Must the cycle of violence between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East continue indefinitely? Israeli psychology professor Maya Kahanoff thinks the answer is “no.” Alongside her Arab colleagues, Kahanoff has served as an academic consultant and evaluator for the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation among Bereaved Palestinian and Israeli Families. The Forum brings together Jews and Arabs who lost family members to inter-ethnic violence. For more than a decade, the Forum has put concepts of reconciliation to the test, allowing the victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict to look across the emotional divide which separates them. Building on this success, the Forum has more recently sought to influence the political sphere and society at large in Israel and Palestine.
Kahanoff, a lecturer at Hebrew University, has co-authored a number of papers with Arab researchers that gauge the effectiveness of the Israeli-Palestinian Forum and its relevance for peace and reconciliation efforts elsewhere in the world. At Webster University, Kahanoff will show portions of a documentary about the Forum’s work and discuss her latest findings. Political scientist Andrew Rehfeld will comment on Kahanoff’s presentation, and there will opportunities for audience questions and responses.
This event will be of interest to people interested in peace studies, the psychology of bereavement, the Israeli-Arab conflict, and truth commissions and human rights. It is co-sponsored by the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at Webster University and the Michael and Barbara Newmark Institute for Human Relations of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
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