IFIFT & FAFG Multidisciplinary Field School: Forensic Investigations: The Internal Armed Conflict and Post-Conflict in Guatemala

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1 & FAFG Multidisciplinary Field School: Forensic Investigations: The Internal Armed Conflict and Post-Conflict in Guatemala

2 Guatemala, Central America Guatemala has gone through several political, economic and social transitions over the last 60 years, prominently marked by violence and repression towards its citizens. The CIA backed military coup d état in 1954 that saw democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz overthrown, marked the beginning of Guatemalan involvement in the crusade against Communism during the Cold War. In 1962 with the memory of the coup still fresh, unrest rose once again in Guatemala, and what followed was a 36-year armed conflict between armed forces and the guerilla movement. This armed conflict was characterized by counterinsurgency which left approximately 200,000 dead, more than 45,000 disappeared, 70,000 widows and over 1,500,000 displaced (REMHI 1998; CEH 1999).

3 On December 29, 1996 the Peace Accord was signed and officially ended the long period of violence. Unfortunately, the early 1990s saw Guatemala enter a new era of violence, making the country one of the most violent in Central America. The goal of this four week long /FAFG field school is to provide the opportunity for students to participate in a real world atmosphere of human rights work. Students will work alongside individuals actively involved in forensic archaeology, forensic anthropology, social anthropology, DNA sampling, and will also have the opportunity to speak with survivors of the armed conflict. The () is an organization that connects individuals and institutions with the purpose of collaborative field and research opportunities in an inter/multidisciplinary capacity; providing hands on experience in human rights, and human development through a community focused approach.

4 The Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala, FAFG) is a non-governmental, autonomous, technical-scientific, not-for-profit organization that contributes to the strengthening of the justice system and to the respect for human rights through the investigation, documentation, dissemination, education and awareness raising regarding the historic violations of the right to life and the cases of non-clarified deaths. The FAFG also produces expert reports and conducts scientific investigations, applying both forensic and social sciences at a national and international level. For Whom All undergrad and graduate students in Anthropology, Geography, First Nations Studies, International Studies, Women s Studies, History, Economics, Psychology, and Political Science students among others interested in Indigenous issues, gender, human rights, solidarity and activism. Language of the Field School English Translation of Spanish-English, will be provided by FAFG facilitators for all lectures, meetings and presentations when necessary. COURSE OBJECTIVES The goal of this field school is to work with participants in an applied capacity to impart how inter/multidisciplinary fields collaborate in the investigation of Human Rights violations, as well as in the process of the examination, recovery and analysis of mass graves. CONTENT AND SCHEDULE Prior to arrival in Guatemala participants will receive readings on the culture, politics and recent history of Guatemala, as well as information on the legacy of human rights violations in the country. *Participants will have the weekends off; however /FAFG will have organized activities for participants such as visiting volcanoes, Lake Atitlan, possible visit to the beach on the Pacific Coast.

5 Week 1: November 4-8 During the first day participants will receive an introductory lecture on the various aspects to be considered in the forensic work related to Human Rights violations. This week, participants will meet with members of the families of the disappeared. Participants may also have meetings, and interviews with important actors from Human Rights organizations, including members of the FAFG.

6 Week 2: November This second week focuses on the use of forensic archaeology in the process of exhumation. Participants will participate in initiating investigations: locating, mapping and surveying burial sites; as well as documenting the exhumation process from beginning through to the end: packing artifacts, human remains, and learning how and the importance of maintaining the chain of custody. Week 3: November Participants will be working in the lab setting of the FAFG, examining the biological profile of the remains to determine sex, age, height, ancestral patterns and means and mode of trauma. Participants will be cleaning remains and artifacts found at exhumation or mass grave sites.

7 Week 4: November This week participants will see other means to identify human remains, receiving an introductory seminar into DNA analysis. Participants will learn how the FAFG approaches survivors, using their DNA information to compare with the thousands of remains that were victims of extrajudicial killings, and disappearances, and how this science can be used only on some of the victims. This week participants will meet with the officials from the Canadian Embassy. Being the final week, participants will have an opportunity for a debriefing on their experiences with members of the FAFG, and family member of the victims. *The FAFG is a transparent organization, family members of victims of extrajudicial killings, and disappearances may be on location at exhumation sites and may visit the FAFG regularly.

