Discussion on healing and trauma coming to Manchester

MANCHESTER — Manchester will be home to an international discussion on trauma and healing on July 16. 

The local non-profit The Grace Initiative will celebrate its new program in Colombia by welcoming Dr. Richard Mollica for his talk, "Healing the Invisible Wounds of the Past." Mollica, the Founding Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, is the author of Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World. Mollica taught the founder of the Grace Initiative, Yvonne Lodico, at the Yale Divinity School and will join her to support the Initiative's newest mission.

"Were going to be talking about Yvonne's work to establish an NGO working on the reconciliation amongst groups that have been in warfare with each other," said Mollica. "I'm going to discuss the issue of collective memory, and look at collective memory from two opposing perspectives: social healing, which is related to social justice, and personal healing, which is related to clinical, psychological, physical, and spiritual care of people who have been damaged by extreme violence."

This discussion celebrates the Grace Initiative's newest mission in Bogota Colombia, working with former combatants of the FARC. The Grace Initiative will work to support reconciliation through Centers for Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment, using Vermont's community centered agriculture and collective decision-making as a model for Colombia's path to healing and peace-building.

"I think the idea of groups sitting down with each other after decades of violence to try and create a safe and secure society is crucial," said Mollica. "Whether you're a victim of domestic violence or other abuse in Vermont, or a refugee coming to America for freedom and safety, the problem of recovering from violence inflicted from one human being to another is basic for every community and every society." 

This vital healing from violence is at the center of the Grace Initiative's mission in Colombia, but is also applicable to many global issues.

"There are two catastrophic problems in the world today, and they're both related: global warming and the refugee crisis. There are many people who have been displaced by global warming and from violent events throughout the world," said Mollica. "Even if you're in Manchester Vermont, you can't avoid the fact that our country and the world are facing these catastrophic situations."

Though the discussion will tackle some troubling global issues, the ultimate message is an optimistic one.

"In a cruel and violent world, there is hope," said Mollica. "We can do more than survive, we can find strength and healing no matter what we have experienced."

This strength and healing stressed by Mollica is dependent on the justice that the Grace Initiative is seeking through their mission in Colombia.

"There's no healing without justice," said Mollica.

The celebration of the Grace Initiative's mission in Colombia, and Dr. Mollica's talk "Healing the Invisible Wounds of the Past," will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 16. Both events will take place at the Hill Farm Inn in Sunderland, and a donation of $30 to defray the costs of the event is appreciated. Following Mollica's discussion, farm-to-table delicacies alongside wine and Vermont beer will be served. 

For more information, contact the Grace Initiative at contact@grace-initiative.org. To learn more about the organization, visit www.grace-initiative.org. 

Source: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/di...