The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter: Reflections on Conflict and Reconciliation with Justice Albie Sachs

The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter: Reflections on Conflict and Reconciliation with Justice Albie Sachs

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016
10:30am-12:00pm
Bowie Vernon Room, K-262 in the Knafel Building, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, 1737 Cambridge Street

Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution featuring speaker Justice Albert “Albie” Sachs, activist and a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

The 2015-2016 Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution series is sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public PolicyThe Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Boston area members of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. This seminar is also sponsored by Beyond Conflict. The theme for this year’s Kelman Seminar is “Negotiation, Conflict and the News Media”.

About the Speaker:
Albie Sachs is one of the most important leaders in South Africa’s struggles against apartheid and the suppression of human rights. At 20, in 1955, he participated in the Congress of the People, where the Freedom Charter was adopted, and following law school, he defended people charged under racial statutes and security laws. Jailed for this work, he eventually had to leave the country. In 1988, Albie nearly lost his life when a bomb exploded under his car. Undaunted, he worked on writing South Africa’s bill of rights and democratic constitution and was appointed to the Constitutional Court by Nelson Mandela in 1994. His term on the court came to an end in 2009.

Winner of the Tang Prize for the Rule of Law in 2014, he is currently using a portion of the prize to tell the story of the making of South Africa’s democratic constitution and the Constitutional Court, which abolished capital punishment and ordered recognition of same-sex marriages. A prolific author, Albie is one of only two people to win the Alan Paton Award twice—in 1991 for his book The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter and in 2014 for The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law. A documentary about his life, Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa, by Abby Ginzberg, was released in 2014.

Albie is currently an Art of Change Fellow at the Ford Foundation. During his fellowship, Albie will work to ensure that the story of the making of South Africa’s constitution reaches the most marginalized person in the tiniest corner of the land. He will also seek to integrate the film Soft Vengeance into anti-retaliation and anti-bullying programs.