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Ira Magaziner Joins Leaders in Peace Psychology at MSPP to Explore Ways to Transform Violence, Heal Families, Communities and World
Date:9/4/2008

will be villagers in Nepal who had to start living again with insurgent Maoists who had committed violence against them. Green asked the villagers what they did when the Maoists returned. "We tied them up," they responded. "Why?" Green asked. "Because we wanted an apology." Then she asked what happened. "We kept them tied up for two days and then they apologized so we let them stay in the village."

"There are such rich gleanings from this story, especially the deep longing for acknowledgement and apology for harms done," says Green. "For these villagers, there was no requiring or, perhaps even knowing about, a larger Truth and Reconciliation Commission process or request for reparations, but rather a need for an intimate human interaction. With that, imperfect as it was, the barrier was lifted and the wrong-doers brought back into community."

"Sometimes much more is needed, but this relational process seems to be part of our postwar human need," says Green, who will be presented with the "Unsung Heroes of Compassion" award (from Wisdom in Action of California) by his Holiness the Dalai Lama, next year.

Weingarten will present "Hope in a Time of Global Despair," in which she will describe how the "active practice" of hope can make peace possible. The Witnessing Project, which she founded and directs, helps individuals, families and communities turn the passive witnessing of violence and violation into effective action.

"Having a practical approach to hope makes it possible to work in situations that appear hopeless to most people," she says. "I see hope as something that we do, not something we feel. If you think of hope as an action, many paths open up."

According to Weingarten, if the future is uncertain, then, by definition, it is not hopeless and good things can happen. An example, she says, is a village in Africa with large numbers of children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. The community built an orphanage and took responsibil
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SOURCE Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
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