Featured Postdoc: Dr. Masahiro Minami


Postdoc Talk Event: 8 July (7.30 PM), at the Railway Club
(all welcome, more details)

Postdoc Talk Title: 
Giving peace a chance…
In 1994, the Genocide against Tutsis occurred in Rwanda. An estimated 800,000 to a million people were murdered. Subsequently, Rwandan government made a difficult decision to release perpetrators of the Genocide back to communities. This event led to a circumstance in which the returning murderers must now live side-by-side with survivors in same rural villages. To support community reintegration and reconciliation process, a forgiveness-based reconciliation approach was initially introduced, where perpetrators confessed and apologized for their crimes committed and begged for survivors’ forgiveness. However in many instances, survivors could not forgive, perhaps understandably. Furthermore, survivors suffered from enormous pressure to forgive and moral dilemma of not being able to forgive. Dr. Minami’s research team developed an alternative approach to nurture reconciliation through action, called the action-based psychosocial reconciliation approach (ABPRA). Former perpetrators who participate in his program do NOT ask for forgiveness. Rather, they offer their labour to survivors as a concrete act of apology. Miracle of humanity and human relationships emerges when survivors decide to receive. In this talk, Dr. Minami will be speaking about experience of survivors and perpetrators who decided to participate in his approach. Dr. Minami will report with video-clips and photos capturing the moments of change. This research also holds a promise to develop into the world’s first scientifically proven method to prevent war and build peace.

Dr. Minami received his Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia. He is the current holder of the UBC’s premier Morita Post-doctoral Fellowship for Peace Action Research and is the founder and co-director of the Globe in Peace Project at UBC (www.globeinpeace.org). Dr. Minami is a certified Morita therapist registered with the Japanese Society for Morita Therapy (JSMT) in Japan and also serves as the Assistant Secretary General for the International Committee for Morita Therapy. His research interests include application and evaluation of group dynamics theories to effective mediation, inter-group conflict resolution, and community psychosocial reconciliation in post-war contexts. Dr. Minami is the co-founder and a current director of the Prison Fellowship Rwanda-Morita Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Research.