For the past several weeks, human rights lawyers, archeologists, forensic anthropologists students and development specialists have gathered in Huancavelica and Ayacucho, high in the Peruvian Andes, for the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team’s (EPAF) 2014 Field School. EPAF’s Field School presents an opportunity for EPAF to share its expertise and model with those working on issues of forced disappearance throughout the world.
With students from Ecuador, Mexico, Algeria, Canada, Brazil, USA, Belgium and France, it is truly an international event. The incorporation of such a wide range of countries and expertise has enriched the discussion and provided interesting illustrations of the struggle for justice and the search for the disappeared in various countries around the world.
What makes EPAF’s Field School unique is the holistic approach EPAF takes in order to assist in the struggle for restoring rights, justice and memory. Understanding that these issues cannot be separated, and are intimately connected, EPAF demonstrates its model in the Peruvian context and provides concrete experience for professionals and students to use in their future work and research.
During the Field School, the students had the ability to work with EPAF for 3 weeks exploring a range of topics resulting from the internal armed conflict. In this time, students, with members of EPAF staff as facilitators and translators, met representatives from local victims associations and family members of those that have been disappeared, as well as public officials. They also had the opportunity to witness events on-the-ground in Ayacucho, the area most affected by the armed conflict, during which they explored issues of memory, development and gender among others.
The 2014 EPAF Field School was a resounding success and EPAF looks forward to assisting more students and hosting another field school again in the future.