Wednesday, July 7 – Conflict Reconciliation

When I received an email about IPSI a few months ago, I looked at the list of speakers and was super excited by the chance to meet some of these people – and I definitely haven’t been disappointed. But, I have to admit, the part that I didn’t think all that much about and the part that has probably turned out to be the most rewarding has been meeting people from around the world with such a variety of backgrounds.

Wednesday morning was spent listening and posing questions to William Stuebner. Mr. Stuebner has extensive experience in the Balkans including working for the US Department of Defense, USAID and the ICTY. I really enjoyed his discussion about the aspects of the ICTY and the interactions between the many players when it comes to international criminal justice. Although we clearly didn’t see eye to eye on certain aspects and certain individuals, we were lucky to have someone who was able to speak so frankly about his experiences in so many prominent organizations.

Wednesday afternoons, after our breakout groups, are free. So of course, being in Italy, this has meant a few afternoons shopping (when the shops re-open around 4). I spent the late afternoon with Katharine (US-UK-Japan), Marcy (US-Japan) and Ourania (Cyprus) wandering in and out of the many wonderful shops and hoping to cash in on some of the great sales (the big sale season started this past weekend). Ourania and I were very good at spending Katharine’s money for her, helping her find an Italy outfit for a friend’s upcoming wedding.

DSC03861 After returning from the shopping excursion, Kat and I met up with Maria and Usman (both from Pakistan) for dinner. We decided to go to one of the wonderful Indian restaurants and as soon as Maria opened the menu, she was very excited. As much as I love Italian food, I am now on 4 weeks of it, and I am a little tired of pasta and pizza and Indian is pretty much the complete opposite, so it was welcome by me as well.

It was, by far, one of the most fun dinners I have had, with so many laughs that my stomach hurt by the end of it. One of the things that made me laugh the most were the cultural misunderstandings between the two from Pakistan, particularly about drinking milk straight from the cow.

Having a great time here. Learning lots, eating lots, shopping lots.

Alison Hopkins, Canada