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The vision of the Garden of Forgiveness was conceived by Alexandra Asseily in 1997. In 2011, inspired by this vision, the Centre for Lebanese Studies hosted, with the support from the Guerrand-Hermes Foundation for Peace and Lebanese American University, an international conference on 'Healing the Wounds of History': Addressing the Roots of Violence' in Byblos, Lebanon. This conference brought together many like-minded people who recognise the importance of healing trauma in order to develop true harmony between individuals and communities.
Following the success of the conference, Alexandra Asseily started to develop a series of workshops towards healing the wounds of history (HWH). Four pilot workshops saw great impact from the HWH programme and therefore, the HWH is now being promoted more widely in Lebanon and beyond.
Healing the Wounds of History Training Workshops are different experiential journeys through which people become more aware that unresolved past wounds can continue to drive us to violence, especially in a fragile environment such as the different lebanese communities. These are often well-established but innovative approaches to healing, including the use of drama, storytelling, constellation work, deep spiritual reflection, expressive arts and so forth.
These workshops have been developed to help to heal the deeper roots of violence. The causes of violence are rooted in recent but also older and even ancient historical grievances, memories and traumas. These psychological roots draw on perceived injustices and become the sources of violence, especially in acute times of crisis, fear and threat. These driving forces usually remain unexamined. By unfolding and deconstructing them, individuals can begin to understand where many prejudices and impulses for violence against the other are held.
The HWH training is concerned with unearthing these deeply rooted identities so that we can begin to reframe/rethink the “self”, humanize the other and improve relationships. To develop capacities at the individual level, and therefore help collective action and peacebuilding efforts at the group level.
Some participants in the training testify that it helped them listen to the inner self and find inner peace, and become more tolerant in daily life.
Last updated: August 2016