Reconciliation and Forgiveness in Divided Societies: A Path of Courage, Compassion, and Commitment

  • Paula Green
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


From the Ottoman Turkish Genocide of Armenians in the early years of the 20th century to the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda in its final decade, this century that was to see the end of war has been stained by unremitting violence. From our century of suffering, a new movement has emerged to establish legal, ethical, psychological, and spiritual reconciliation processes to nurture communal healing and enable former enemies to build a future as neighbors and fellow citizens. These reconciliation practices have developed in response to patterns of contemporary violence, where frequently revenge is fueled by powerful collective narratives and advanced by opportunistic leadership. Our collective survival will require our adherence to this growing international reconciliation agenda; we must protect victims, hold perpetrators accountable, and develop methods of facing truth, establishing justice, and expressing compassion.


Communal Violence Restorative Justice Holocaust Survivor Mass Violence Reconciliation Commission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bereaved Families’ Forum. Available at
  2. Bronkhorst, D. (1995). Truth and reconciliation: Obstacles and opportunities for human rights. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Amnesty International Dutch Section.Google Scholar
  3. Dalai, L., & Chan, V. (2004). The wisdom of forgiveness: Intimate journeys and conversations. New York: Riverhead Books.Google Scholar
  4. Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Available at
  5. Frankl, V. (1984). Man’s search for meaning. New York: Touchstone Books.Google Scholar
  6. Gobodo-Madikizela, P. (2003). A human being died that night: A South African story of forgiveness. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  7. Green, P. (2000a). For a future to be possible: Bosnian dialogue in the aftermath of war. Journal of Medicine, Conflict, and Survival, 16(4) 441–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Green, P. (2000b). Shadows and light: Encounters in the holy land. Journal of Medicine, Conflict, and Survival, 16(4), 434–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Green, P. (2002). CONTACT: Training a new generation of peacebuilders. Peace and Change, 27(1).Google Scholar
  10. Kornfield, J. (2002). The art of forgiveness, loving-kindness and peace. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  11. Minow, M. (1998). Between vengeance and forgiveness. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Neuffer, E. (2001). The key to my neighbor’s house: Seeking justice in Bosnia and Rwanda. New York: Picador Books.Google Scholar
  13. Nouwen, H. (1972). The wounded healer. New York: Doubleday Books.Google Scholar
  14. One by One. Dialogue among descendants of survivors, perpetrators, bystanders and resisters. Available at <>
  15. Park, C. (2005). Religion as a meaning-making framework in coping with life stresses. Journal of Social Issues, 61(4).Google Scholar
  16. Sebarenzi, J. (2006). Interview by the author. Brattleboro, Vermont.Google Scholar
  17. Silberman, I. (2005). Religion as a meaning system: Implications for the new millennium. Journal of Social Issues, 61(4).Google Scholar
  18. Stover, E., & Weinstein, H. (Eds.). (2004). My neighbor, my enemy: Justice and community in the aftermath of mass atrocity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Tutu, D. (1999). No future without forgiveness. New York: Doubleday, A Division of Random House Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Green
    • 1
  1. 1.Karuna Center for PeacebuildingAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations