Corrymeela News


Facing the Past to Forge the Future

22 Oct 2021

Corrymeela was delighted to join the Mershon Center’s Recovering from Violence Research Cluster, the Moritz College of Law’s Divided Community Project, and Ulster University in hosting Harvard Law School professor Martha Minow for a conversation on peace, facing the past, and building a future together.

Professor Minow identifies a tension every society must confront in the aftermath of political violence and oppression: “too much memory and too much forgetting.”

She contends that both ends of this spectrum hold the potential to derail the possibility of forging a just and shared future. In this webinar, Minow and moderators Dr. Duncan Morrow (Ulster University, Northern Ireland) and the Divided Community Project Director Carl Smallwood (Moritz College of Law, United States) hold a conversation about what it means to face the past, and how to find the balance between acknowledgement and taking responsibility for injustice, while—at the same time—turning towards the possibility of transformation and social healing. Shona Bell, Corrymeela’s Manager of Sectarianism, and Teri Murphy, Associate Director at the Mershon Center, curate the event and serve as hosts.

The conversation stretches from the human instincts of vengeance to the healing possibilities of forgiveness. It moves from the creative stage of theater, to the halls of transitional justice trials, to the intimate spaces of restorative justice circles—and looks at denial, generational tensions, and the differences between the individual and the social experience of pain. With lessons and questions from South Africa, Northern Ireland, Germany, the United States and more, Minow takes a long view look at the urgent questions facing so many fractured and fracturing societies today. How do we find ways of honoring the past that allow space to build a future? How do we create spaces for people to listen to and hear the stories of those they share society with? Maybe most crucially: who is this “we”, and how do we build it in a way that invites us to continue growing open, together?

The event was recorded on October 6, 2021. View the video here.

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