Intergenerational Dialogue for Healing and Well-Being: Partners Meeting on 20-22 Nov 2022


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:

  1. Understand people’s memories of histories and how they perceive their present lived realities in connection to marginalisation, colonialism and transatlantic slavery
  2. Recover cultural wisdom and indigenous practices of resiliency, resistance, restoration, and regeneration
  3. 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
  4. Construct visions for a more humane and caring world
  5. 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.

Hijas de la Paz Project in Amanecer, Colombia


On Sunday the 15th August, the Project Hijas de la Paz was inaugurated in Amanecer, Colombia, with a ceremony that included the local Mayor and other local dignitaries and the chairperson of Subud Colombia.


45 young women took part in a four-month residential programme, most of who are from indigenous and Afro-communities who are living in terrible conditions of poverty and violence. 11 children who came with the young women joined Amanecer Kindergarten and received International Child Development Project (ICDP) support.


The entire community was involved and provided 900 hours of training and formation. There were 16 tutors on the Programme (academic, personal, entrepreneurial, cooking, gardening), and 10 of them are residents of Amanecer. Other Subud members were acting as ‘helpers’ to the participants, supporting them in processing and addressing the deep traumas.


The Hijas de la Paz Project has enabled these vulnerable young women to feel their intrinsic value as persons, and from a place of deep quiet, they learned and worked harmoniously with the Subud community of mentors. This is how they can be nurtured into future leaders and peacemakers.

G20 Interfaith Forum Education Policy Statement 2021

“Young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future for all.” — António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

“Children will never accept a return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic because ‘normal’ was never good enough.” — Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF


In 2021, through a Global Listening Initiative, the G20 Interfaith Forum Education Working Group partners brought forward voices of worldwide children and young people in the following policy statement. It highlights five practical implementable actions as follows:

  1. SAFEGUARD HEALING AND WELL- BEING AS A CORNERSTONE OF EDUCATION
    Education is essential not only to healing the trauma of COVID- 19, but also addressing the pre- existing epidemic of youth mental and emotional illbeing. Faith- sensitive conceptions and practices of healing and well- being should be considered to enrich educational effort to this end. This is a significant step that all G20 countries can
    take for education, guided by a common objective of nurturing students’ holistic well- being through education.
  2. ENGAGE YOUTH IN EDUCATIONAL DECISION- MAKING
    Youth have a significant part to play in educational decisions that directly affect their learning, well- being, and present and future lives. Therefore, all young people, including girls and youth from minority and vulnerable backgrounds, must be respected and engaged as actors, innovators, co- creators, partners, and advocates for transforming education. G20 leaders should consider faith communities as key partners for education in this regard as many have provided meaningful support in terms of youth engagement.
  3. ENSURE ALL LEARNERS’ EQUITABLE AND CONSISTENT ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION
    To improve learners’ equitable experience of, and equal access to, good quality education requires a commitment to making digital technological infrastructures available in homes, schools, and communities. Broad G20 political partnerships and public and private investments in educational resources are key to educational inclusion.
  4. EMBED ECOLOGICAL AND GLOBAL CONCERNS IN CURRICULA AGENDA
    The world increasingly recognises the interdependence of human well- being and ecological flourishing, a spiritual understanding long advocated by global faith communities. Education can contribute significantly to young people’s deepened awareness of the need to decentralise human self- interest, and to recentre human
    responsibility for regenerating our ecological environment. With the support of faith-based partners, curricula agendas must be reformed to include and promote environmental education and direct experiences in/of nature, along with a deeper understanding of SDGs and the skills to support them.
  5. PRIORITISE TEACHERS’ WELL- BEING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND STRENGTHEN THEIR CAPACITIES TO FACILITATE BLENDED LEARNING
    Teachers’ well- being and continued professional development is essential to high quality education. With the strong possibility of future pandemics on the horizon, cultivating teachers’ capacities to facilitate student learning and well- being through online and blended media has become a key priority. Online CPD platforms and
    creative resources across G20 partnerships can serve to support the sharing of innovative practices and enable mutual learning. Faith- inspired conceptions of education and well- being can help strengthen teachers’ connection with the noble vocation.