8 APPLICATION PROCESS, COSTS, DATES AND OTHER INFORMATION The Application process for the field school consists of: completing the application form completing the WAIVER OF LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK submit the application form and waiver to the field school address: once applications have been reviewed, participants will be contacted via one week after the application cut off date of August 19 th, Once you have received notification of acceptance, and we receive your confirmation of acceptance a non-refundable deposit of $ USD is required to secure your position in the field school. Once you have sent your confirmation an account # will be sent to you where you can submit your deposit and consecutive payments.

9 Costs - Field School The cost for each participant is $ USD ($ USD per day). To ensure your place on the field school a $ USD non refundable deposit is due by August 30 th, A second payment of $ USD is due September 16 th, 2013, and the final payment of $ USD is due October 14 th, Cost of the field school include: Accommodations: Participants will be staying in a house, and will share spacious rooms (3 or 4 to a room). There are bunk beds, and multiple shared washrooms. Bedding will be provided but it is recommended you bring your own towel, should you be particularly accustomed to a large and fluffy one! Toiletries are available in town, but again, if you are partial to certain exotic brands bring enough for the duration. When we go into the field, be prepared for the most basic of conditions. There will be laundry facilities at the house. Meals: Three meals per day are included for the entire duration of the field school Transportation: Transportation to and from the airport, as well as for any field trips or weekend excursions will be provided for the duration of the field school. **AIRFARE AND TRAVEL INSURANCE IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE FIELDSCHOOL COST **It is mandatory that all participants purchase travel insurance, as the /FAFG are not responsible for cancelled or changed flights due to inclement weather or instability in the country.

10

11 Experience of Facilitators FAFG the FAFG has been conducting exhumations in Guatemala for nearly twenty years. The members of the FAFG have worked internationally on cases of genocide, and extrajudicial killings in countries such as Kosovo, El Salvador, Bosnia, Iraq, Honduras among others. To date the FAFG has consolidated itself as the most renowned entity within the area of forensic anthropology, recognized in the governmental, non-governmental, national and international realms. The transparency of the FAFG along with their experience in the field enables them to work in collaboration with Indigenous communities. Ideas for Funding and Course Credit Sources of scholarships for this field school may be available through your university, graduate programs, Department of Education, and other local and national grants. Often university students have combined the field school as a special topics or independent study course with faculty members from their university. If you are interested in doing courses for credits with your university, you need to involve the facilitators of the field school with your studies.

12 READ ABOUT THE EXPERIENCES OF PAST PARTICIPANTS: The first /FAFG collaborative field school was conducted July 1 to 26, Participants of this initial phase experienced the exhumation process, forensic analysis, the process of DNA collection, as well as the collection of testimonies of survivors of the armed conflict. This effort saw international students witnessing the process of investigation into human rights violations. Here you will read about the experiences of some students from England, Germany, Chile, United States, and Canada. I have been on other field schools in the past and have taken a lot of anthropology classes, but I have never learned this much in a single month. This field school is truly unique in that we could gain some hands-on experiences in more than one sub-field of anthropology. It was a very emotional experience, but worth every minute of it. Elise Geissler, MA, Georgia State University

13 The field school provided a hands-on opportunity to experience the /FAFG s multidisciplinary approach to uncovering truth, memory and justice in Guatemala. Learning from the expertise of the /FAFG staff and the experiences of families of victims of the conflict, this invaluable opportunity exposed us to the many aspects of forensic investigations, and allowed us to begin to understand the complexity of human rights investigations in Guatemala. Tamara Hinan, PhD Candidate, The University of Western Ontario. The /FAFG Multidisciplinary Field School: Forensic Investigations: The Internal Armed Conflict and Post-Conflict in Guatemala has been an incredibly transformative experience. The /FAFG offers through expert instruction from active professionals by using operational human rights cases. From mass and individual grave exhumations to eyewitness interviews, forensic laboratory investigation to DNA analysis and case management strategy the /FAFG s distinctive multidisciplinary approach facilitates an insight that is available only

14 in Guatemala due to the country s unique history and the FAFG s contemporary solidarity. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to participate; this field school has acted as a powerful academic asset while simultaneously providing a rare instruction on how forensic anthropology can bolster hope within individuals and populations by mending broken judicial systems. Matthew Ryan Bond, B.Sc. Anthropology, Weber State University. CONTACT INFORMATION For questions, comments, or additional information please write to: Cristian M. Silva Zuñiga, BA, MA Director and Coordinator, Skype: cachilean Cell:

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