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A World without Genocide: Prevention, Reconciliation, and the Creation of Peaceful Societies


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ervin Staub, Psychology Department, University of Massachusetts, 135 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003 [e-mail:].


This article reviews influences leading to extreme violence between groups. It then describes principles and practices of prevention, especially early prevention, and reconciliation: addressing difficult life conditions in ways that include everyone in society; diplomacy that addresses crises and prevents conflicts from becoming intractable; developing constructive visions and groups which make destructive ideological movements less likely; generating positive orientation to previously devalued others; moderating respect for authority in part by encouraging individual judgment; fostering healing by groups from past victimization and psychological woundedness. The socialization of children for inclusive caring and moral courage, developing societal values of cooperation and community, and active bystandership by citizens, leaders, and the media to resist influences leading to violence and create positive institutions that help fulfill basic psychological needs are all important for a world without genocide. The article also describes interventions promoting reconciliation in Rwanda and neighboring countries and research evaluating their effects.