Report 2016

Foreword to the 2016 Annual Report by Simon Xavier Guerrand-Hermès.

We see ourselves as a non-affiliated institution who will support holistic visions of human well-being from the spiritual to the societal in the areas of education, dialogue, and livelihood under the broad umbrella of peacefulness.
We have developed working conception of human-centred education, an education that respects the child or young person as such and which makes his or her development its primary content. Thanks to our partners, this year we have been able to develop a pre-pilot project in a state secondary school in Brighton, which is an important step towards a more complete implementation of a HCE programme. The publication of the Human Centred Education Handbook by Routledge is also a significant step in this direction. We have been able to develop a closer partnership with the China National Training Centre for Primary School Leaders, and to share our understanding with educational experts in Europe and Asia.
This doesn’t mean that the GHFP is only wedded to one conception of good education. We have supported several other kinds of educational projects around the world, including a Youth Camp in Kalimantan, Indonesia and refugee education in Lebanon.
In recent years mutual understanding has been an important focus for the GHFP. We maintain support for efforts to spread understanding of the transformation power of forgiveness, especially in post-conflict situations, through the Healing the Wounds of History project in Lebanon. However, we also recognise the need for different kinds of dialogue forums that can touch the heart of peoples’ lives, and open up a deeper recognition and appreciation of people quite different from oneself. This has become an urgent need concerning political ideologies. In this regard, we hope sincerely that our work in Hungary, which shows the transformational power of the sharing of life-histories, will be useful in other parts of the world. Because of the deep importance of understanding how different dialogue spaces can work, we continue to contribute and learn from international forums such as the UN Alliance of Civilizations and the Initiative of Change.

Furthermore, supporting inter-religious dialogues has always been an important part of our work. This is for two primary reasons. First, human spirituality is at the core of our mission because of its central importance to human well-being, to the ethical respect of others and to peacefulness. Second, this importance requires that the religious communities of the world understand each other better. For these reasons, we continue to be engaged with the activities of interfaith organizations such as the World Subud Association and initiatives such as that to create a Museum of World Religions in Birmingham.
The GHFP has a growing interest in the practical meanings of peacefulness for socio-economic institutions and for governance. In this regard, we are very happy to have been active in the Spirit of Humanity Forum, and to learn from our partners, their vision of how governance in practice can become forms of deep caring. It has been inspiring to see human values at work for instance in the governance of the city of Reykjavik.
Thank you very much to the trustees, officers and staff of the GHFP. It is my great pleasure to thank the partners of the GHFP and to extend a warm thank-you to all the organizations with whom we have collaborated this year.

Please review or download the 2016 Annual Report

International Seminar 2014

International Seminar on Memory, Trauma and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding
4th April 2014
Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace,
Brighton. UK.

The aim of this seminar entitled ‘Memory, Trauma and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding’ was to explore the healing of traumatic memories in post-conflict recovery, reconstruction and peacebuilding. Our invited key speaker, Professor Vamik Volkan, drew on his nearly 40 years’ experiences in the field of international relations and peace-related diplomacy and investigate the inextricable links between large group identity, conflict and dehumanisation of the other. Vamik analysed the formation large group identities, the shared traumas of mass violence and the societal/political consequences of such atrocities. He also examined the need to interrupt the trans-generational transmissions of trauma by healing past memories, as well as the imperative to develop psychoanalytically informed diplomatic strategies for dealing with associated peacebuilding challenges.

For discussion, we critically engaged with these topics, and examined how to remove the ‘sting’ in individuals’ memories of trauma so that they no longer serve as an impetus for continued violence.

Here are some of the questions that the seminar set out to explore:

(1) What are the effective approaches to enable individuals and groups to break away from the hold of traumatic memories?
(2) What kind of structural processes must be in place in order to engage in healing of memories?
(3) How can individuals have healthier conceptions of their group identities that do not involve making potential enemies of the other?

