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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.

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.

Creators of Peace Circle November 2019

What would it mean to be a creator of peace in your own life, family, community, country and world?

We are inviting friends and colleagues to join a Creators of Peace Circle during the last weekend of November 2019.

For nearly 30 years, Creators of Peace (CofP) has been bringing together women 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.

Programme:

  • Friday 29th November:      6.30pm – 9.30pm: Peace Circle Session I & Supper
  • Saturday 30th November:  9.30am – 6.30pm: Peace Circle Session II
  • Sunday 1st December:        9.30am – 3.30pm: Peace Circle Session III

Venue:
Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace (GHFP),
199 Preston Road, Brighton, East Sussex,
BN1 6SA United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1273 555022

Colleagues from CofP will 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

This Circle will be hosted by the GHFP and the programme is offered free of charge, sponsored by the GHFP and Creators of Peace volunteers.

Spaces are limited, please email events@ghfp.org to request a booking form.

Download flyer for more details here: GHFP_Creators-of-Peace_Nov-Dec2019

5-step-peace-process

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

Yes Quest

Yes Quest

The GHFP has been a long-term sponsor of the YES Quest, a youth-centred project that aims to offer young people time, space and nurturing to enable them to embark on an inner and an outer journey of transformation.

The inner journey takes a young person into a deep personal development experience. With skilled support, they will face their past, fears and explore the treasures and talents within and develop the confidence and commitment to fully express them in life and work. The outer journey gives the young person the opportunity to activate this new awareness, honour the inner change and take that first step!

In a time when there are many pressures from the media, parents, teachers, music, friends, religion, the YES Quest can help create young people seek clarity in terms of how they should be to live a good life in the world and what they could do to make their life meaningful.

International Peace Dialogue Series

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.

Hungarian Life Histories Research

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

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.

 

Mapping Healing

Under the leadership of UNESCO’s Slave Routes Project, the GHFP is working with Georgetown University to launch a research project with an aim to map out the diverse conceptions and methodologies of healing (mass trauma such as genocide and slavery). This research locates the inquiry around the contextualised question: “What might constitute healing (in the context of the wounds of trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery)?”

This commitment highlights the necessity for such an inquiry especially given the kinds of harm and woundedness that need to be attended and addressed through healing processes. It argues why a mapping research should be designed as a mixed-methods investigation, and outlines the details of the intended research processes.

It is hoped that the research can help identify pointers towards a conceptual and methodological framework for understanding healing of the wounds from mass trauma of trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery.

Further to this please refer to https://healingthewoundsofslavery.org/

Healing the Wounds of Slavery aims at healing and addressing the wounds and psycho-social, economic and political consequences of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slave history. The hope is to create pathways towards personal, cultural, relational and institutional transformation.

Well-being in schools

On Wednesday 20th March, the GHFP’s Human-Centred Education team will welcome local secondary school’s Well-Being Leaders and Coordinators from across Brighton and Hove to join us for a twilight seminar on “A Whole School Approach to Well-Being in Secondary Schools“.

The seminar offers an opportunity to explore and share good practices on well-being and inclusion and to make links with local colleagues. It will begin with an inspiring keynote from Professor Colleen McLaughlin, Director of Education Innovation at the University of Cambridge, to spark discussion and raise pertinent questions. This will be followed by facilitated open dialogue and sharing, through which participants will be encouraged to develop a rich understanding and awareness of critical issues relating to student (and staff) well-being in secondary schools.

More about the Seminar see here.