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Organization: Institute for Victims of Trauma
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

The Institute for Victims of Trauma (IVT) has seen progress toward a culture of peace and non-violence in its domain of action.  Interest in the IVT approach is slowly growing.  Requests come in weekly to IVT asking for assistance and training in both victim recovery techniques and aiding traumatized individuals.  Last week’s request came from an English speaking Camerounian Pastor.  He wanted IVT to provide training for his assistants who are starting a trauma recovery program which we assume is for released prisoners who have been tortured.  These last five years, many more community leaders, professionals, and political leaders have grown to understand the interface between trauma, mental health, and the capacity to maintain a civil society; the example of the Camerounian Pastor reflects the growing need for services much as IVT offers.    
IVT has no constituency, if membership is what you call constituency.  This is a tiny, under funded, NGO.  We have not developed indicators to measure progress because if we tried, we wouldn’t have time to create the progress the organization is striving to achieve.  IVT continues to focus internationally on victims of political violence and works to meet their needs as individuals.  In addition, in 2004 I received an award from the International Center for Psycho-Social trauma in acknowledgement of several services of pro-bono training of Palestinian psychotherapists.  This represents the first acknowledgement of the advancement in trauma therapy in the Middle East region of the world.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

As the war on terrorism continues and more innocent people across the globe are affected, the duty before IVT will become quite more than a tiny, non-profit can take on.  With limited funding, limited time, and limited staff, choices have to be made concerning what IVT can take on successfully.  
There is no longer time to focus on the mundane, now we must prioritize.  IVT often chooses effective work over administrative work.  As the demand for peace, understanding, and reconciliation for trauma victims increases annually, the job before IVT will grow exponentially.

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

Over time, Americans will come to realize that more happens outside our borders resulting from current foreign policy than what the administration and news media leads them to believe.  The job of IVT is one with lasting implications.  Beginning with international activities, one of the significant actions undertaken by IVT was sharing with the mental health community in Yemen in 2000.  I traveled to this small country to lecture on “Prevention of Violence and Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence.”  I wanted to express that through interface, more and more individuals will become traumatized unless action is taken to prevent this.  
A second international action was a lecture in the Ukraine in May of 2001, entitled “Trauma and Identity.”  It was funded through the U.S. Institute of Peace due to my collaboration with the director.  The trip was successful in bringing awareness of the integration of clinical and social psychology to the community.  Also in 2001 I presented Johan Galtung with the Morton Deutsch Conflict Resolution Award in Switzerland. The event was held in the old town hall in Geneva next-door to the room heralded as the first International Conflict Resolution Room (Alabama Room).  In the Alabama room the first International Conflict Resolution Accord took place in 1868.  I went to Geneva and presented the award at this location to call attention to their own history of conflict resolution.        
This April marks my second trip to Rwanda, a tiny country the size of the State of Maryland which was divided along ethnic lines in 1994.  I lectured and trained people there on how to deal with grief and psychosocial trauma, to come to terms with what occurred.  I encouraged Rwandans to face the past and continue, moving on but not forgetting.  I am returning to Rwanda this year to continue my efforts to encourage those Rwandans who have maintained contact with me over the year to take more initiative on their own to work towards establishing lasting peace.    
Regarding efforts to spread knowledge and awareness of trauma, peace, and reconciliation to Americans, IVT has worked diligently throughout the past decade to inform all Americans, beginning at the academic level but also speaking on my community.  At this time in American history, waging peace in time of war, is a major effort.  The focus on peace must be maintained and at the university level, peacemakers are finding ways to keep speaking out to counteract the President’s apparent need to have the U.S. dominate.
I lectured the students of the Yale School of Medicine in May of 2000, talking on “The Human Side of Terror.”  I trained individuals in peace education, crisis management, and violence prevention at the Brook Army Medical Center in Texas in January of 2001.  I lectured in 2001 to the students of Howard University on “The Globalization of Violence and Fear: the Psycho-Social Effects of Terrorism and Political Violence on Communities.”  I led a panel discussion on “Constructing a Response to the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks” at Yale Law School Policy Science Annual Institute in October of 2001.  I addressed the 110th American Psychological Association’s Convention twice in August of 2003, first focusing on “Waging Peace in Times of War” and then on “Transcending the Religious
Need’ for Violence.”  In 2003 I contributed a chapter to the Stanley Krippner book Impact of War Trauma on Civilian Population; my chapter is entitled “Change Agentry in an Islamic Context.”  
In addition to promoting trauma and reconciliation education within America’s universities and various academic settings, the Executive Director occasionally assists asylum seekers suffering greatly from the effects of intense trauma in his or her past.  IVT does not have adequate time to address the issues of every individual asylum seeker, and instead reviews the few cases that come before it with careful consideration, choosing perhaps one case every two or three years depending on the circumstances.

Leila Dane, director of the Institute for Victims of Trauma, at the Stairway to Heaven, stained glass window in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center at the 10th anniversary commemoration opening of the center, April 2004, Kigali, Rwanda

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

I would like the Secretary to promote programs that bring together the education of trauma and world politics so that the evolving philosophy will lead to goals that more clearly focus on non-violent resolution of conflicts.  A steady flow of information covering both topics will lead to an understanding that it is not only financial and material resources that are diminished by violence, but good will and the resilience of human beings are diminished.

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

World Islamic Accosication for Mental Health, Cairo, Egypt; Joint Program on Conflict Resoultion, Cairo, Egypt; Kinyamateka, Kigali, Rwanda;

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

With the help of graduate student interns and consulting organizations, IVT will continue to focus on training programs to rebuild resilience among people in war-torn communities and programs promoting training in trauma among professionals, especially in the Middle East.

Postal address of organization

6801 Market Square Drive, McLean, VA 22101

E-mail address of organization


Website address of organization


Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Human Rights

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

International Peace and Security

Highest priority country of action (or international)


Second priority country of action (or international)

Egypt and Palestine
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Organization: Institute for Victims of Trauma

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