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Journal of Genocide Studies and Prevention Special Issue: Mass Atrocity and Collective Healing

This Special Issue brings together five articles from different disciplines. It aims to contribute to the emergent critical voices in research about collective trauma and collective healing by introducing novel perspectives and inviting further debates on the relevant issues evoked. For this reason, the Special Issue focuses on collective healing through a number of prisms. First, it delves into the notions of wounding and trauma, with a view to advance a well-argued theoretical framework for understanding collective healing. Second, it identifies underlying ethical pillars for collective healing, especially the principles of equality and well-being that affirm human dignity founded on our intrinsic non-instrumental value as persons. Third, it interrogates one of the deeply seated root causes of transatlantic slavery, and establishes a connection between capitalist expansion and systematic subjugation of human beings to brutal forces for the sake of materialistic production and wealth accumulation. Thus, this Special Issue attempts to survey historical dehumanisation in some of the mass atrocities, probe their continued legacies in contemporary societies in Africa, Europe, and the Americas, and highlight some of the political, psycho-social and grassroots approaches to collect healing in various contexts. In doing so, it further reflects on the conceptual, methodological and structural challenges involved when moving towards collective healing.

Click HERE to download the full issue.

11-12 May 2022 Int’l Symposium on African Endogenous Governance

“Revisiting Theories and Practices of Endogenous Governance in Africa” Co-Convened by Afrospectives and Global Humanity for Peace Institute will take place on Zoom on 11-12 May 2022 at 14.00 – 18.00 UK (Summer) Time. Register HERE in advance for this event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Read about the Symposium below. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SYMPOSIUM FLYER.

Africa, the continent where humanity created its first communities, has always had rich philosophies, wisdom and praxis aimed at developing humanising systems of governance through regulating power, enriching social interactions, distributing resources fairly, and harmonising human’s relationships with nature and other non-human entities. Examples of this rich heritage include the political traditions of Ubuntu of the Bantu peoples, the Kurukan Fuga Charter of the Mandingos, the Xeer of Somalis, the Gacaca in Rwanda, the Gada of Oromos and the Madqa of the Afars, to name but a few. Africa is also home to incredibly diverse socio-political organisations ranging from multi-ethnic and multi-cultural empire structures to small homogeneous community formations. It is the continent par excellence where sophisticated methods of consensus-building, conflict transformation, and relational reconciliation have been elaborated.

More than 60 years after formal independence, the legacies of coloniality that have perpetuated the prejudices, toxic viewpoints and dehumanising behaviours inherited from colonial domination continue to shape the worldviews and imaginations of African decision-makers. In most African countries, political and institutional mimicry of the ruling classes has led to the emergence of fragile nation-states, unsustainable socio-political and economic structures and inappropriate governance policies, all based on Western paradigms. In this context, some countries such as Botswana, Rwanda and Somaliland, have initiated interesting experiments to revitalise indigenous and traditional values and practices in response to people’s needs. 

To explore these significant examples of endogenous (vs. exogenous) government systems within the African continent, we are proposing an international symposium, co-convened by the think-tank Afrospectives and the Global Humanity for Peace Institute. The Symposium will bring together high-level panellists who are African scholars, experts and practitioners, including:  

  • Scholars who have done research in the field of concrete systems of governance in Africa
  • Experts who have studied policies and practices of traditional governance in Africa at all levels
  • Thinkers who have been reflecting on the relevance of African endogenous humanist and political philosophies and their contribution to Africa and to humanity

The panelists and participants will be invited to:

  • Present the result of their field-research on endogenous systems of governance;
  • Identify and discuss specificities and  communalities and complementarities between different governance systems in Africa;
  • Present and analysis examples of revitalisation and modernisation of traditional systems of governance to respond to current needs;
  • Discuss the contribution that African endogenous visions and perspectives on governance could make to the current crisis;
  • Define some guidelines for African countries willing to revitalize their indigenous systems of governance.

Together, the panellists and the participants will identify inclusive forms of community decision-making aimed at consensus building, especially those demonstrating respect for diversity, mutual listening, dialogue, and understanding. Practices highlighted are those rooted in values that are more deeply human, more communitarian, and more in tune with the spiritual nature of human life. Thus the examples to be explored can help re-envision the contribution of traditional African governance practices to the emergence of contemporary Africa approaches to democracy.

Register HERE in advance for this event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Read HERE about the speakers, their bios and the abstracts of their presentations.

Global Humanity for Peace Institute

On 18th November 2021, Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, and University of Wales (Trinity St David) jointly launched Global Humanity for Peace Institute. The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Medwin Hughes, and the Chairman of the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace, Mr Sharif Istvan Horthy, will be leading the Institute’s Board of Directors. Scherto Gill has been appointed as the Institute’s inaugural Chair and Director. She will be facilitating its ongoing programmes and activities. 

The following will be the focus of Global Humanity for Peace Institute:

  • Fostering collective healing (including healing the wounds from past atrocities and the wounds of our planet), enriching community regeneration, and advancing social justice and global solidarity;
  • Developing UNESCO Academy for empowering youth leadership, nurturing youth transformative competences and providing professional development opportunities to facilitators of collective healing and community regeneration;
  • Harmonising holistic human well-being with our planet’s flourishing, and supporting the development of governance processes that are values-based, dialogue-centred, and well-being sensitive;
  • Encouraging educational transformation and inspiring a culture of caring in educational institutions;
  • Creating spaces for deep encounter, deep listening, and deep dialogue for engendering greater harmony amongst all that is.