Professor Vamik Volkan is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine; an emeritus training and supervising psychoanalyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute; and the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Amongst his many posts, Vamik also headed an interdisciplinary team and conducted years-long unofficial diplomatic dialogues between Arabs and Israelis, Americans and Soviets, Russians and Estonians, Croats and Bosnian Muslims, Georgians and South Ossetians, Turks and Greeks and studied post-revolution or post-war societies such as Albania after the dictator Enver Hodxa was gone and Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion was over. After September 11, 2001 he was a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association’s (IPA’s) Terror and Terrorism Study Group.

The Seminar’s discussant was Professor Nigel Young who has been active in transnational peace activity for at least a half century. He is presently Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Oxford International Encyclopedia of World Peace’ (a four-volume reference work). He is active in the Balkans Peace Park Project, UK (B3P). He has authored numerous publications including six books (two co-authored), and edited or co-edited others. A co-founder of the first Peace Studies department in Britain (Bradford, 1973/4), he was also the first endowed Peace Studies Chair-holder in the USA. As Professor of Peace Studies he was director of one of the earliest university Peace Studies Programs in North America (Colgate University, New York 1984-2004) where he retains the title of Research Professor. Professor Young has held academic positions in sociology, politics and peace studies, at over a dozen universities and colleges worldwide, and was a Senior Peace Research fellow in Oslo, Norway (1981-84). He is currently working on books on Historical Memory as related to peace, and the community basis of resistance. In 20l2 he received the Dayton Peace Prize for outstanding scholarly achievement.

Seminar attendee Biographies

Prof Volkan is Founder of the International Dialogue Initiative (IDI) which aims to facilitate dialogue between representatives from various large groups, states and cultures for the purpose of learning about differences in perspective and finding peaceful solutions to inter-group relationship problems.

Symposium 2014. Charter for Forgiveness

Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Press Release. April 2014

International Symposium on Forgiveness and Reconciliation,
2 April 2014, Nishkam Centre, Birmingham, UK
A very successful Symposium co-sponsored by the Fetzer Institute, the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) and the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace took place on 2 April in Birmingham, UK.

Leading thinkers and activists from many peacemaking and reconciliation organizations gathered in Birmingham both for networking and for the preparation of future collaborative activities. The event was led by Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, spiritual leader and Chairman of GNNSJ and Co-convenor of the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation Project and by Dr. Josef Boehle, Director of the Charter Project. Dr William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace International is also a Co-convenor of the Charter project.

charter_gnnsj

The day’s agenda for discussion about the development of the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation included deliberations on some key questions and critical issues such as the role for forgiveness within the contexts of justice, reconciliation and peace-building. Please review the schedule for the symposium with a list of the presenters, chairs and moderators Symposium 2014.

The Symposium served as a springboard to action on establishing the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in 2015. The proposed Charter aims to inspire and engage individuals, groups and communities, in public processes and in private settings, appealing to humanity to practice genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, seeking justice and sustainable peace.

The proposed Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation will draw upon values, stories and examples from sacred texts and from different spiritual traditions, from religious/spiritual communities, and from the lives of outstanding individuals. With such paradigms, the Charter will direct commitment and activities towards a growing practice of forgiveness and reconciliation which humanity desperately needs in a fractured world.

The draft text for the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation is now being developed. The whole collaborative chartering process is likely to take a number of years, to allow for substantial input from a wide range of worldviews, backgrounds, expertise and insights.
The vision behind the Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation is that forgiving is an activity necessary for healing and reconciliation to take place, when seeking justice and sustainable peace.

Please also refer to the co-sponsor, Fetzer Institute Charter feature page.

International Seminar 2013

International Seminar on Healing, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
25th October 2013
Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace,
199 Preston Road, Brighton, BN1 6SA UK.

Background..
Healing, Forgiveness, Reconciliation. These concepts are often used interchangeably in discussions, for example about post-conflict peacebuilding. The distinctions between the terms is not clear by nuance, how they relate to each-other, and how such relationships are played out in the dynamic of interventions towards peace. It is therefore necessary to develop an appropriate clarity of understanding of these terms to help shape our work in fostering harmonious relationships and in analyzing the task of rebuilding communities in divided societies.