Int’l Webinar: The Legacy of Slavery, Transgenerational Trauma & Collective Healing, 26 May 2021

26th May 2021 (16.30 – 19.30 CEST) Webinar Registration – Zoom

UNESCO Launch partnership with the GHFP on Educational Transformation and Collective Healing
UNESCO Launch partnership with the GHFP on Educational Transformation and Collective Healing

At this exciting international event, the UNESCO Slave Route Project and the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace Research Institute (GHFP) will bring together high-profile speakers and artists to launch “Healing the Wounds of Trans-Atlantic Slavery: Approaches and Practices: A Desk Review.”

This timely Report draws together the perspectives of researchers and practitioners, to map major approaches and practices to addressing the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery. It is the fruit of collaboration between an international team of researchers and practitioners, under the guidance of the UNESCO Slave Route Project and the GHFP Research Institute. The Report highlights the imperative to embark on a collective journey towards healing transgenerational trauma and the importance of systemic transformation.

Formally launching and disseminating this Report is an active response to UNESCO’s Global Call against racism. It will inspire the world to learn from the histories of slavery, acknowledge the harms of structural injustice and institutional racism, and promote inclusion, pluralism and intercultural dialogue.

Ms Gabriela Ramos, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, and Mr Sharif Istvan Horthy, Chairman of the GHFP Research Institute, will take advantage of this presentation to announce a broader collaborative project entitled “Educational Transformation and Collective Healing: Addressing the Traumas and Legacy of Slavery”. This ambitious initiative will nurture youth leadership capacities so that young people can implement a racial healing programme for building just communities and initiate policy changes to address structural dehumanisation.

Following the official presentation, an international panel of historians of slavery, scholars in race studies, and experts in racial healing – Paul Lovejoy, Myriam Cottias, Achille Mbembe, Walter Mignolo and Joy DeGruy – will discuss the key insights of the Report, including the psycho-social legacy of slave trade and slavery. They will also explore practical steps along the pathways that the UNESCO Slave Route Project and the GHFP partnership can take to empower and engage global communities and public institutions in collective healing.

The launch will conclude with an inspiring dialogue between two living legends – Marcus Miller, UNESCO Slave Route Project Spokesperson, and African-American musician and composer, and Ray Lema, the Congolese musician and composer – about the power of music for healing and cultural transformation.

Dr Joy DeGruy on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

A Narrative of Love

In this A Narrative of Love conversation, Dr Joy DeGruy explores what it feels for black African Americans to negotiate the multiple challenges of living in a racist society, including internalised racism, the learned helplessness, and structural dehumanisation. Dr DeGruy also highlights key elements that can move the society towards healing, at both personal and collective levels.

More importantly, Dr DeGruy offers pathways that individuals, organisations, and governments can embark on to repair, rebuild and restructure our common habitat through partaking in the mutuality of shared humanness. Thus we can all Be the Healing.

21 September 2020: International Day of Peace

How to Understand Peace?

At the GHFP, we conceptualise peace as an inner spiritual state that has implications for our worldly processes. Here Dr Scherto Gill, our Senior Fellow, draws on the GHFP’s book entitled Understanding Peace Holistically, and offers three interconnected ideas:

First, peace is a spiritual value. As an inner state, peace is a special kind of tranquillity where we identify with the self as the essence of the ‘I’, the soul. Hence the expression: “I am a Soul.”  The ‘I’ connects well with that which is peaceful, such as the Divine, the Sacred, the Spirit. When our spiritual self-identification is primary, it can generate a blissful serenity that defuses the potentially violent nature of inner conflict. The peaceful ‘I’ can transcend the lived psychological tensions and calm their non-peaceful tendencies. This inner state is then experienced in our relationship with our self, other people and other beings in the world. In this way, inner peace denotes our intention and capacity to be in the right relationship, including living harmoniously with others near and far. When we are in such a state of peace, we can be ethical in our thoughts, attitudes, and acts – these are spontaneous expressions of spirituality.

