“Hatred is a disease, and if not stopped or cured it will invade even more families, communities, and cities. Fanaticism prevails, eating away at the foundation of everything reasonable people have worked so hard to build. But now there are people on both sides who say: ENOUGH! Enough funerals, enough widows, enough tears, enough pain! [ICfC] has the imagination and commitment to bring people together, civilizations together, creating history without hatred…”
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Laureate and Honorary Chairman of ICfC
ICfC aspires to create enduring peace globally in conflict-torn communities. By helping groups where conflict is deeply rooted in the past, ICfC explores collective memory, identity and history as a means to construct a shared future that is peaceful, productive and prosperous. Groups that have the opportunity to redefine relations on the basis of empathy, communities have a better chance to survive and thrive, creating the basic infrastructure for a culture of peace from the bottom up.
ICfC unites members of conflicted communities by guiding them through a unique process called Historical Conciliation. Our approach to peace-building involves four main components:
1. Train facilitators: Local citizens are trained in ICfC methodology to become fully capable facilitators of dialogue workshops between community members at odds with one another.
2. Turn pained memory and hate into empathy. Participants engage in a series of dialogue workshops, led by the trained facilitators, over the course of several months so they can candidly talk with one another about their pained memory in order to foster understanding and empathy for “the other”.
3. Turn empathy into action. Participants work with one another on joint community projects, such as building schools, recreational centers, parks, multi-ethnic committees, and most of all the establishment of positive relations between individuals formerly at odds with one another.
4. Develop sustainable leadership. Leaders within communities are identified and armed with the tools they need to continue the peace-building process once ICfC is no longer involved (the creation of “barefoot conciliators”- those who are on the ground making lasting peace).
ICfC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which focuses its work on communities in the Middle East, Western Europe, and Asia. We partner with local organizations and train community leaders to facilitate dialogue which allows people to share and discuss the past in a productive way. ICfC was founded upon the belief that acknowledging historical injustices and grievances and learning empathy can allow former enemies to build foundations for shared action, feel that their identity is validated, and create a new sense of community. We believe that because historical grievances threaten to stir up conflict even when political interests in cooperation are strong, the grassroots historical conciliation process is necessary to supplement and sustain any state-level peace-building efforts.
ICfC’s method has yielded positive results in communities in India, Japan, and South Korea. Our work continues today in Cambodia, where suppressed memories of the Khmer Rouge atrocities linger; in Israel, where violent conflict persists in the context of powerful historic narratives; and in Western Europe, where officials are searching for ways to calm tension between native and immigrant populations. ICfC also holds trainings in Historical Conciliation in the US and around the world.
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