Furthermore, for peace-building processes aimed at healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, there may be a whole range of contiguous analytical factors to identify and understand.  For instance, in looking at the nature and roots of conflict, it is necessary to acquire a workable comprehension of the local cultural norms, power relationships, historical narratives and memories, politics, social policy, and religious and spiritual practices. All these invariably affect the individual and large group identities, which could further determine people’s perceptions of and attitudes towards the other, and the ways they related to each other in post-conflict societies.

Additionally, the dimensions of moral and ethical principles must also be considered in framing any emergent culture of peace, and in working towards underpinning relation-formation within the society, including the perennial tension between justice, forgiveness and reconciliation. So, showing with clarity how all these factors are interrelated can help us to determine actions and interventions aimed at healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.

There is, moreover, a wide diversity of perspectives and disciplines from which and through which a professional practitioner on the ground could approach post-conflict situations. These can be simultaneously psychological, therapeutic, socio-political, educational, communal, theological, spiritual, legalistic, or rights-based. These all require deliberation, contextual understanding and professionalism.

While such terminological and analytical complexity may fascinate us, it can also serve to obscure our ideas in theory and our practice. The complexity challenges us to reach for more profound insights into post-conflict peace processes and to work on developing deeper understanding to guide our practice.

The GHFP Seminar on Healing, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
For over a decade, the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP) has been exploring some key concepts in peacebuilding, including those mentioned above. Throughout, for example, our ‘Garden of Forgiveness’ project, the ‘Healing the Wounds of History’ programmes, as well as the narrative strands in our work, we have been concerned with seeking new understanding and clarification. We would like, at this time, to explore these notions through discussion with distinguished colleagues.

So the aim of the seminar is two-fold:

a. To develop a shared understanding and observation of these concepts.
b. To explore how this understanding can be translated into practices and actions on the ground, and what challenges and opportunities are involved.

Questions explored were:

1. Why are these three concepts important in post-conflict peace-building? Does one need to come first before the others can follow?
2. What kind of intervention work well and what doesn’t with a focus on healing, forgiveness and reconciliation help transform conflict and develop trusting relationships amongst individuals and communities?
3. Are there ways in which the same transformation could take place in a conflict situation before violence breaks out?
4. What shared understanding do we have of the three concepts for post-conflict reconstruction, and peacebuilding in general?

It is very unusual for a national government to initiate a nationwide campaign aimed at reconciliation, so the nearly twenty years of accumulated experience of the Rwanda National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) is unique and has a global importance. This is why we have invited Dr Jean Baptiste Habyalimana to give the opening presentation. At the same time, we hope that Jean Baptiste’s reflection on the Rwandan journeys could also provide a nudge to help us expand our thinking and to initiate a conversation around the key questions.

Read the notes from the seminar

Rwanda HWH Conference 2012

International Workshops on ‘HEALING THE WOUNDS OF HISTORY: ADDRESSING THE ROOTS OF VIOLENCE’ were proposed jointly by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission and the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, in collaboration with the Mizero Foundation and the Rwandan Professional Dreamers, and with support from the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide and the National University of Rwanda.

It was held at Hotel Rwanda in Kigali on June 13-14 2012. The event was opened by Bishop Dr John Rucyahana, the President of Rwanda National Unity & Reconciliation Commission.

The main aim of the event was to explore the psychological roots of violence in recent Rwanda, and to identify new modalities of healing, reconciliation and forgiveness, between both individuals and groups.

To learn more about the conference, please visit the official Healing the Wounds of History RWANDA page.

International Symposium 2012

International Symposium on Religion Spirituality and Education for Human Flourishing.
24-26 FEBRUARY 2012, Dar Moulay Boubkar, Marrakech, Morocco.
Co-Convened by Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace and UN Alliance of Civilizations ‘Education about Religions and Beliefs’ Project.

An edited book of papers, ISBN 978-1-137-37389-2 is published by Palgrave Macmillan. The book is entitled: RE-DEFINING RELIGIOUS EDUCATION: SPIRITUALITY for HUMAN FLOURISHING. Please visit the Official publication page.

