The UNESCO Collective Healing Initiative aims to empower youth, especially young women, to initiate intergenerational dialogue and inquiry in communities impacted by historical mass brutality, and continued structural dehumanisation.
As illustrated by the African metaphor ‘Sankofa’, remembering the past can help recover and restore knowledge of previous generations, which not only benefits the present struggles and efforts, but can also guide our collective journeys into the future. Youth-initiated intergenerational dialogue and inquiry can enable stakeholders to reconnect with place-based indigenous wisdom, cultural resources and spiritual practices of resistance, resilience, restoration, healing, caring and well-being. Thus, intergenerational inquiry is a key to humanity’s endeavours to end cycles of destruction and patterns of violence.
By facilitating encounter and practising the arts of listening, attending, inquiring and dialogue, the intergenerational processes can help:
- Understand people’s memories of histories and how they perceive their present lived realities in connection to marginalisation, colonialism and transatlantic slavery
- Recover cultural wisdom and indigenous practices of resiliency, resistance, restoration, and regeneration
- Identify the starting points for collective healing, social justice, and well-being through place-based ‘treasures’, e.g. stories of compassion, confidence and trust in the community’s strengths, the richness of inner life, and so on
- Construct visions for a more humane and caring world
- Proposing institutional conditions for systemic transformation
Intergenerational dialogue invites communities to adapt the inquiring methodologies to their own contexts. With the support of local organisations and the international partners, and guided by scholars and researchers in applying the ethics of inclusion and the arts of listening and dialogue, young adults and community elders will capture and document community-based narratives, and present stories of resilience, healing and regeneration to worldwide audience for mutual learning.
On 20-22 November 2022, partners from six countries in four continents gathered in London for an intensive workshops in preparation for the launch of the pilots for Intergenerational Dialogue & Inquiry.
Colleagues from UNESCO, including Anna Maria Majlof, Chief of Rights, Dialogue and Inclusion, Yvette Kaboza and Lucie Seck, Coordinators of Routes of Enslaved people, and Michael Frazier, UNESCO Donors Relations, as well as representatives from the programme’s funding partners, including Dr Mohammed Mohammed, Senior Programme Office of the Fetzer Institute, Professor Garrett Thomson, CEO of the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace, and Jeremy Smith, Dean of Education and Humanities, at the University of Wales TSD, all expressed their commitment to this global partnership.