"In the context of religious, racial, and national conflicts,
a good conscience allows members of one group to commit atrocities and murder against others.
By having a bad conscience, we can love more than before."- Bert Hellinger
Bert Hellinger

Summary Report:
Bert Hellinger
at Forham University, October 4, 2004

Peace Begins in the Soul:
Ethnic Conflict and Reconciliation

"What is at the root of Ethnic Conflicts?" So began Bert Hellinger at his historic presentation at Fordham University. "If you look at it very closely, the surprising answer is that at the root of all these great ethnic conflicts is a 'good conscience.' All these conflicts derive their energy from a good conscience."

Bert Hellinger, one of Europeís most innovative and provocative existential philosopher/therapists, presented a special seminar hosted by Dr. Anie Kalayjian and Dan Booth Cohen on the movements towards peace and the path to reconciliation at Fordham University in October, 2004.

Hellinger's presentation included short lectures on the unconscious mechanisms that perpetuate conflicts across generations and the attitudes that foster reconciliation and a more peaceful future. He led two demonstrations of the unique group experiential process he pioneered, and gave time for a thought provoking question and answer session.

Near the conclusion he noted, "We can see how difficult it is to reach reconciliation in the end. Very difficult, especially on a large scale. Itís only possible between a few individuals." And yet, everything that exists within human society and culture began between a few individuals. For a few individuals the next step is to create a small circle of committed learners to travel together to the borders of 'good conscience.' Once there, can we then take one step further?

This will not be an intellectual exercise. It will be difficult, sometimes painful, heart and soul work, using the Constellation process. Can we accept Hellinger's challenge to the peacemakers: "Reconciliation starts in our soul. If whatever we are ashamed of or reject is acknowledged, and agreed to, and even loved, then we can become more complete and at peace."

This summary report is divided into 3 sections.

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