Currently, the Healing the Wounds of History program is redesigning ESPERE for the specific situation of Lebanon, as one of its training programmes. The aim of the ESPERE is to transform narrations of blame and victimhood into an understanding of one’s own responsibilities for action. This constitutes a shift from what is typically viewed as the only possible responses to being the victim of violence – those of rage, hate and desire for revenge, towards responses that are emotionally healthy, healing and liberating. ESPERE is a well-acknowledged and well-received group-based programme for healing and conflict transformation. Originally conceived by scholars and practitioners at the Harvard University, ESPERE has been developed by the Foundation of Reconciliation of Colombia, winner of several international awards for contribution to peacebuilding including the UNESCO Peace Education Prize. Over 82,000 people have been trained in the ESPERE approach, and they form part of an international network spanning ten countries in South America, the U.S.A., Canada, Kenya, Rwanda and other countries in Africa.
On June 6-8 2013, an introductory ESPERE training and an opportunity for a local input to contextualize the training to the present needs of Lebanon took place at the American University of Beirut.
This training was open to selected educators, teachers, NGO professionals and others willing to take this training further and work on its development. The June opportunity was the first stepping-stone to launching this project before the follow up training, aimed to take place in November 2013.