Second, peace is a potential feature of all aspects of human life that involve conflict. Our world is characterised by diversity, and where there is difference, inevitably there is conflict, tension, and contradiction. These are normal ebbs and flows of life and they should not be equated with violence. Hence, conflict is not the opposite of peace, and peace does not require eliminating conflict. Often, the presence of conflict can invite us to encounter, to dialogue, to engage our humanness, to recognise each other as human beings, as part of a ‘WE’. With this mutual recognition, we can transform conflict towards innovation and positive change. With this mutual recognition, we can resolve violence – not only because violence dehumanises and therefore we reject it, but also because if others are violated and hurt, one is equally hurting – that is precisely the nature of being part of a WE. Therefore non-violence is always part of peace-making in the world – It is an active striving towards love, friendship, respect and justice that denounces all forms of antagonism, violence, and enemy-making.

Third, peace is constituted in human life itself, our well-being and flourishing. Peacefulness as a spiritual value is rooted in the intrinsically valuable nature of our being. Being human is itself valuable, regardless who we are, where we are from, nor what we are, what we do. This self-perception is a fundamental form of dignity, self-respect, or self-love. Seeing human beings (and other beings on the planet) in this way allows us to recognise that all lives, well-being and flourishing are likewise valuable. Similarly, the contents of our lives, including our experiences, activities, processes, relationships, also have intrinsic value. Peace as a spiritual state directs our appreciative awareness to these values.

For peacefulness to pertain to our spiritual and non-violent ways of being, and constitute our personal well-being, and collective flourishing, it requires that our institutions be underpinned by a culture that embodies the values of respect and compassion, our public practices to be humanising and forgiving. Equally, our global socio-economic and political systems need to reflect this respect for the inherent non-instrumental value of human being, human life, and all lives on the planet.

Bringing these three ideas together, we can see that peace is simultaneously spiritual, ethical, cultural and political. Peacefulness as an inner spiritual state has bearings on our worldly processes, and vice versa.

On this International Day of Peace, when we are invited to join millions around the planet to meditate together, by quietening our minds, widening our hearts, we also open a collective space for our spirits to speak to us about what it means to make peace, build peace, and above all, to be peace.

International Seminar on Trustbuilding and Collective Healing, 30th October at IofC London

Hosted by IofCI’s Trustbuilding Program in partnership with the GHFP Research Institute, this international seminar offers a unique opportunity to meet, share and discuss the process of building trust.

At a time of increasing fragmentation, trust is diminishing around the world. Communities face racial, ethnic and religious divides, intergenerational conflict, and the rise of extremist attitudes, as well as social divisions and the legacy of war. The Seminar poses a critical question: “How can we address these challenges?”

Among the discussants will be Letlapa Mphahlele, commander of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army during apartheid times. His anger was such that he ordered retaliatory massacres of white civilians. After a radical transformation he now sees the whole of humanity as ‘my people’. Letlapa, who, until 2013, was President of the Pan Africanist Congress and a Member of the South African Parliament, is a protagonist in the award-winning film, Beyond Forgiving, which depicts a profound story of tragedy, forgiveness and hope.

This is by invitation-only event. For further information and interest to contribute, please contact events@ghfp.org.

International Symposium: Collective Healing of Traumas: New Possibilities for Peace in Communities 24 Sept 2019

Collective and community initiatives can empower those suffering from the wounds of a violent past to collaborate towards mutual healing, thus creating new possibilities for peace.

To better understand the significance of these community-rooted collective healing endeavours, the GHFP and the UNESCO Slave Route Project hosted a one-day International Symposium, at the Royal Society for the Arts in London.

The event brought together practitioners and scholars who have experiences and expertise in the field of communal and collective healing of mass traumas, for an intimate dialogue focused around three core questions:

  1. What are the typical psychological and social symptoms encountered in communities resulting from the experience and legacies of past atrocities?
  2. What might constitute collective healing in these situations? 
  3. How do community-based processes and practices contribute to collective healing? (And how would the community evaluate collective healing? What are the relevant indicators that some healing has taken place?)

Presentations included the Australia’s journey of healing through the Sorry Day marches, the Healing the Wounds of History programme in Lebanon, Foresee Research Group’s restorative healing approaches in Hungary, critical reflection on the structural conditions of healing from the perspectives of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation, the Initiatives of Change International’s Trustbuilding in the communities programme, and the Peace Charter of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.    Read HERE Collective_Healing_Mass_Trauma_Concept_Note. Please return soon for links to videos of presentations and other information following the event.