INTRODUCTION : For a large proportion of the people in the world, spirituality is an important part of being human and often thought to be an essential element of a flourishing life. Today’s world is facing unprecedented challenges and opportunities, and so there is a pressing need to educate in order to develop a deeper awareness of the spiritual dimensions of our lives. In this context, we are interested specifically in exploring the part that religious education can play in cultivating human virtues and spirituality. Under various names, such as ‘education about religion’, ‘faith education,’ ‘religious studies,’ and ‘religious education,’ the teaching of religious beliefs has already been integrated into the national curricula of many countries. However, the focus of religious education is generally to impart knowledge about religions, and perhaps gesture towards some inter-religious understanding. This way of approaching religious education tends to regard religion as an academic subject, and because such education is at arms-length, the spiritual and experiential aspects of religion are not made directly available to students.
The Symposium will aim to go beyond the current knowledge-centred approaches to religious education and offers a space to discuss and debate the following questions:

In what ways can education of/from religions better contribute to young people’s spirituality and to the flourishing of their lives?
How can these contributions of religions be better integrated in schooling?

OBJECTIVES : The objectives of the Symposium are:

To establish a common platform or framework for understanding the positive contributions of religions towards spirituality;
To identify the ways in which educational systems can facilitate or nurture such spirituality;
To examine the pedagogical implications and challenges of such educational programmes;
To identify a set of good questions for further inquiries and possible research.

METHODOLOGY and PROCESSES : Prior to the Symposium, each of the participants will write a scholarly paper to address some aspect of the main questions that the Symposium aims to explore. These papers will be circulated to all the participants before the event and will serve as resources for the discussions/conversations during the event. The Symposium is envisaged to last three days. Each day, there will be plenary sessions, group discussions, and optional sessions of religious and spiritual practices offered by the participants from their own traditions.

Visit the Official UNAoC/ERB site for Education About Religions

Lebanon HWH Conference 2011

Healing the Wounds of History conference 2011 was the major launch event please refer to the official website or follow the community on facebook.com/hwharv


Under the High Patronage of His Excellency, the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr Najib Mikati, the Centre for Lebanese Studies and the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, in partnership with the Institute of Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation, have organised the International Conference on ‘Healing the Wounds of History: Addressing the Roots of Violence’. The Conference was hosted by the Lebanese American University on 11-13 November 2011 at its’ campus situated in the beautiful ancient city of Byblos, Lebanon.

The Conference explored the innovative psycho-social approaches to addressing the deeper roots of violence. The goal was to establish constructive relations between the people and communities in present-day Lebanon. Read the Concept Paper

Click here to download a Summary of the Keynote Address and the Power Point Presentation given by Professor Vamik Volkan.

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focus
to raise awareness about the need to resolve historical grievances as a step towards social harmony in Lebanon and beyond

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resource
to help people learn more about the diverse approaches to addressing the roots of conflict and cycles of violence in our society

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vision
to catalyze a process that will implement the key insights and methods from the Conference through a series of nationwide projects that touch all communities

Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh

Museum of World Religions

Welcome to the Museum of World Religions, and introducing to you this planning and co-ordination phase of a Project to establish a Museum of World Religions in Birmingham, England.
The project was inspired and initiated by the Dharma Master Hsin Tao who founded the first Museum of World Religions in Taiwan.

The focus of the project is to establish a Museum of World Religions in Birmingham. This may alternatively be named the ‘UNESCO Centre of World Religions’ or the ‘UNESCO Centre of Inter-Religious Understanding’. It is envisaged to be a world-class institution, probably in a multi-storey, purpose-built building, along the lines of the great museums of the world.

The Museum is intended to be a shared space for dialogue and understanding between people from different faith communities as well as for people of no religion or faith. It will serve as an educational resource for learners of all ages, and provide an opportunity for individuals to explore the part that religion plays in contemporary life.

Many partners are contributing both creatively and financially to this project in order to help develop its concept, content and direction.In November 2010, the MWR (UK)’s workgroup convened a one-day symposium to discuss the project’s Concept Paper, in consultation with scholars and leaders from the diverse faith communities in Birmingham.


Please refer to the Concept Paper.

Please do Contact us by email
Museum of World Religions
UK Charity registration number 1134301