When the Smoke Clears: Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Violence

When the Smoke Clears: Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Violence

Thursday, September 13, 2018, 7pm
Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
$10 admission; free for students (with valid ID) and Holocaust survivors
$50 for VIP tickets


Dr. Ervin Staub is a psychologist whose research examines the roots of goodness (caring and helping) and the roots of violence, especially genocide and mass killing, and who applies his research to real world interventions. Motivated in part by his experience of surviving the Holocaust in Hungary as a young child, one central focus of his work has been the role of passive and active bystanders. He is professor of psychology, emeritus, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the founding director of the doctoral program there on the psychology of peace and violence.

In this talk, Dr. Staub will discuss the role of passive bystanders in the evolution of violence and the power of active bystanders; describe his work in Rwanda to promote healing and reconciliation after the genocide; his work in the Netherlands to improve Dutch-Muslim relations after violence; the training he developed  in active bystandership for California police in the wake of the Rodney King incident, so that officers stop unnecessary harmful actions by fellow officers, which has been used to great success in New Orleans in the last three years; and training students in schools to be active bystanders who stop bullying.

This event will feature a VIP Reception at 6pm with Dr. Staub, which will include light hors d’oeuvres and drinks. VIP tickets are $50 and include the public lecture.
Public lecture alone is $10, free for students with valid ID and Holocaust Survivors

Dr Staub’s staff biography from UMass Amherst:

Dr. Staub has been president of the International Society of Political Psychology as well as the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence (Division 48 of the American Psychological Association). From the latter organization, he received the “Award for life-long contributions to peace psychology.”

Dr. Staub has published numerous articles and chapters on helping behavior and altruism, the passivity of bystanders in the face of others’ need, the development of caring, and ways to reduce aggression in children. Included among his extensive writings is the influential, Psychology of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and his new book:  The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage, Altruism Born of Suffering, Active Bystandership and Heroism (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Dr. Staub studies the roots of violence between groups, especially mass killings, genocide, and terrorism. He has also studied reconciliation after violence and its prevention. Dr. Staub has applied his work in numerous real world settings. For example, he created a training program for California police officers in the wake of the Rodney King incident in Los Angeles; he also worked in Massachusetts schools on a project assessing bullying and school climate in an effort to promote more caring schools.

Dr. Staub has been involved in a number of projects designed to promote “healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation” in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide just over a decade ago. This work has been supported by the John Templeton Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and others.

Books by Ervin Staub:


Ervin Staub’s CV