Christine Kindler, a 2017 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, was announced as the recipient of the Berlin Fellowship from Humanity in Action (HIA). The fellowship recognizes commitment to social justice and human rights.
“It is no surprise that Christine has received this recognition,” said Jayne Docherty, executive director of CJP. “ While she was a student here, Christine worked with the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) program. Her ability to synthesize and apply concepts and theories to real-world problems was a gift to STAR. We look forward to seeing what comes from her fellowship and her doctoral work.”
Kindler is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Howard University, where she is a research assistant Global Community Health Lab.Her current research focuses on factors that affect reconciliation between survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
HIA’s Berlin Fellowship examines contemporary questions around identity formation and societal pluralism and its impacts on democracy and human rights using the city’s own historical lessons from past human rights violations to its current social justice struggles.
Kindler will participate in a month of online courses instead of traveling to Germany this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After completing her coursework, Kindler will use the following 11 months to initiate an action project applying what she has learned to important issues in her own community. The program also hopes to send the fellows to Berlin next spring.
“As a Berlin Fellow with Humanity in Action, I will have the opportunity to join a collaborative, international learning community in exploring how a nation reckons with past catastrophic human rights violations, as well as contemporary social justice issues in Germany, including the accommodation of asylum seekers feeling more recent violent conflict,” Kindler said in an announcement from University of Kentucky, her undergraduate alma mater. “After the conclusion of the 12-month fellowship, I will have the opportunity to join the HIA Senior Fellow network, a group of individuals working to promote human rights and social justice in communities across the U.S. and Europe.”
Kindler earned her bachelor’s degree in history from University of Kentucky and spent a semester in the Middle East. After graduating from UK, Kindler worked for an international NGO in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she taught at an education center for Afghan college students and young adults.
“All of these experiences deepened my interest in how cycles of violence are created and sustained through intergenerational transmission of trauma, and how they can be interrupted through community interventions,” Kindler said.
After completing her doctoral degree, Kindler plans to pursue an academic career that will enable her to teach and conduct research at the intersection of mental health and peacebuilding: she says her goal is to “become a well-prepared scientist, clinician and effective agent of change in both academic and community settings.”