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May 24, 2001 Workshop in Africa on children's rights in wartime



by Barbara Black

Political Science professor Peter Stoett has won the opportunity to attend a workshop this summer in southwest Africa.

He will be at Windhoek University in Namibia for two weeks in August, discussing international humanitarian intervention with 19 other scholars from around the world.

Dr. Stoett will focus specifically on the rights of children during wartime, a topic which he plans to examine in an upcoming book. “This will give me some depth, as well as a chance to network with Africans and others affected by war zone situations,” he said.

Stoett’s trip is courtesy of the Academic Council of the United Nations and the American International Law Society. Every year, these bodies sponsor a thematic scholarly workshop, and hold a competition. Expenses for the winning candidate are paid for by the Law Society.

Dr. Stoett has been teaching at Concordia for three years; previously he taught at the University of Guelph and the University of British Columbia. He earned his PhD in 1994 at Queen’s University.

This is not his first visit to Africa. Last year he went to a conference on environmental problems and endangered species in Nairobi, Kenya, and paid a brief visit to the war crimes tribunal in Tanzania, which is examining charges from the 1994 massacre in Rwanda.

He looks forward to this trip, because it means a lot to be closer to the site of these challenging problems.

“Only two weekends ago, UNITA, the rebel group in Angola—only four hours from where I’m going to be—raided an orphanage, killing 40 children and taking 40 children hostage,” he said soberly.

“It’s an ugly topic, but an important one. I teach a course in human rights, and I find that the students are very receptive to information about these problems.”