The vision for Healing the Wounds of History was that of Alexandra Asseily, a pshycotherapist. In 2011 the Centre for Lebanese Studies hosted, with the support of 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 recognize the importance of healing trauma in order to develop true harmony between individuals and communities.
Healing the Wounds of History (HWH) programmes are essentially different experiential journeys through which people become more aware that unresolved past wounds can continue to drive us to violence. 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.
The HWH programmes have been developed to help heal the deeper roots of violence. The causes of violence are often located in recent but also older and even ancient historical grievances, memories and traumas. These psychological roots, when drawing on perceived injustices, can become sources of violence, especially in acute times of crisis, fear and threat. These driving forces usually remain un-examined. By unfolding and deconstructing them, individuals can begin to understand where many prejudices and impulses for violence against the other are held and thereby take the opportunity to release them through forgiveness and compassion.
The HWH training in extensive sessions is concerned with unearthing these deeply rooted identities so that we can begin to reframe/rethink the “self”, reconcile with it and humanise the other and improve relationships. To develop capacities at the individual level, helps collective action and peace‐building efforts at the group level. This important work then actively supports political, social, economic, and civil endeavours.
HWH features three core activity projects:
HWH Training Experiential journeys to develop awareness that without healing, compassion and forgiveness, unresolved past wounds can continue to drive us to violence. Sessions are organized several times a year, some in cooperation with the prestigious Lebanese American University.
Teacher Education A focused training to enhance teachers’ capacities to connect and respond sensitively to refugee children’s psychosocial and holistic learning needs and deal with their trauma
Garden of Forgiveness. A sanctuary set in heart of central Beirut, amidst archaeological sites, churches, mosques and a shrine to Virgin Mary, expressing forgiveness and unity.