Advancing Healing and
Ervin Staub and Laurie Anne Pearlman
In this chapter, we describe an approach to promoting post-genocide psychological recovery, reconciliation, the development of positive relations between groups, and a peaceful society. We describe a number of projects we conducted in Rwanda between 1999 and 2004 in which we developed and evaluated this approach. We have used components of this approach with varied groups. These include staff of local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose work ranges from community-building to reconciliation, leaders and field staff from survivor organizations, journalists, high-level national leaders, trauma counselors, commissioners of the Rwandan National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), and others.
In the course of describing this work, we discuss some issues important in reconciliation and the prevention of new violence, such as a shared understanding of history (or collective memory). We comment on some current conditions in Rwanda that appear to either facilitate or create problems for reconciliation
1We are grateful for the support of our work by the John Templeton Foundation (1999−
2000), United States Institute for Peace (2001−2002), Dart Foundation (2001), United
States Agency for International Development (2002−2004), and a small private donation.
We are also grateful to the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda,
which co-sponsored our seminars/workshops starting in the summer of 2001. We thank
our many associates in Rwanda, especially Fatuma Ndangiza, Aloisea Inyumba, Alphonse
Bakusi, Alphonsine Mutabonwa, and Athanase Hagengimana, and U.S. associates who
sometimes volunteered their time: Vachel Miller, Alexandra Gubin, and Adin DeLaCoeur.