Crucial to the ethos of The Forgiveness Project is that it explores rather than propagates forgiveness, reflecting the stories of real people rather than the opinions of experts. Since the charity was founded in 2004 we have been inspired by numerous book, films, websites and lectures.
These are a selection of our top choices…
You can purchase Stories of Forgiveness, a collection of some of the stories from The F Word exhibition here.
- Brené Brown studies human connection in her TEDx The Power of Vulnerability – our ability to empathise, belong, love. She shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself – and humanity.
- Brené Brown explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on in her TEDx Listening to Shame.
- Philip Zimbardo, leader of the Stanford Prison Experiment 1971, shares insights from the Abu Ghraib trials in his TEDx The Psychology of Evil. Then he discusses the flip side: how easy it is for any of us to be a hero.
- Karen Amstrong presents to TED My Wish: The Charter for Compassion outlining her ask to us all: to help build a Charter for Compassion, to restore the Global Rule – we should treat others as we would, in turn, like to be treated.
Examining themes of forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict transformation, Marina Cantacuzino’s The Forgiveness Project: stories for a vengeful age brings together the personal testimonies of both survivors and perpetrators of crime and violence and asks the question whether forgiveness may have more currency than revenge in an age, which seems locked into the cycle of conflict.
Stephen Cherry’s Healing Agony: Re-Imagining Forgiveness explores the theology of forgiveness alongside other, contemporary, forgiveness stories to provide insights for those facing this challenge.
The Book of Forgiving, written together by the Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and his daughter Revd Mpho Tutu, offers a deeply personal testament and guide to the process of forgiveness.
Desmond Tutu’s No Future without Forgiveness: A Personal Overview of South Africa’s Trust and Reconciliation Commission recounts Tutu’s involvement as the head of the pioneering international experiment to expose the worst atrocities committed under apartheid – and to rehabilitate the dignity of its victims.
James Gilligan’s Violence: Reflections on our Deadliest Epidemic examines the nature and meaning of violence within society, discussing the impact of violent crimes on those who have committed them. Gilligan comments on the conventional legal and punitive systems, which are based on notions of retribution.
The Lucifer Effect: Understanding how good people turn evil is Philip Zimbardo’s examination of how the human mind has the capacity to be kind or cruel, challenging our conceptions of who we think we are, and what we believe we will never do.
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s experience with, and empathy for, victims of murderous violence is revealed during TRC hearings, where both perpetrators and victims are given a voice – documented in her book A Human Being Died that Night:A South African Woman Confronts the Legacy of Apartheid.
Shadd Maruna asks, ‘can hardened criminals really reform?’ in Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives. Maruna’s answer is “yes”.
Whatever the source of one’s loss, Stephen Levine suggests in Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart that grief must be thoroughly worked through, or else it can lead to addiction, clinical depression and other complaints.
Roman Krznaric’s Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution argues that empathy is at the heart of who we are, as our brains are wired for social connection.
Stephen Joseph’s studies in What Doesn’t Kill Us: The new psychology of post traumatic growth lead to a radical discovery: that a wide range of traumatic events, can act as the impetus towards positive change.
Please note that many of our storytellers have written books and details of these can be found on their particular page.
- The Empathy Library – http://empathylibrary.com
- Charter for Compassion – http://charterforcompassion.org
- Against Violent Extremism – http://www.againstviolentextremism.org
The Forgiveness Project Films:
The Forgiveness Project ran a digital media accredited course at High Down prison, Surrey, in 2008-9 where prisoners devised and created a series of short films chronicling their life stories and their ideas around forgiveness.
If you would like to see a selection of these films please click here.
Beyond Right and Wrong explores the relationship between aggressors and their victims through interviews with people on both sides of conflict. Focussing on Rwanda, N Ireland and Israel/ Palestine, the film explores learning to forgive in the most difficult of circumstances, and it addresses the concept of justice in a troubled world:
Being with the Energy of Love and Forgiveness is a short film presented by Dr. Mark Umbreit, PhD, founding director of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota. The film is funded by the Fetzer Institute and highlights individuals and communities who have found the courage to engage in face-to-face restorative dialogue:
Unlikely Friends documents victims of brutal crimes who, through forgiveness, unexpectedly become friends with their perpetrators:
The Power of Forgiveness explores recent research into the psychological and physical effects of forgiveness on individuals and within relationships under a wide variety of conditions:
Beyond Forgiving tells the inspiring journey of two South Africans who bring healing and reconciliation to post-apartheid South Africa:
A Step Too Far is a personal meditation on the nature of forgiveness by Marina Moorehead: