Building vibrant and resilient communities in the US and abroad begins with a recognition of the traumas of the past and a common search for new forms of mutual support, inspiration and encouragement.

Research demonstrates that helplessness and disempowerment are central outcomes of a traumatizing experience. The path to a restored awareness of self as an actor in the world requires that survivors regain a sense of safety and then explore how to take charge of their lives in meaningful ways. At the same time, community-building is most effective when it grows out of honest conversations about past struggles and fears. Working with others in community endeavors is life-giving for those who have survived trauma, and it is a solid way to build social resilience.

The IWA Program on Trauma Healing and Community Resilience (PATH) is dedicated to developing projects sited in the US and abroad that connect individual trauma healing with community-building.

  • Art and Post-Conflict Healing
    Workshops to raise consciousness and develop insight into the use of the arts for trauma recovery and for building individual and group resilience.
  • Youth Trauma and Resilience in Inner Cities
    A youth violence prevention program that includes trauma therapy, conflict management training, and the development of life skills.
  • Transgenerational Trauma
    A research and applied program exploring recovery and resilience with offspring of survivors of mass killing and genocide.

Director:

Dr. Margaret Smith has devoted her life to exploring the nexus between personal growth and social change. Her doctoral research focused on new ways dissemination of historical ideas can be used to mitigate conflict, including the pedagogy of the teaching of history as a tool for post-conflict reconstruction. That research issued in Reckoning with the Past: Teaching History in Northern Ireland (Lexington Books, 2005). Read more

Program Assistants:

Adrienne Castellón currently works as a nonprofit consultant in the fundraising sector. She has a background in art, anthropology, and peace building. Much of her focus centers on the intersection between art and peace, particularly in the context of healing and community resilience. Adrienne graduated from American University’s School of International Service with an M.A. in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs.