Forgiveness is a complex matter. Often people ask: Why should I forgive? How can I forgive? What is the relevance of forgiveness in a situation of on-going conflict? What is the relationship between forgiveness and justice? If I forgive, surely I am condoning wrongful actions and allowing them to continue? In this webinar, Mary Noble will continue her discussion on the role of forgiveness in the context of her trauma healing work in Kenya.
for reconciliation have always called for an understanding of the role of forgiveness in dealing with the cycle of violence and revenge. Yet there is often a perception that forgiveness is not really necessary or up to the task of helping to fix the underlying, complex geopolitical and economic problems which are responsible for violence, and more than one person has observed that when ‘preached from the pulpit’, forcing forgiveness on people can do more harm than good. But forgiveness is not a new idea, or purely the provenance of Christianity. The role of forgiveness in many traditional societies was a tried and tested method of restoring peace. It was a means of preventing the injuries between individuals from becoming hostilities between their families and prevented family hostilities from becoming wars between their clans. Forgiveness prevented the spread of hatred.
Many conflicts are characterised by the manipulation of deep-rooted animosities, reinforced by high levels of violence and direct experiences of atrocities. Psychological and cultural features often drive and sustain the conflict more than substantive issues. Here, learning about the process of forgiveness can really help: it is about managing, and deliberately choosing to amend one’s attitudes. One needs to be able to distinguish the people from the acts they have committed: and then ‘cease to cultivate a sense of grievance and victimhood with regards to those acts and those people… Stem the flow of vitriolic rhetoric… Take initiatives towards decent collaborative relationships’. This programme teaches how to move away from the cycle of violence, by ‘re-humanizing the other’. It fosters empathy and mutual understanding, building trust. In the longer term, it helps to build lasting relationships between the participants, and their communities.
and CEO of Feminenza International Trained and qualified in social anthropology and archaeology, conflict transformation and peace studies, and a veteran director of academic studies, Mary has worked for decades to promote the development of women, building a progressive partnership between the genders, and the work of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace building, focusing on the long term development of women as peacemakers. She runs programmes on transformative leadership, and international practitioner training courses in Understanding and Managing Fear, Forgiveness and trauma healing. Mary has held workshops and seminars all over the world, including Europe, Kenya, Israel, the West Bank, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. In 2010-2011 Mary and her team completed a pilot UNSCR 1325 programme funded by UN Women for training grassroots women as Forgiveness and Reconciliation Counsellors in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Her focus now is on training new practitioners from around the world. In 2015, Mary ran a 5 day trauma healing workshop in partnership with Global Communities, for 60 Christian and Muslim community leaders from the informal settlements of Nairobi to help build resilience against the radicalization of youth. In 2016 this workshop was conducted for 30 vulnerable adolescent girls and young women in Nairobi who had experienced severe GBV and in June 2017 for 25 community Elders from the Nakuru Peace Building Consortium.
Feminenza is an international charity. Established in the UK in 2000, it seeks to promote and sustain the long-term development of women, their understanding of themselves and their roles in leadership and society, as well as a regenerative partnership between the genders. It champions values such as forgiveness, humanity and tolerance. It has a network in 14 countries around the world, including Kenya. Feminenza North America is registered as a 501 c3. Feminenza Kenya and Feminenza Stichting, in the Netherlands, have Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC, for the Advancement of Women. Feminenza Publications include: The Seven Pillars of Forgiveness (2007); Humanity and Gender: Speeches from the 2006 UN Conference, Nairobi (2012). Rebuilding Lives, (2012). www.feminenza.org
Please note that the deadline to register is Thursday, April 19 at 12:00 PM EST. A Zoom link to the webinar will be sent to the registrants a day in advance. For further information, please contact Kathleen Ibarra, MBBI’s Webinar Coordinator.