We have begun another semester of “Re-thinking Leadership” at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. This time our traditional seminar turned imperceptibly into a three-day conference marathon. First, a double symposium at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford: “The Russian War Against Ukraine: Global Implications” and “Alternative Perspectives: Actors Hostile to the West”. Rob Johnson, head of the The Oxford Changing Character of War Programme at Pembroke College, Oxford brought together the most prominent specialists from around the world to show the consequence of genocidal war on Africa, China, India, the Middle East and last but not least the West. The entire conference was topped off by Michal Luczewski’s reflection on Central and Eastern Europe, which has become a victim of the polarization between East and West (which is itself polarized between the position of perpetrator, victim and hero).
On the last day of the leadership seminar: “Therapy at War. How can we heal the heart of conflict?”, which began with our special guest from Lviv, Michel Dymyd (Fr. Prof. Mykhailo Dymyd), theologian of Ukrainian solidarity. It was a moving meditation on death, eternity and the loss of his beloved son, Artem, in the war. It provided a starting point for reflections on how to make peace in the heart of conflict. Gabriella Rifkind shared her experience mediating between Israel and Hamas, and – between Ukraine and Russia. Lord John Alderdice spoke about his experience of resolving unresolvable conflicts, starting with the Good Friday Agreements, and Michal Luczewski – with reference to Jan Patočka – spoke about the long 20th century, “the wars of the 21st century and the 21st as a war” from which we do not know how to convert.
The seminar was not possible without the support from Polska Fundacja Narodowa, Oxford Polish Asociation, Polish Cultural Institute in London, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and CRIC.