Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reflections from the Yale Conference on TRC Archives

Eli Mungo, GTRC Research Assistant, attended a conference at Yale University last week. The conference pulled together representatives from several different truth and reconciliation commissions around the world and was sponsored by the Artemis Project. This "Managers of Truth Commissions Affinity Group" (MTC) gathering was described by sponsors in the following way:

This special MTC meeting brings together high-level staff from six truth commissions to discuss their experiences and share best practices about strategies for archiving materials and for ensuring that truth commissions’ work is appropriately accessible to a wide range of interested actors. Participants’ first-hand and professional experience will enable them to engage in a practical dialogue with Yale and ICTJ representatives. In addition, Trudy Huskamp Peterson, a leading archivist and the author of a thorough study of truth commission archival practices, will deliver the keynote address, open to the public, and join in the discussions. A roundtable discussion featuring the MTC participants will be also open to the public.

After his first day at the conference, Eli wrote to check in with the rest of us back in Greensboro and reported the following:
First day went well. Right now, we're the darlings of the truth commission world. It seems that the grassroots effort in forming truth commissions are the way to go. As I was listening today, most commissions that were started by acts of governments are having tremendous problems with their archives since they are property of the government at the end of the commission's life. There's a possible truth commission forming in Canada and they have been looking at our mandate as a model. Everyone was impressed with the many different formats that we are using for our final report. Visual attractive formats are very much in need since academia [currently] forms most of the interest in a commission's findings.

posted by: Jill Williams, exec. dir.


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