Your questions about Normandy Chair for Peace

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Since 2016, the Normandy Region has affirmed its ambition for international action in favor of the values of peace, freedom, human rights and democracy. This ambition is rooted in its history and in its link to world history, since it was on its beaches that the liberation of Europe began in 1944. Many other less dramatic moments in its history are related to these values, often contributing to the international humanist cultural heritage. The region has thus marked the world history of peace thanks to its influential Normans such as Bernardin de Saint Pierre and his treaty of perpetual peace, Aristide Briand the “pilgrim of peace” or Mendès France the “decolonizer”.

The Region therefore intends to continue to make its contribution to this construction. This is the meaning of the Normandy World Forum for Peace, prefigured in 2017 by the “Normandy Days for Peace” and whose 1st international edition took place on 7 and 8 June 2018. Based on the symbolism of June 6, the day of commemoration of the D-Day landings in 1944, this Forum is an annual event of international scope.

In this context, the Region wanted the international academic world, in cooperation with Normandy academics, to participate in this construction. The proposal was made to create a Chair of Excellence for Peace, open, flexible, both academic and innovative, international and including the economic and societal dimension. 

The COMUE Normandie Université and the CNRS are the main partners of the Region, each participating in this initiative according to their own policies. The CNRS works to promote scientific excellence and the international influence of French research. It is also working to open up the French research system to the world.

Antoine Petit, President of the CNRS, and Hervé Morin, President of the Normandy Region, have decided to include the Chair of Excellence for Peace in their collaboration. The CNRS has been particularly involved in the creation of this Chair in order to give it an international scientific dimension.

The CNRS works for the scientific excellence and international influence of French research. It also works to open up the French research system to the international community and to disseminate it to society. In addition to its strong involvement in the structuring of national and regional higher education, the CNRS has decided to work with the regions to create new dynamics around innovative themes and important societal issues. It has also decided to better promote French research capacity through scientific diplomacy. It is in this context and within this framework that the CNRS Presidency has taken up the subject of the Chair of Excellence for Peace.

Antoine Petit, President of the CNRS, and Hervé Morin, President of the Normandy Region, have decided to include the Chair of Excellence for Peace in their collaboration. The CNRS has been particularly involved in the creation of this chair to give it a large scientific scope with an international dimension.

The Chair is designed to be in perfect synergy with the Forum and the annual Normandy for Peace agenda and is also defined in terms of the Forum’s singularity:

  • its freedom of tone insofar as it is not an institutional summit
  • its capacity :
    • to host real debates
    • to bring opposing viewpoints into dialogue
    • to create contradiction. 

For example, the workshop of international mediators organized behind closed doors during the 2018 Forum outlined what could be the role of Normandy in terms of mediation and international negotiations: to appear as a laboratory for experimentation between practical cases and academic research on conflict resolution and the advent of sustainable peace.

It is now time to step up and demonstrate that Normandy is a place to build solutions, to initiate the resolution of crises, and to create the conditions to welcome parties who are unable to engage in dialogue today.

The work undertaken in this sense will be continued, with the organization of a series of workshops on :

  • negotiation models
  • comparison of processes to capitalize on successes/failures: Colombia, Darfur…
  • the creation of debates in the presence of interlocutors who are not usually present in this type of event (for example, members of indigenous peoples).

These are all subjects on which the actors of the Normandy Chair of Excellence for Peace will be involved. 

For the Normandy Region, the COMUE and the CNRS, the priority is to produce high-level reflective content to contribute to the international debate and to encourage an innovative and interdisciplinary approach.

It is therefore expected that the work of the Chair will be directly linked to research on current conflicts and will question the actions to be implemented in the face of contemporary challenges. The international dissemination and communication of the Global Forum will highlight the research and publications of the associated researchers. 

The Normandy Chair of Excellence for Peace has twelve lines of research, which are as follows :

  • Processes of change of fundamental rights and legal systems
  • Good Stories
  • Climate Justice
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Education for the rights and duties of future generations
  • Environmental ethics
  • Bioethics
  • Transitional Justice
  • Legal indicators
  • CPR economics
  • Representation and Defence of future generations
  • The compass of possibilities

From three initially possible themes, the work between the Region’s services (international and research), the CNRS and the MRSH, has led to the emergence of a choice that is already based on international actions within the framework of the Peace Forum and the MRSH’s interdisciplinary research system: Peace, environment and the rights of future generations.

Peace, environment and future generations rights

The figure of future generations, inscribed at the heart of the concept of sustainable development, makes it possible to carry out a Copernican revolution and to open the legal categories to the protection of the future. 

The legal universe no longer revolves solely around the immediate relations between living human beings, but now extends to the protection of the environment, of the human condition, of humanity and of Nature. 

This qualitative extension is also a temporal extension: it has become the duty of the law, in the continuity of all the sciences seized by the ecological paradigm, to question and protect the future of the future. 

Numerous judicial advances are converging to strengthen the right of future generations. We are entering a new stage in the evolution of the effectiveness of this new type of right. It is therefore important not only to study it academically but also to accompany it in close collaboration with the judicial world (judges and lawyers) and in interface with civil society.

This theme is part of an activity already initiated at the 2017 Peace Forum entitled Acting Justly on Behalf of Future Generations and the Tony Oposa Moot Courts in which Norman students have already been involved on several occasions.

The scientific personality at the head of the Chair is expected to bring his or her vision, to share it with his or her academic interlocutors in Normandy, to imagine with them and his or her networks the modalities for the construction of reflections and the training of young researchers and students, as well as the dissemination of these reflections to a wide audience.

The Chair for Peace was conceived according to an innovative mechanism: a chair-dispositive and not just an individual chair. The advantage of the Chair-Dispositive is that it offers a robust assembly involving several scientists, associating complementary skills and freeing itself from the risks inherent in an isolated individual. A Chair is made up of the Chairholder, who designs, drives and pilots the project, a group of internationally recognized senior scientists who contribute to the project, and a group of junior scientists in the midst of their scientific careers. The group develops innovative and complementary research and training activities with an intensity and visibility that obviously exceeds what one person could accomplish alone.

This requires a recognized leader, capable of gathering high-level peers willing to work with him, and a supporting institution experienced in large-scale and innovative research projects. These ingredients are present in this case. The CNRS Normandy Region For Peace Chair is built on this logic of a robust and innovative mechanism.

A Research Chair is intended for a renowned researcher of international stature. It can have two modalities: one for a senior researcher, the other for a junior researcher. For the Peace Chair, it was decided that a senior researcher of international renown was the best modality.

Such a Chair is built over time. It is expected to be transversal and multidisciplinary, to establish a permanent creative program and to reinforce the regional research system on the chosen subject.

The MRSH CNRS University of Caen, an experienced mechanism for multidisciplinary reflection and dissemination both internationally and to civil society in the region, will hold the Chair. In addition to hosting the Chair, the MRSH is also at the service of its deployment and development.

It will organize the chair system on behalf of the CNRS, the University of Caen and the Comue. As the guarantor of the scientific quality of the work accomplished, it will associate partners in Normandy and work to create a regional dynamic.

The Chair is granted for a period of three years. It requires attention for the entire duration.