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Apr 29, 2014

War, Peace, Past and Future

An engaged university discusses global crises and helps students build peace and launch careers

From Spring/Summer 2014 Madison magazine

Will it happen again? Spring/Summer 2014

Reports from the world's trouble spots, including the Ukraine and Syria, dominate news cycles, and those crises are frequently compared to the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s. Will a Bosnia-type crisis happen again? How does an engaged university talk about such global crises? What are the related topics to consider? Why is it important for JMU students to engage in research and partake in these global conversations?

"I challenge you to view current global events through the lens of what you learn at this conference." — JMU President Jonathan Alger

The Bosnian War remains Europe's most destructive crisis since World War II—a conflict marked by vicious cruelty, aggression and atrocity. The Dayton Peace Agreement, which put an end to the war, enjoys dubious fame, hailed by some as an impressive example of conflict resolution and criticized by others as a flawed peace agreement. Recently declassified CIA documents shed light on the role that intelligence played in national policy during this war. Can a deeper understanding of national decision making during the Bosnia conflict provide a clearer perspective for our present and future actions?

Lessons of Bosnia

In March, JMU hosted the conference "Intelligence and the Transition from War to Peace: A Multidisciplinary Assessment." JMU faculty members and students joined scholars and government officers from the United States and around the globe to present papers exploring the role of intelligence in war and peace as revealed by the declassified CIA documents. JMU President Jonathan R. Alger opened the conference stating, "I challenge you to view current global events through the lens of what you learn at this conference." His advice was particularly apropos since the conference covered topics from morality issues, religious divides, intelligence compilation, to humanitarian concerns and ethical reasoning. Learn more about conference coordinator Tim Walton and read students' and scholars' quotes and synopses from the two-day conference in Madison.