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Winter Shapiro Lecture - "Bereavement, Storytelling, and Reconciliation: Peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians”


STARTS: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 4:00 PM
ENDS: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

5416 S. Cornell Ave. Chicago, IL 60615 (see map)
Second Floor

“Bereavement, Storytelling, and Reconciliation: Peacebuilding between Israelis and Palestinians”

 Speaker:  Frida Kerner Furman, Ph.D.

Despite the ongoing conflict and the general neglect by the media, power brokers, and the public, many grassroots organizations in the Middle East persist in their dedication to "people to people" diplomacy between Israelis and Palestinians. These organizations share the view that a peace plan, when it eventually comes, will be ineffective, unless an infrastructure of trust and understanding is built on the ground in advance. The Parents Circle-Families Forum is a bi-national NGO committed to peacebuilding and reconciliation between Israeli Jews and Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Its most distinctive features are its membership, composed of 300 families from each side who have lost a close relative to the conflict, and its use of storytelling to connect the two sides. Bereaved individuals develop the capacity for empathy and moral responsibility beyond their own people by encountering "the other" via personal stories of loss and suffering. The lecture, based on ethnographic research conducted in Israel and the West Bank, considers the moral dynamics of these encounters and their potential contribution to conflict resolution.

Frida Kerner Furman is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, DePaul University, where she has taught since 1986. She was the founding director of the university’s Center for Interreligious Engagement.  She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and a Master's and Ph.D. in religion/social ethics from the University of Southern California. Her current academic interests include social and feminist ethics, religious/cultural identity and diversity, peace-building, forgiveness and reconciliation.  She is the author of Beyond Yiddishkeit: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in a Reform Synagogue (SUNY Press, 1987); Facing the Mirror: Older Women and Beauty Shop Culture (Routledge, 1997), recipient of the 1997 Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize by the American Folklore Society/Women's Section; and Telling Our Lives: Conversations on Solidarity and Difference (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, co-authored with Elizabeth A. Kelly and Linda W. Nelson). Her most recent publications include the articles, “Compassionate Listening as a Path to Conflict Resolution” (Journal for the Study of Peace and Conflict) and “Religion and Peacebuilding: Grassroots Efforts by Israelis and Palestinians,” Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace.

Reception following lecture.

Complimentary parking available in the CTU garage.