Prof Edits Book on Trauma Healing

Barry Hart, professor at EMU
Barry Hart, associate professor of conflict and trauma studies at EMU

A specialist in trauma healing at EMU has edited a book on the subject, published by University Press of America.

Barrett S. (Barry) Hart, associate professor of conflict and trauma studies in the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) at Eastern Mennonite University, compiled the 362-page volume, “Peacebuilding in Traumatized Societies.”

Dr. Hart’s work examines trauma, identity, security, education and development as central issues related to peacebuilding and social reconstruction in the aftermath of large-scale violence.

This violence “takes the form of war, mass-killings and genocide as well as structural violence that has humiliated and impoverished millions of people across the globe,” he noted.

Global Focus

The book examines these issues in theoretical and practical terms through case studies and descriptions of training and problem-solving procedures in Rwanda, the Balkans, Columbia, and the Philippines.

These examples illustrate the multi-layered dimensions of struggle to recover from individual and community trauma, move forward the social reconstruction processes and negotiate the demanding path of peacebuilding to break the cycle of violence.

Transitional justice, leadership, religion, and the arts are other crucial issues that are included in Hart’s analysis of violence and its transformation.

The book “explores how each issue can be independently addressed for transformational purposes, but argues for their active interdependence in order to more effectively help individuals, communities and societies emerge from violence and begin the rebuilding process,” Hart said.

Leading peacebuilding practitioners have contributed to the book, including a chapter by Hart’s CJP colleague, Lisa Schirch, “How the U.S. Can Recover from 9/11 Using Media Arts and a 3D Approach to Human Security.” Dr. Schirch is professor of conflict studies at EMU.

Author’s Other Efforts

An EMU faculty member since 1996, Hart is also academic director of the Caux Scholars Program, a month-long summer academic program called Conflict Transformation: From Personal to Global Change, in Caux, Switzerland.

He has conducted workshops on trauma healing and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and among Rwandan refugees in Tanzania and has lived and worked in the Balkans, where he developed and lead trauma and conflict transformation programs for schools, communities and religious leaders.

He is currently working on a joint project between EMU and the University of Hargeisa to establish an Institute for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in Somaliland.

Hart holds a Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University.

The book is available at the EMU bookstore and on line at