Forgiveness is a key element in peacebuilding, particularly in post-conflict countries. Forgiveness is complex and can be perceived in many different ways.

Our colleague and board member Alexandra Asseily has made an important contribution to the understanding of the root causes of mass atrocities and the importance of forgiveness in breaking the cycle of violence. Alexandra’s work is based on her many years of reflection on the individual’s responsibility in the perpetuation of violence. This has led to a widely accepted account of the significance of ancestral influences and “embodied memory” across generations in the history of conflict and trauma, where individuals can become receivers of inherited patterns from conflict rooted before our time.

The Garden of Forgiveness. The garden in Beirut (Hadiqat As-Samah) is envisioned as a place of calm reflection, sheltered from the bustle of the city and expressing themes of understanding, forgiveness and unity. It is conceived around an understanding that forgiveness is an inner journey and allows those individuals to address their own cycle of fear and so create new momentum of reconciliation and transformation.

This short film of dedication and tree-planting  at the conclusion of Healing the Wounds of History Conference 2011 featuring Jean-Paul Samputu, from Rwanda.

Please refer to this page featuring a short film of conversations featuring Alexandra Asseily, Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa of Nigeria on the notion of forgiveness during their visit to the site designated for the Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon.

URL: Garden of Forgiveness

Five-Step Peace Process. It is to encourage peace, harmony and understanding between peoples regardless of our ethnic origin or religion. It is also to help us understand how our collective memories of the past influence our present identities and how we tell and live our lives.

URL: Five-step Peace-Process

Healing the Wounds of History Training Programmes. The programme aims to first build an awareness of these trans-generational transmissions of trauma, and then support individuals and groups in their journeys of healing and transformation.

URL: HWH Training

Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation. It is envisaged to be a peace process in itself and aims to promote fundamental values underpinning the notion forgiveness. The Charter will draw inspirations through stories and examples from a wide-range of sources, including sacred texts in different spiritual traditions, religious/spiritual communities, and the lives of outstanding individuals.

URL: Charter for Forgiveness

Ara Pacis Initiative. ‘Council for Dignity, Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation’. Its members are ‘witnesses’ themselves of suffering or tragedy yet choose the path of forgiveness.

Website: AraPacis

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