The Rumi Forum presented “Healing the Family of Abraham with Joseph V. Montville, Director of the Abrahamic Family Reunion.

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The Abrahamic Family Reunion (AFR) Project helps foster understanding and healing between and among followers of the three Abrahamic faiths. Unlike traditional interfaith dialogue programs, the focus of the AFR Project is on the historical roots of Jewish-Christian-Muslim animosities from psychological and spiritual perspectives. That is, it asks which historical clashes from the very beginnings of the Abrahamic relationships set the stage for the resentments, fears, and hatreds that have endured to the 21st century. On the positive side, the approach also studies periods in history that can be recovered as precedents for mutual respect and creative coexistence.

The Esalen/TRACK II project is guided by the Project Director’s study of the political psychology of ethnic and religious violence and more than twenty-five years of practical experience in intensive workshops with representatives of groups in conflicts, including Turks, Kurds, Armenians and Greeks, but primarily with Israelis and Arabs.

Joseph V. Montville is director of the Abrahamic Family Reunion, the Esalen Institute project to promote Muslim-Christian-Jewish reconciliation. He is also Senior Adviser on Interfaith Relations at Washington National Cathedral, and has appointments at American and George Mason Universities. Montville founded the preventive diplomacy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 1994 and directed it until 2003. Before that he spent 23 years as a diplomat with posts in the Middle East and North Africa. He also worked in the State Department’s Bureaus of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and Intelligence and Research, where he was chief of the Near East Division and director of the Office of Global Issues. Montville has held faculty appointments at the Harvard and University of Virginia Medical Schools. He defined the concept of “Track Two,” nonofficial diplomacy. Educated at Lehigh, Harvard, and Columbia Universities, Montville is the editor of Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies (Lexington Books, 1990) and editor (with Vamik Volkan and Demetrios Julius) of The Psychodynamics of International Relationships (Lexington Books, 1990 [vol. I], 1991 [vol. II]). In 2008, the International Society of Political Psychology gave Montville its Nevitt Sanford Award for “distinguished professional contribution to political psychology,” at its 31st annual scientific meeting in Paris.

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