Healing Communities, Transforming Society: Exploring the Interconnectedness Between Psycho-Social Needs, Practice and Peace-Building
Dates: May 6-8, 2015
Location: Sunnyside Park Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa
THE INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION AND THE WAR TRAUMA FOUNDATION PRESENT AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
HEALING COMMUNITIES, TRANSFORMING SOCIETY: EXPLORING THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS BETWEEN PSYCHO-SOCIAL NEEDS, PRACTICE AND PEACE-BUILDING
The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, based in South Africa, in partnership with the Netherlands-based War Trauma Foundation, will host an international conference exploring the interconnectedness between mental health and peace-building, at the Sunnyside Park Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 6 to 8 May 2015.
Members of the media are invited to join guest speakers and delegates from more than 15 countries and 16 organisations, for the opening of this conference, on 6 May 2015, at 08h30 for 09h00, as we begin to discuss how communities can be healed and societies transformed in the aftermath of conflict. The introduction to the conference will be followed by a keynote address by Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, senior research professor in trauma, forgiveness and reconciliation at the University of the Free State, who also served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Human Rights Violations Committee.
More about the Conference
South Africa’s struggles with xenophobic violence and legacies of oppression can be compared and contrasted to other post-conflict societies. This is because, in the aftermath of violence, the causes of conflict often remain and may even worsen. A recurrence of conflict is likely to occur in post-conflict contexts where people have witnessed large-scale violence, destruction, displacement and personal loss. The ability of individuals and societies to cope with such extraordinarily painful experiences is limited and the breakdown of coping strategies often triggers psychosocial trauma. The natural ties, rules and bonds between people and within communities are destroyed.
In order to assist conflict-affected societies to come to terms with legacies of large-scale human rights violations, a range of processes and mechanisms have been developed by transitional justice academics and practitioners. The aim of these processes is to ensure accountability, pursue justice, heal communities and ultimately, to achieve reconciliation.
However, conflict not only affects the social, economic and political wellbeing of individuals, but also their mental health. Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to her or his community. As such, post-conflict reconstruction and social transformation measures, especially those aimed at restoring relations between human beings, need to include mental health care provisions.
It is against this broad background that the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation and the War Trauma Foundation are uniting academics, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers from around the world to explore ways in which the fields of peace-building and mental health can interface more closely.
For more information about the conference, or to RSVP for the opening event, please contact IJR Communications Coordinator, Zyaan Davids on email@example.com or 078 287 2296.
You can also visit the official conference blog for more information:
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation: www.ijr.org.za
War Trauma Foundation: www.wartrauma.nl/en