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 email@example.com.
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:
- What are the typical psychological and social symptoms encountered in communities resulting from the experience and legacies of past atrocities?
- What might constitute collective healing in these situations?
- 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.
What would it mean to be a creator of peace in your own life, family, community, country and world?
This year, the GHFP will be hosting two Women’s Peace Circles at our Brighton premises, in collaboration with Creators of Peace (CofP). We invite friends and colleagues (and those who are new to our work!) to join us during the weekends of 20th-22nd March or 2nd-4th October 2020.
For nearly 30 years, Creators of Peace has been bringing together women across the globe, from all backgrounds, ages and cultures who seek empowerment, inspiration and hope in our current global contexts.
Come and participate, learn, discuss, grow, share stories and explore how you can be a creator of peace.
Colleagues from CofP facilitate a ‘talking circle’, where all voices are respectfully heard, establishing shared values which will allow the group to explore diverse perspectives on topics such as:
- What is peace?
- Circles of concern and hope
- What builds and destroys peace?
- Qualities and strategies of a peacemaker
- Inner Peace
- Inner Listening
- Listening to others
- The power of forgiveness
- Putting peace into action
- Friday: 6.30pm – 9.30pm: Peace Circle Session I (includes supper)
- Saturday: 9.30am – 6.30pm: Peace Circle Session II (includes lunch)
- Sunday: 9.30am – 3.30pm: Peace Circle Session III (includes lunch)
Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP),
199 Preston Road, Brighton, East Sussex,
BN1 6SA United Kingdom
This programme is offered free of charge, sponsored by the GHFP and Creators of Peace volunteers.
Spaces are limited, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a booking form, indicating which peace circle (March or October) you are interested to attend.
The following 5-step towards peace process has been developed by the GHFP’s trustee Alexandra Asseily.
Step One: Taking Responsibility
The first step is to take responsibility for one’s own part in any conflict, imbalance, tension, grievance or problem with courage, honesty, and humility, even if one does not feel personally involved in conflict.
Step Two: Asking and Reflecting
The second step is to ask a number of questions, examples are given in ‘my responsibility for peace’.
Step Three: Releasing, surrendering and forgiving
The third step is to understand the power of forgiveness and compassion. By understanding and allowing for forgiveness of oneself and others, including our ancestors and our collective past, we can let go of guilt, shame and fear. We then no longer need to uphold the same grievances from one generation to another. As we forgive others, we forgive ourselves and vice-versa.
Step Four: To understand our authentic selves
The fourth step is to understand the changes we can make in order and speak with our ‘inner’ cohesive authority and thereby helping us to promote harmony and peace in the world.
Step Five: Sharing
The fifth step is to go out and share this healing process with others.
Practising this process can transform ourselves, others and our communities.
Read more on our work in forgiveness, reconciliation, peace
In 2015-2016, the GHFP and partners launched a three-part dialogue series in order to explore the nature of peace and how to apply this understanding in the process of creating a global culture of peacefulness.
The first dialogue was hosted by the GHFP in December 2015 in East Sussex, England. This dialogue was specifically concerned with building structural peace and took our innate peacefulness as a given. Therefore the focus was on the structures, systems and institutional cultures required to bring about a common political vision of peace as well as on identifying particular practices of peace and peacefulness which could lead to the transformation of individuals and communities internationally and globally.
The second dialogue, held at the Fetzer Institute in June 2016 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, explored the nature of peacefulness from its spiritual dimension and consider the realities within a given local context, such as communities, that might support the practice of peacefulness. A distinct theme is transformation through a spiritual pathway and how it might inspire us to live our lives from the inside out in more peaceful ways and towards a global transition from separation and fear to interconnection, oneness and love.