All these activities will be closely aligned with UNESCO’s objectives.

Challenges for White Liberals – Rob Corcoran’s blog

In his most recent blog, Rob Corcoran asks: “Is it possible that the biggest obstacle to racial equity is white liberals who resist risking these privileges and who focus more on performative anti-racism and cultural battles?” He then investigates how structural racism in the US, such as unequal public education finances, and unconscious white supremacist ideologies are at root of challenges to true racial equity.

Read the full blog here: https://www.robcorcoran.org/2021/07/21/challenges-for-white-liberals/

26th May 2021 UNESCO Webinar: The Legacy of Slavery, Transgenerational Trauma & Collective Healing

At this exciting international event, the UNESCO Slave Route Project and the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace Research Institute (GHFP) brought together high-profile speakers and artists to launch “Healing the Wounds of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery: Approaches and Practices: A Desk Review.” This timely Report draws together the perspectives of researchers and practitioners to map major approaches to addressing the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery. It was 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, took the opportunity of this presentation and announced a broader collaborative project entitled “Educational Transformation and Collective Healing: Addressing the Traumas and Legacy of Slavery”. This ambitious initiative aims to 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, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, offered his support for this initiative.
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 – discussed key insights of the Report, including the psycho-social legacy of slave trade and slavery. They also explored practical steps along the pathways that the UNESCO Slave Route Project and the GHFP partnership might take to empower and engage global communities and public institutions in collective healing.
The launch concluded 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.

Watch the recording of the UNESCO Launch event here:

Panel Dialogue: “Owning Slavery, Pursuing Justice, Seeking Reconciliation: Lessons from Georgetown and the U.S. Jesuits”

This is a panel dialogue that took place online on April 29, 2021. The background is that in 1838, the Jesuits sold 272 enslaved people, including men, women and children. This was the largest single sale of enslaved people in human history. Some of the proceeds were used to support the development of Georgetown University.

In 2015, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia established a Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which led to dialogue with and apology to Descendants and key efforts to address the legacy of slavery and overcome racism at Georgetown, in Washington, and beyond. On March 15 of this year, U.S. Jesuits and descendant leaders announced the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation, which will support the educational aspirations of Descendants of Jesuit slaveholding and racial healing efforts in the United States.

At a time of national reckoning on racism and dialogue on how to pursue justice, this Initiative Dialogue explored personal, religious, and institutional responsibilities for the legacy of slavery and the reality of structural racism. The dialogue around institutional responses to enslavement has raised important questions, offered new possibilities for collaboration, and new paths forward for our nation and the U.S. Catholic Church.

Dr Joy DeGruy on How to Address the Legacy of trans-Atlantic slavery

In this A Narrative of Love conversation, the UNESCO Slave Route Project Advisor, 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.

Large-Group Psychology: Racism, Societal Divisions, Narcissistic Leaders, and Who We Are Now

A new and updated exploration of large-group psychology from world-renowned psychoanalyst Dr Vamik D. Volkan. This timely book investigates the underlying psychology of the societal divisions occurring in the world and includes the author’s personal observations and experiences of racism as a ‘voluntary immigrant’ to the US over six decades ago. Large-Group Psychology: Racism, Societal Divisions, Narcissistic Leaders and Who We Are Now is an immensely readable book, written in a beautifully clear and jargon-free prose.

Large-Group-Psychology_Racism-Societal-Divisions-Narcissistic-Leaders_and-Who-We-Are-Now

This is a must-read and provides illuminating ideas in terms of how we might understand the significance of healing the wounds of collective historical trauma such as trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery.

Desk Review Report: Mapping Approaches to Healing the Wounds of Slavery

Supported by the UNESCO Slave Route Project, the GHFP has completed a Desk Review aimed at mapping meaningful approaches to healing the wounds of slavery.

The Desk Review draws on a conception of healing wounds that perceives the wound of trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery as systematic dehumanisation. This in turn highlights the imperative of healing as addressing dehumanisation through four processes:

  • Process One is directed at dehumanising acts per se;
  • Process Two is directed at the traumatic effects of being dehumanised;
  • Process Three is directed at the dehumanising relationships; and
  • Process Four is directed at the structural conditions that enable and have enabled institutionalised dehumanisation.

In reviewing the relevant literature and case studies, the Desk Review has mapped out some of the key practical approaches to healing. Understanding the significance of collective healing and taking practical steps towards healing are amongst the most powerful ways to eradicate racism.

Remembering the unremembered: A Key to Healing

In her review of Toni Morrison‘s book “Beloved”, Dr Scherto Gill suggests that one of the book’s features be that it allows us to remember the unremembered, and reminds us of the need to face the oppressed collective memories of slavery.  Without embracing these memories, the unremembered continues to hold our societies, and we live simultaneously in the present and in the past.

Dr Gill says:

Clearly, the unremembered is never forgotten, and they wear different guises today in racism, poverty, and violence, the three evils of structural oppression identified by Martin Luther King Jr.

That unremembered demands to be remembered, is because memories can imprison but also liberate. By remembering, the formerly enslaved can re-acquaint with their bodies once so violated by brutality and torture, and can return to their community, a community from which they once ran away, because it identity was associated with commodity and utility.

Dr King calls this new place of belonging our Beloved Community, built on dignity, mutual respect, and compassion. For Morrison, this Beloved Community must start with listening to unremembered past … because she knew only too well, it is in the remembered that lies seed of forgiveness, redemption, and healing.