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Lessons of Violence and Peace

Feb. 23, 2009 – How human aggression and peacemaking have evolved in humans and their primate relatives will be discussed Wednesday evening, Feb. 25 through Friday, Feb. 27 during a University of Utah conference.

War, homicide, child abuse and violence against domestic partners are among the topics that will be discussed during the conference titled “The Evolution of Human Aggression: Lessons for Today’s Conflicts,” which is being presented by the university’s Barbara L. and Norman C. Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights Advocacy.

The public is welcome to attend free of charge; news media coverage is invited.

The conference features two keynote lectures:

  • Professor Frans de Waal from Emory University will deliver an address titled, “Destined to Wage War Forever? The Evolution of Peacemaking among Primates” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25 in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Dumke Auditorium.
  • Martin Daly and Margo Wilson of McMaster University will lecture on “Nothing to Lose? Economic Inequality, Poor Life Prospects and Lethal Competition” at noon Thursday, Feb. 26 in the Post Theater at Fort Douglas.

The conference also includes several panel discussions by leading experts in psychology, anthropology, biology and other fields. All panel discussions will be held at the Officers Club, Fort Douglas:

  • Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Great Apes, 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26.
  • Coalitionary Violence and Warfare, 2:30 p.m. and continuing at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26.
  • Hormones and Human Dominance and Aggression, 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 27.
  • Domestic Violence with Emphasis on Spousal-Partner Relationships, 10:45 a.m. Friday, Feb. 27.
  • Domestic Violence with Emphasis on Parent-Child Relationships, 1:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27.
  • Community round-table discussion on violence, 3:20 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27.

In addition to the research discussed during these panels, a number of other studies will be displayed during a poster session held at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 in the Alta Room at the Alta Club, downtown Salt Lake City.

The Barbara L. and Norman C. Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights Advocacy promotes the understanding of human rights and encourages nonviolent conflict resolution and peacemaking.  Founded in January 2006, the center is based in the university’s College of Social and Behavioral Science. The center’s previous annual conferences addressed migration, rights and identities in 2008; and, in 2007, the cultural and ethical dimensions of terrorism and efforts to combat it.

The conference Web site, with links to the full program and abstracts, is at:

An earlier, more detailed news release on the conference is at: