Building Youth Resilience and Communal Justice: Forgiveness as a Civic Virtue in Rwanda
As part of the “Self, Virtue, and Public Life” Initiative based at the University of Oklahoma (directed by Nancy Snow and Darcia Narvaez and funded by the Templeton Religion Trust), this project seeks to explore forgiveness as a civic virtue in post-genocide Rwanda. Led by Dr. Jonathan Tirrell and in collaboration with Drs. Erin Kelly and Lionel McPherson (Tufts Philosophy Department) and Dr. Alistair Sim (Compassion International; CI), the project will build on the ongoing CI Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD), a cohort comparative, counterfactual, longitudinal evaluation of the PYD programs of CI that assesses thriving among youth living in poverty. In Year 1 of the project, qualitative interviews with CI-staff “caregivers” and “forgiveness exemplars” in Rwanda will probe questions related to conflict, justice, and moral repair, and how forgiveness may shape one’s identity and contributions to society. Based on the themes that emerge from those interviews, in Year 2 of the project, quantitative measures will be developed to assess, using a fully person-centered (idiographic) approach, the development of forgiveness among adolescents and how it may relate to personalized trajectories of thriving. The project aims to elucidate the roles and processes of forgiveness as a virtue with societal implications by advancing our understanding of justice and human flourishing.
Alistair Sim, Ph.D.
Program Effectiveness Research Director