From Genocide to Generosity

Healing hatred in Rwanda.
John Steward PhD


15th September, 7.00pm to 9.00pm


In 1997 World Vision sent John Steward to Africa to support recovery in communities affected by the Rwandan genocide. For many years he mentored potential healers and peace builders to first change themselves and then invite others to recover and live differently.

From his work among Rwandans who had experienced the genocide, John wrote the book From Genocide to Generosity and then a study guide, To Live Well, on how to find peace within and in community, through actively seeking healing, forgiveness, respect and being just.  Australians with experience of such challenges as conflict, family violence and other trauma have found John’s study guide enables them to live more peacefully or to heal past pain and suffering.

The Talk

During this free public talk John will present a 40 minute video introducing his work and explaining his passion for bringing to Australia some of the benefits gained from the re-humanizing of others in their recovery from troubled times.  He will share his experience of Rwanda as an incredible example of profound recovery from tragedy and disarray, restoring purpose and regaining some of what was lost.   Drawing on stories featured in his book, John will talk about how Rwandans worked with people stuck in grief and loss, and held them as they recovered their humanity and found fresh dignity. After the video, Dr Petrina Barson will conduct a live interview John and then there will be time for questions from the audience.

The ‘To Live Well’ Course

In October John will be leading a 5-week course called ‘To Live Well’.  Based on his study guide and using some of the stories in the book, this is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the universal potential of the Rwandan experience of forgiveness, generosity and recovery, applying these processes to the way we live our own lives and manage experiences of suffering.  You can find out more about this course here.

This Public talk and course are presented by The Contemplary and The Centre for a Compassionate society (CCS).  The CCS was founded in 2019 by The Community Church of St Mark.