul's College, University of Manitoba. He was Director of Doctoral Programs in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (DCAR) at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Byrne earned his Ph.D. in International Relations from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. He has done conflict intervention work in Bosnia, Israel, South Africa, and Northern Ireland as well as in Ft. Lauderdale. He was the 1994-95 Theodore Lentz International Peace and Conflict Resolution research fellow at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He has published a number of book chapters, as well as scholarly articles in the areas of third party intervention, ethnic conflict, and children and conflict. Also, Dr. Byrne is the author of two books Growing Up in a Divided Society: The Influence of Conflict on Belfast Schoolchildren (1997), and with Irvin (2000) Reconcilable Differences: Turning Points in Ethnopolitical Conflicts.

Colleen McLeod is a recent Master's graduate of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. Her interests include restorative community justice, juvenile justice, and conflict analysis and resolution. Ms. McLeod worked on a national restorative conferencing project in the United States with Dr. Gordon Bazemore and Dr. Mara Schiff.

Dr. Brian Polkinghorn is Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution and Executive Director of the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) at Salisbury University. He is a mediator, arbitrator and ombudsman with more than 20 years experience. His primary research is in the areas of environmental disputes, court program assessment, EEOC mediation evaluation, and conflict process model building. He has practiced in over 30 countries primarily in the areas of environmental policy dispute intervention, civil society training, including work for focused humanitarian assistance groups working in hot spots that experience massive population shifts. During the 1990s Brian was a faculty member in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Nova Southeastern University. He received a masters in conflict resolution from (ICAR) George Mason University, as well as a masters and doctorate from Syracuse University (PARC) and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University (PON).


Bosnia-Herzegovina, case study, Northern Ireland, societies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, state violence. stress, young adults

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