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Moravian College

Sarah Naumes

2008-2009 Honors Student

Name: Sarah Naumes
Honors in: Political Science
Hometown: Ashland, OR and Idaho Falls, ID
Major(s): Political Science

Title of project: Creating Truth: A Comparative Study of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions of South Africa and Former Yugoslavia

Abstract or brief description: This study explores the use of a truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa and later in former Yugoslavia. The main finding is that while the Yugoslav commission was based on the South African commission, the commission that occurred in South Africa was much more effective because of its logistical framework and actual intentions. After discussing effectiveness, the paper goes on to make suggestions for future commissions. 
While information about the South African commission is abundant, there is a dearth of published articles and books on the former Yugoslav commission. Based on the limited information, this thesis discusses the former Yugoslav commission, but also addresses new academic territory. This thesis strongly suggests that the former Yugoslav commission simultaneously intended to portray concern and misrepresent history.

How did you get interested in your topic? I initially became interested in my topic while studying abroad in former Yugoslavia. I noticed large gaps in the reported history of the Yugoslav war of disillusionment in the 1990’s and started to question the proper means for both soliciting and documenting history.

Do you intend to research your topic further, if so, how? I will be pursuing graduate studies next year in international relations and while I am not entirely sure if I will continue with the exact topic, I believe there will be some overlap eventually.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? I am now comfortable individually conducting research, researching the same topic for an extended time period, and defending my research in front of a panel. I do not think Moravian could have prepared me better for graduate studies.

How has the department (or faculty advisor) in which you studied prepared you for the future? Dr. Olson (and the political science department) has not only prepared me academically, but has also instilled in me an ethical political science perspective. I have an advanced theoretical framework as well as practical experience to rely on.

What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? Start early and don’t assume you’ll be able to make up for lost time later on. Also, think long and hard about the decision you are making. Honors is not for the weak at heart…