Affiliated member of the WPA – World Psychiatric Association

Abstract Gerson, Janet; Tahmaz, Elma; Chawla, Rosie; Barrera, Alejandra

Peace as Relational: Regional Challenges and Approaches

Peace must be approached from human-centered, diverse perspectives. Three perspectives are offered in this workshop: post-conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, reducing aggression and engaging allies and partners in China and Myanmar, and providing an ecological economy, relational model for institutions.

Elma Tahmaz (Bosnia and Herzegovina) will address the issue of “forced peace” in the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Peace isn’t established by the mere fact of ending aggression. Not only buildings but human lives have to be “rebuilt”. What are the consequences of aggression in a post conflict society from the perspective of an ordinary citizen? How are bias motivated incidents and hate crime cases as a certain “inheritance” of aggression and war blocking peace? Reconciliation after aggression and war starts with a dialogue, but the real questions are how, when and where to start it?

Rosie Chawla (US/China) will use examples from her work on reducing aggression in Myanmar and China to show how to create opportunities in both post-conflict and communist closed societies. Her focus is on building initiatives  by recognizing and building alliances and partnerships, both local and global. She will describe how global partnerships have truly advanced her work and brought space to create peace perspectives in her field.

Alejandra Barrera (Mexico/Austria) will discuss peace, behavior, and economics  through a model of ecological economy (Arild Vatn) by considering institutions (i.e. conventions, norms and rules) from a sociological approach. This model compares  an individualistic rationality
(which is violent, unjust and unpeaceful) with a social and cooperative rationality which is just and peaceful.

Elma Tahmaz holds a LLM in International criminal law and is currently engaged in another LLM in the field of International public law. She gained experience at the Prosecutor’s office of BiH, ICTY, NGO “Under the scope”. As a Rule of Law Monitoring Assistant in the OSCE Mission to BiH, she has experience developing conflict prevention plans while working in the filed office Foca. She is a Member of the Club of Bosniak intellectuals.


Alejandra Barrera, Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Socio-economics (Ecological Economics Institute, WU, Vienna), was born in Mexico City. She earned a Master of Arts in Peace Studies, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation. Her interests are focused on bottom up perspectives ( in theory and praxis), and community work for social change through arts and elicitive conflict transformation. She has organized several Peace Encounters as well as Peace Projects in Venezuela, Mexico and Austria.


Rosie Chawla has a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution & Negotiations from Columbia University, a business certification from Wharton Business School and Temple University. She has worked in the business field for years and has been working globally, including traveling to Greece in 2016 to research Syrian Refugees, interning for the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime in Myanmar as a conflict researcher, and attending a fellowship from UN consultative agency to Palestine for the conflict between Palestine & Israel. Currently, her role in China is as a Global Projects Advisor developing educational projects on global issues.



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