Dr. Ervin Staub,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst;
Dr. Laurie Anne Pearlman, Trauma Research, Education and Training
Drs. Staub and Pearlman will provide forgiveness training in Rwanda
and evaluate its impact on rebuilding a nation.
Dr. Ervin Staub saw for himself the horrors of genocide when the
Nazis swept through his childhood home of Budapest, Hungary, when
he was 6 years old.
Along with other family
members, Staub was given false identity papers by the Swedish diplomat
Raoul Wallenberg, who sheltered tens of thousands of Jews from the
Nazis. "It's only because of the help of others that I was able
to survive," says Staub, now a Professor of Psychology at the University
of Massachusetts. "That experience inspired me to dedicate my life
to figuring out how to get people to respond to those who need help."
For many years Staub
has studied the psychology of helping and the roots of genocide.
Now, he is exploring the next step - how to develop avenues to forgiveness
and reconciliation in the wake of genocide.
With a grant from the
Campaign for Forgiveness Research, Staub has launched a research
project in partnership with humanitarian groups in Rwanda. His goal?
Explore the relationship between forgiveness, reconciliation and
rebuilding a nation in the wake of intense violence.
Staub is working together
with a leading trauma expert, Dr. Laurie Pearlman. They plan to
provide forgiveness trainings to local community and human rights
organizations in Rwanda, and to explore the impact of these sessions.
The trainings will incorporate experiential and empathetic techniques:
talking, writing, drawing, and listening, expressing understanding,
and showing support. They will also include discussions on the origins
of genocide, the impact of trauma, and paths to healing.
Staub says he is cognizant
of, but not daunted by, the scope of his work. "I'm trying," he
says, "to make what is incomprehensible become comprehensible."
Staub and Pearlman hope
their work will help carve out the path toward reconciliation in
Rwanda and eventually establish a framework to reduce group conflict
and trauma around the world. "I know on a personal level the value
of forgiveness," says Staub. "By helping others reach for that goal,
I am honoring those who helped me."
Dr. Ervin Staub is
currently a Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst, and President-Elect of the Society for the Study of Peace,
Conflict and Violence of the American Psychological Association.
Dr. Staub is widely published and in high demand for speaking engagements.
Staub has been listed in more than five reference volumes, such
as "Men of Achievement," and "Who is Who in the World."
Dr. Laurie Anne Pearlman
is a clinical psychologist with an expertise in human trauma. Dr.
Pearlman is the research director of the Traumatic Stress Institute
/Center for Adult & Adolescent Psychotherapy LLC, and the president
of Trauma Research, Education and Training Institute. Dr. Pearlman
has co-authored the numerous books on the subject, and holds honors
from several professional psychological organizations.