Forgiveness at the Roots of Faiths – How Understanding the Science of Forgiveness Can Better Heal and Restore Communities of Faith
TWCF Number
Project Duration
April 1 / 2023
- May 1 / 2024
Core Funding Area
Big Questions
Amount Awarded

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Karen Hernandez
Institution World Conference of Religions for Peace, Inc.

The practice of forgiveness is at the root of all faith, tribal, and Indigenous traditions. For more than a decade, Templeton World Charity Foundation has funded the investigation into the science of forgiveness. Religions for Peace seeks to address the following question with this project, directed by Dr. Karen Hernandez. How can the science of forgiveness and reconciliation be internalized and disseminated more holistically within faith, tribal and Indigenous communities to allow true healing and restoration?

Religions for Peace works with multi-collaborative, multi-religious councils that address all areas of peace and security, human rights, and human development within their regions. Many of these councils work within conflict regions, where forgiveness and reconciliation are key aspects to the success of rebuilding trust and peaceful communities. To increase the practice of forgiveness, Religions for Peace’s leaders will adapt and further amplify the science of forgiveness within their own communities.

To this end, the project aims to develop and add a multi-religious perspective into an existing toolkit on forgiveness. Religions for Peace plans to disseminate this kit within communities that experience protracted violence and conflict due to the lasting effects of unaddressed trauma and lack of reconciliatory and restorative practices. The project will convene Religion for Peace’s diverse religious leaders and forgiveness experts for consultation on this adaptation, and will then finalize it into a new version that can be used for training.

The training will be piloted in-person in Liberia and Zimbabwe, working with the Inter-Religious Councils in each country. The piloted forgiveness toolkit will then be adapted to different cultural, regional, and local contexts. The hope is that these tools will enable Religions for Peace to replicate and scale the success of this project within their global network. The organization recognizes that this aspiration is not only needed in communities that have experienced violence, conflict, and trauma, but more, that these practices of forgiveness should be integrated into all peace-building work carried out in the regions where Religions for Peace is present.

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