The Winter Camp "Crafting Peace and Justice Politics Today" organized by the Calcutta Research Group (CRG) in collaboration with the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) was held on 25-27 January in Darjeeling, India. The camp aimed to bring together and encourage dialogue among young activists from diverse areas, such as lawyers, journalists, academics, environmentalists, and peace activists, who were invited to share their knowledge and experience of working with vulnerable communities and individuals.
Of the approximately 120 applications to a public call, 15 were selected for the camp. In the diverse program––which included lectures, presentations of activities, discussions, film screenings and performances––reports on empowering disadvantaged positions based on age, gender, class, caste, migration background and affiliation with indigenous populations were flanked by information on Calcutta, highlighting the tensions that have historically developed in the city and especially the importance of migration in the city's history.
At the opening session, the introductory remarks by Ranabir Samaddar, Distinguished Chair on Migration and Forced Migration Studies and recurrent IWM Fellow on the Calcutta Riots (Calcutta Killings) of 1946, revealed the importance of knowing a city and its past to create spaces of justice within it. The complex relation between peace and justice as well as the importance of pragmatism and compromise as essential attitudes of activism were the focus of Samaddar's comments in the closing session.
The success of the Darjeeling Winter Camp, an event which reflected and reaffirmed the commitment of both the CRG and IWM to strengthening links between academia and civil society/advocacy, gives hope for a promising follow-up.
The IWM was represented in the camp by its Executive Director Katharina Hasewend and Research and Publications Coordinator Evangelos Karagiannis.
Find the valedictory comment by Evangelos Karagiannis (IWM) here.