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Donors will send students to Rwanda to aid in reconciliation efforts

SFU Professor Masahiro Minami and research participants
SFU Professor Masahiro Minami and research participants

Giving peace a chance is the focus for SFU alumnus and assistant professor Masahiro Minami and his research to prevent war and support healing through reconciliation. The founder and director of SFU’s Globe in Peace, he is preparing to lead a volunteer group of SFU students and lab members to engage in field services research projects in Rwanda in 2019. To date, the team has raised more than $23,000 through crowdfunding to support trip costs.
 

We need to learn more from these people and better understand how this work could transform lives and prevent future conflicts. 

Minami developed Action-Based Psychosocial Reconciliation Approach (ABPRA) during his doctoral studies in counselling psychology, and piloted the program with 16 genocide survivors and perpetrators in two Rwandan villages over two years. With ABPRA, instead of asking for forgiveness, ex-perpetrators offer their voluntary weekly labour as a concrete expression of their apology to survivors whose loved ones were killed. If the survivor accepts, the pair then work alongside each other, creating an opportunity to share meaningful experiences through purposeful action.

Minami established SFU Globe in Peace to bring SFU and Rwandan professionals, researchers and students together to expand his reconciliation program to a larger scale and gauge its effectiveness. During next year’s project trip, each volunteer will work alongside previous participants of the program to evaluate its impact.