When Political Transitions Work

Thursday, October 25, 2018 12:15 PM - 1:45 PM

Please join the Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy concentration and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights in welcoming Fanie du Toit to Columbia University to speak about his latest publication.

In When Political Transitions Work, Fanie du Toit, who has been a participant and close observer in post-conflict developments throughout Africa for decades, offers a new theory for why South Africa’s reconciliation worked and why its lessons remain relevant for other nations emerging from civil conflicts. He uses reconciliation as a framework for political transition and seeks to answer three key questions: how do the reconciliation processes begin; how can political transitions result in inclusive and fair institutional change; and to what extent does reconciliation change the way a society functions? Looking at South Africa, one of reconciliation’s most celebrated cases, Du Toit shows that the key ingredient to successful reconciliations is acknowledging the centrality of relationships. He further develops his own theoretical approach to reconciliation-as-interdependence-the idea that reconciliation is the result of an integrated process of courageous leadership, fair and inclusive institutions, and social change built toward a mutual goal of prosperity.

Fanie du Toit is the Chief Technical Advisor for Reconciliation at the UNDP Iraq office since 2016 when he stepped down as the Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in Cape Town, South Africa. His main interest, as practitioner and scholar, is on the relationship between reconciliation and transitional justice processes in societies emerging from conflict and political oppression. In 1995, he completed a Doctoral Degree in Philosophy of Religion at Oxford University-focusing on religious truth in plural societies. In 2007, he received UNESCO's International Prize for Peace Education on behalf of the IJR, for work done on post-apartheid curriculum development, mainly in the areas of history and civic education. In 2014, he was appointed Honorary Associate Professor to UCT's Department of Political Studies.