Trauma and reconciliation in societies emerging from conflict will be the focus of Brandon Hamber’s inaugural professorial lecture at the University of Ulster today.
The Director of INCORE will speak about his research and personal experiences from engagement with survivors of political violence during the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and peace building work in Northern Ireland.
The Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies will deliver his lecture, Revealing is Healing? Truth, Reconciliation and Mental Health, at the Magee campus this evening.
He said: “The lecture will delve into the complex interplay between individual psychological processes and macro-political interventions such as truth commissions. Specifically, issues such as reparations, ‘doing justice’, the power of ambivalence, and concepts such as closure, trauma and reconciliation in societies emerging from conflict, will be explored.
“The lecture will also set out the role of transitional justice and mental health practitioners in helping survivors move beyond a toxic past without covering it up or becoming mired in it.”
Professor Hamber has been the Director of INCORE since 2008. He was born in South Africa and trained there as a Clinical Psychologist. Prior to moving to Northern Ireland, he co-ordinated the Transition and Reconciliation Unit at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg. He has undertaken consulting and research work, and participated in various peace and reconciliation initiatives in Liberia, Mozambique, Bosnia, the Basque Country and Sierra Leone, among others.
Last year he published a book entitled, Transforming Societies after Political Violence, which offered a template for those tasked with providing truth, justice, reconciliation and healing.
The respondent to his lecture will be Gorka Espiau, who was the adviser on peacebuilding to the former Basque President. Currently he is working on a documentary on how lessons between the South African, Northern Ireland and Basque peace process have been shared in which the work of Professor Hamber is featured.
Mr Espiau said: “It is an honour to respond to Professor Hamber’s work. Over the years his work has impacted on a range of contexts around the world. It highlights how academics can produce high quality academic work and be practitioners at the same time.”
Established in 1993, INCORE (International Conflict Research Institute) is a joint project of the United Nations University and the University of Ulster. Combining research, education and comparative analysis, INCORE address the causes and consequences of conflict in Northern Ireland and internationally and promotes conflict resolution management strategies.