Panel on: IRAN, an Ongoing Case for Conflict Resolution, With Bill Miller and Joe Elder, Oct. 3, 2014

The Oberlin College Peace and Conflict Studies and Community Peace Builders organized a panel discussion on “IRAN, an Ongoing Case for Conflict Resolution.” It took place on Friday Oct. 3, 2014 at Craig auditorium at Oberlin College. In addition to J. Mahallati of Oberlin College the following two panelist discussed various aspects of the history, problems and hopes for this unique case of conflict resolution.

Joseph W. Elder (Class of 1951 Oberlin College) was born in a Kurdish region of Iran (then Persia), the son of Presbyterian missionaries, and lived in Tehran until he was 15. While a student at Oberlin during the Korean War he told his draft board he would rather go to jail than be inducted, and shortly after he became a Quaker. Joe and his wife Joanne, also of the Class of 1951, were the first Shansi Fellows appointed to India. After earning a doctorate at Harvard, Joe taught sociology at Oberlin for two years and in 1961 began a 53-year career on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin as Professor of Sociology, Languages and Cultures of Asia and Integrated Studies and as Director of the Center for South Asia. He is one of the country’s preeminent scholars on South Asia and has produced 25 documentary films on the region, many with the help of students in UW-Madison’s College Year in India study abroad program, which he shaped. He has served on Quaker reconciliation delegations following the India-Pakistan war in Kashmir and between the Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, and as a message carrier between North Vietnam and the United States and between North Korea and the United States. He is a founding member of the International Committee for the Peace Council, a collaborative peace effort by world religious leaders.

William Green Miller. William Miller has degrees from Williams College and Oxford and Harvard Universities. In 1959 he joined the United States Foreign Service and in that year he began 6 years as a diplomat in Iran. He then worked on the staffs of Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Senator John Cooper and as Senate Select Committee Chief of Staff. In the 1980s he was on the faculty of the Fletcher School and a Research Fellow at the Harvard Institute of politics, and he became President of the American Committee on United States-Soviet Relations. From 1993 to 1998 he served as the United States Ambassador to Ukraine. More recently he has been a Senior Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, a Senior Scholar at the Kennan Institute, and a senior consultant to the MacArthur Foundation and also to Search for Common Ground, which has made his visit here today possible.