The third dialogue took place in October 2016 in Reykjavik as part of the inaugural seminar of Reykjavik Centre for Peace and the celebration of 30th anniversary of Regan and Gorbachev meeting in Reykjavik. It sought to investigate features of peaceful governance and international policies of a peaceful state. Important questions, such as ‘How might we express the spiritual depths of peacefulness within a systemic context, such as a city or a nation?’ and ‘What are the criteria for a city or a nation and its institutions to be deservedly counted as peaceful?’ were posed in this dialogue to understand political processes, including the responsibilities of individuals, institutions and communities, that contribute to the collective intention of peace.
This dialogue series led to a book entitled ‘Peacefulness: Being Peace and Making Peace’, published by the Spirit of Humanity Press in 2018.
Recognising the urgency of the fact that that unless historical traumas are processed and healed by one generation, they are passed on to the next, and realising that 20th century ideologies in Hungary have shaped individuals’ life paths and that political conflicts have prepared the ground for continuing violence by representing the ‘other’ as less than human, the GHFP has embarked on a research project that aims to get behind the ideological masks of people and restore their human faces.
Overseen by the GHFP’s Vice Chairman, Sharif Istvan Horthy, the research seeks to construct a space for telling and listening to life stories of ordinary Hungarian people who come from different backgrounds and generations. This life history and narrative process is intended to help unfold how Hungarians see themselves and their recent collective past, and what being Hungarian means to them in the 21st Century.
This life history project is itself an action research. It aims to reflect on the narrative processes and the participants’ experiences of change in their perception of self-identity, their stories and the ways they see others and the socio-economic and political situations in Hungary. In this way, the research methodology, especially through non-judgmental and open listening, seems to have enabled the participants to discover the underlying causes of current (social and political) attitudes. Whilst encouraging the participants to narrate their own lives and listen and attend to the stories of others, this action research is offering an opportunity for the community to re-vision Hungary’s social future. Those individuals who took part in the research project have acknowledged being able to see a close connection between retelling and sharing personal experiences and perspectives, and reconciling these with past traumas and the ways in which they can move forward in life and work.
Deep Dialogue is one of the concepts that the GHFP has been developing. It features the following:
- Deep Dialogue is valuable in itself which means that it is not instrumental.
- Deep Dialogue contains an implicit commitment to the equal value (and reality) of all persons.
- Deep Dialogue requires being willing to enter this space of the other.
- Deep Dialogue processes are aimed at transforming the basic self-identifications that would otherwise permit the formation of antagonistic social identities. It can enable the person to self-identify non-derivatively in more spiritual ways, that is as human.
- Deep Dialogue consists in transformative sharing, and the aim of such listening and sharing is that people can transcend the victim and aggressor dichotomy as part of a healing process. If it is successful, this may express itself as some form of forgiveness, but it need not. Entering a deep dialogue doesn’t require the powerless to deny these injustices nor to forgive them.
- Deep Dialogue makes spiritual ‘we’-ness possible which can engender a deep connection with one’s own and the others’ common humanity.
- Deep Dialogue processes can enable people to explore together the roots of violence at micro and macro levels.
- Deep Dialogue can encourage people who were formerly in antagonistic relations to explore violence as symptoms of deeper systemic causes, and imagine institutional, cultural and even structural shifts toward positive peacefulness.
The Spirit of Humanity Forum (SoH) offers a global platform for leaders and change-makers seeking to contribute towards a lasting transformation in the world in which core human values such as love, respect, solidarity and compassion become integrated in our decision-making and relational processes, enabling systemic change in organizations, communities and nations. This is part of our ‘duty of care’ for the Earth and for Humanity at large.
The Forum focuses on spirituality in leadership, and explores new forms of governance underpinned by care, respect, trust, dialogue and relationships.
The third SoH Forum, held on 26-29 April 2017 in Reykjavik, will focus attention on the urgent necessity of building and strengthening our global societies and communities as part of our duty to care for and support a world in transition, including caring for ourselves, for each other and for the planet Earth.
Project page: Spirit of Humanity Forum
International Seminar on Memory, Trauma and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding
4th April 2014
Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace,
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.