Conferences & Symposia

Confronting Violence

Image credit Brett AmoryImage credit Brett Amory

Violence seems inescapable, but does it have to be?

“Confronting Violence,” a conference at the Radcliffe Institute, will explore how activism and cultural change can affect public policy and reduce violence.

The program, which includes considerations of gender, begins with an artistic event and discussion that features hip-hop music on the evening of Thursday, April 9, 2015, and continues with a full day of presentations and discussions on April 10, 2015. On Friday policy makers, journalists, culture critics, digital media experts, activists, military leaders, victim advocates, attorneys, and academics will explore entrenched challenges, identify successful models of activism, and illuminate ways to confront—and overcome—violence.

This event is free and open to the public.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #violence


THURSDAY, April 9, 2015
7:30 p.m.

Welcoming Remarks

Lizabeth Cohen, Dean of the Radcliffe Institute and Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Department of History, Harvard University

7:45 p.m.

Performance and Discussion About Hip-Hop

Moderator: Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of African and African American Studies and Executive Director of the HipHop Archive, Harvard University

Toni Blackman, Rapper, Poet, and Activist; Founder and Director of Freestyle Union

Byron Hurt, Documentary Filmmaker (Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes), Author, and Antisexism Activist; Founding Member, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program

Jay Smooth, Video and Multimedia Producer; Founder of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI’s Underground Railroad

Please note, this event will include graphic images and strong language.

FRIDAY, April 10, 2015
8:30 a.m.

Registration Opens

9:15 a.m.

Welcoming Remarks

Lizabeth Cohen, Dean of the Radcliffe Institute and Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Department of History, Harvard University

9:30 a.m.


Janet Rich-Edwards, Codirector of the Science Program, Radcliffe Institute; Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

9:45 a.m.

The Power of Activism

This panel will examine the potential for national and international activism to reduce the impact of violence and to improve how communities respond to violence.  We will explore established and emerging activism in three settings: in colleges and universities; in churches and religious groups; and in the context of international conflict.

Moderator: Diane Rosenfeld, Lecturer on Law and Director of the Gender Violence Program, Harvard Law School

Alexandra Brodsky, Cofounder, Know Your IX

Mitchell Garabedian, Principal Attorney, Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian

Irene Santiago, Lead Convener, #WomenSeriously, Global Campaign on Women, Peace and Security

11:30 a.m.

Lunch and Exhibition Viewing

1 p.m.

Policy Responses

This panel will examine the impact of institutional and governmental policies on the incidence and tolerance of gender-based violence. Examples will include policies aimed at sexual violence in the US military, policies to reduce bullying in schools and on the Internet, and recent policy changes in India about violence against women and girls.

Moderator: Jacqueline Bhabha, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights and Director of Research, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Flavia Agnes, Indian Legal Scholar, Author, Women’s Right Activist, and Lawyer

Major General Gina M. Grosso, Director of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR), Office of the Vice Chief of Staff, Headquarters US Air Force, Washington, DC

Richard Weissbourd, Senior Lecturer on Education and Faculty Director, Human Development and Psychology Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education

2:45 p.m.


3 p.m.

Changing Culture to Reduce Violence

This panel will examine culture and how it promotes or prevents violence. Speakers will discuss cultural interventions that may shift established patterns of violence, such as conveying new ideals of masculinity, bringing to light everyday sexism, and finding ways to confront and reduce violence through adaptations of religious traditions.

Moderator: Zerlina Maxwell, Political Analyst, Speaker, and Contributing Writer for Essence Magazine and

Laura Bates, Founder, Everyday Sexism Project

Hauwa Ibrahim RI ’09, Senior Partner, Aries Law Firm (Nigeria)

Jackson Katz, Author, Filmmaker, and Cofounder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program

4:45 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Janet Rich-Edwards

Lizabeth Cohen

5 p.m.