E Staub @ 2010 UMass Conflict Conference

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Preventing group violence : 

Preventing group violence Ervin Staub University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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Best reference for talk: Overcoming evil:Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism. Oxford (November, 2010). See also. www.ervinstaub.com Since violence, and the psychological and social bases of it evolve: We can identify conditions that indicate the probability of violence, but not what kind of violence it will be. Understanding the roots of violence is important for prevention.

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Self interest as motivation

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Addressing difficult life conditions in ways that creates community. Roosevelt Financial security but also belonging Creating constructive, inclusive ideology Israel-Palestine: Economic community, help the whole Middle East

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Creating alternative, constructive communities, especially for youth France—microcredit for youth, support by community. Sierra Leone, former child soldiers supported by community. The attraction to radical movements, genocidal or terrorist, or in group conflict, may initially be an expression of desperation by people. However, violence can become a way of life.

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Conflict, especially moving toward crisis: Preventive diplomacy. The role and obligation of leaders. (The role of citizen bystanders). Kenya. Yugoslavia. Belgians in Rwanda in 1959

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Developing positive orientation toward the “other” Humanizing the other —through words (Israel/Palestine: some have been working for peace, Rwanda: some have saved lives). Through gestures. Arafat and Rabin. Though contact. Through positive action toward the other.

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Israel-Palestine. Lot of contact, but not ongoing, persistent contact between either populations or leaders. Lots of mutual derogation, negative actions. Persistent contact can develop trust, which makes it possible to resolve material, practical issues.

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Working to create psychological recovery Engagement with experience in a supportive context--and in community The right kind of commemoration .

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Addressing “chosen” trauma Creating awareness of its existence How it affects perceptions of events, interpretation, action How it enters into the educational system. Armenians

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Promoting societal justice through access and capacity building. Helping groups with acculturation. Muslims in Europe (Moroccans in Holland). Pluralism means two different things: A wide range of beliefs and values can be expressed in the public domain Every group has access to the public domain Psychological changes are often a prerequisite to building good civic institutions, which are essential: Justice system, schools, police and military. Without institutions, psychological changes are likely to be ephemeral

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Reconciliation (even before violence is an avenue of prevention). Complex truth, justice, moving toward a shared history. (Newbury on Rwanda). Each group acknowledging its responsibility---mutual acknowledgment in mutual violence. This requires healing by perpetrators (or both groups in a conflict). Acceptance of the past? Some degree of forgiveness of each other over time?

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Institutions that can facilitate reconciliation and peace To work on history and collective memory (stop denial, engage with the past in a realistic and truthful manner). On what children are taught in the school about the other To develop joint projects serving shared goals. Joint commissions .

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Our work in Rwanda (and Burundi and the Congo). Staub and Pearlman and associates Workshops and trainings—with varied groups. Content Understanding the origins and impact of group violence Understanding basic human needs Soon after the start, also understanding avenues to prevention, healing and reconciliation.

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Study with three groups: Treatment (Integrated) group; Traditional group Control group Evaluation before, immediately after, and two months after involvement, Treatment effects: On delayed post-test, Lower trauma symptoms, More positive orientation to the other group Conditional forgiveness.

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Educational radio projects in Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. Radio dramas and other programs. Staub-Pearlman approach, LaBenevolencija. Rezarta Bilali, Johanna Vollhardt, Adin Thayer and others. Evaluation, Betsy Paluck

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A variety of effects, including: Change in the willingness to speak what one believes. Changes in behavior.

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The uses of “understanding.” Pretraining for conflict resolution, conflict management and transformation processes—for dialogue and negotiation

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