We at Ara Pacis place the human being – with his/her needs, rights, moral resources, resiliency, creativity, spirituality, aspirations, dignity, and capacity to create new beginnings – at the core of conflict prevention, resolution, and transformation, and we assist governments, institutions and communities in bringing divided peoples into restored, more just human relationships.
Ara Pacis programs are centered on transforming the root causes and the legacies of conflict in individuals – from trauma to hate, from prejudice to revenge, from fear to anger and beyond – into dialogue, forbearance, understanding, compassion, empathy and mutual collaboration for a shared future.
Based on the extensive experience of the international human dimension practitioners of the Ara Pacis Initiative’s Council for Dignity, Forgiveness, Justice and Reconciliation, working in the international arena with victims of conflict, survivors of war rape and sexual violence, perpetrtors and warring factions, we have come to understand that as long as the human factors of conflict are not addressed, personal and collective memories of suffering will ultimately resurface, marring any progress made toward peace and ultimately, plunging communities into new spirals of violence and revenge.
A stumbling block for all peace processes is the personal pain and suffering of survivors of the conflict, their need to initiate healing processes, their personal and societal definition of justice.
In order for transitional justice to succeed in laying the foundations for long-lasting peace, the human dimension must be taken into account. Societal justice and personal and social healing must be addressed alongside political and legal justice.
In this light, adopting a bottom-up approach to reconciliation and peace-building, the Ara Pacis Initiative has developed unique methodologies aimed at overcoming divisions, initiating healing, building trust, and fostering reconciliation, conflict transformation and ultimately peace-building in societies torn apart by sectarian violence and conflict.