To Chandra Lekha Sriram
At this time of year, my thoughts turn to Chandra and to her many friends and family. I never took the time to express my condolences and to share in the celebration of her life. When I first heard the news, I was in the middle of fieldwork in Africa and the shock of her passing took a long time to shift into a more useful form of grief. But I now remember her more gently, not just a visceral, heartbroken feeling that she was gone too soon. Her memory really is a blessing. Chandra was, as everyone has expressed, a remarkable human being. I met her when we were both at the then International Peace Academy (now Institute), in the 2000s. She stood out as a shining example of how to do valuable and original research on conflict prevention, peacebuilding, human rights and justice within our international policy context. Watching her, reading her, I learned much about evaluating transitional justice, and the interconnections that might be possible across disciplines and fields. I loved her reliable, relentless rigor, her sharp wit and her laugh, the people she befriended, her excellent taste in food, the way she wore black. Well over a decade later, after losing touch and living on different continents, Chandra agreed to be the faculty examiner of my doctoral dissertation at Uppsala University. Her engagement with my thesis seemed remarkably well-suited. She had an important perspective on what I had tried to accomplish, where I had triumphed and where it didn’t quite work out. She was a funny, clever, kind companion during an exhausting day (and during the long evening’s familial-collegial revelry). And still now, I’m often reminded of Chandra. Her work impacts upon how we operationalize concepts of international law and political science in the study of justice. An inspirational mentor, ‘Chandra style’ infuses the way I teach and engage students. Her writing about ethics remains integral to understanding the dilemmas we all face when we study conflict and its aftermaths. Colleagues at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, still rely upon her research and share in the memorialization of her scholarship. Indeed, Chandra’s legacy will continue to inspire our collective efforts to understand, and to build peace in a troubled world.
—Angela Muvumba Sellström
Uppsala University, Department of Peace and Conflict Research