George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) has received a generous gift from James Hoch and his family to establish the Mary Hoch Center for Reconciliation.
The center will bring scholars and practitioners together to build knowledge of reconciliation practices and apply them where needed in the U.S. and in post-war contexts abroad. The gift will fund the first years of the center’s operating expenses, the hiring of an executive director, and reconciliation research that incorporates “insider reconcilers”—people in conflict areas who understand the local context and social structures to better facilitate reconciliation.
“S-CAR recognizes reconciliation as one of the crucial areas where further research and conceptual development are urgently needed,” said S-CAR Dean Kevin Avruch. “[This center] signifies recognition not only of S-CAR’s excellence in research and education, but also our commitment to bring this expertise to the world outside the academy.”
“The Mary Hoch Center adds to the repertoire of strengths at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, giving us more possibilities to engage constructively in support of long-term sustainable peace,” said Susan Allen, professor and director of S-CAR’s Center for Peacemaking Practice and Chairperson of the Hoch Center’s Advisory Board.
The center is named after Mary Hoch, James Hoch’s late wife, who “was a reconciler in our communities, and through her we can honor global efforts aiming to enable healers and reconcilers of the world to be better understood and supported,” James Hoch said.
Antti Pentikainen, who served as the executive director of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers initiated by the United Nations and was the advisor for the United Nations’ Assistant Secretary-General on Prevention of Genocide, will join the Hoch Center as its founding executive director and a research professor. Pentikainen previously served as a visiting scholar at the Center for Peacemaking Practice.
“We are excited about the ideas and the deep, practical experience Antti brings, and partnership with United States Institute of Peace and other partners will enable him to create the necessary support mechanisms for more effective reconciliation processes,” Avruch said.
S-CAR was the first school to offer degrees in conflict analysis and resolution. Since its founding in 1980, its faculty have remained at the forefront in developing theories, conducting research and engaging in practice that brings positive change to domestic and international challenges. Learn more at scar.gmu.edu.
April 30, 2019 / adapted from a story by Mariam Aburdeineh