Prof. Ervin Staub

Ervin Staub is a Professor of Psychology Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Founding Director of its Ph.D. concentration in the Psychology of Peace and Violence. He was born in Hungary, and survived both Nazi and Communist regimes before escaping at the age of 18. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and received his Ph.D. from Stanford. He has taught at Harvard, Stanford, and the London School of Economic and Political Science.

His books include the two volume Positive Social Behavior and Morality (Volume 1, Social and Personal influence, 1978; Volume 2, Socialization and Development, 1979); The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence (1989); The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults and Groups Help and Harm Others (2003), Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (2011). He is currently writing The Panorama of Mass Violence: Origins, Prevention, Reconciliation and the Development of Caring and Active Bystandership (expected publication 2012).

He has studied the social conditions, culture, psychology of individuals and groups, and social processes that lead to mass violence, especially genocide and mass killing, but also violent conflict, terrorism and torture. Increasingly he has been focusing on understanding how violence between groups can be prevented, as well as how hostile groups can reconcile, especially in post-conflict settings after violence between them, as well as how positive group relations can be facilitated.

Since 1998 he has conducted projects in Rwanda, together with associates, working with communities, national leaders, journalists, as well as radio dramas and other educational radio programs. The educational radio programs which began to broadcast in 2004 are still ongoing, and have expanded to Burundi and the Congo. The aim of this work is to promote healing, reconciliation and help prevent new violence and/or stop ongoing violence, and help people impacted by violence lead better lives. In 2007 the Rwandan radio projects won the Human Rights & Accountability award that was launched by the UN for the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights.

He is past President of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence: Peace Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, and of the International Society for Political Psychology, and received awards that include the Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Prize of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; the Life-time Contributions to Peace Psychology Award of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence: Peace Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association; the Nevitt Sanford Award for Contributions to Political Psychology from the International Society for Political Psychology; the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Armenian American Society for Studies on Stress & Genocide; the Jean Meyer award for outstanding leadership from Tufts University; the Max Hayward Award from the American Orthopsychiatric Association for distinguished scholarship in the mental health disciplines that contributes to the elimination of genocide and the remembrance of the Holocaust; the Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies; the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; the 2011 Morton Deutsch Award for Distinguished Contributions to Social Justice from the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Columbia University; and co-recipient with Dr. Laurie Anne Pearlman the Headington Institute’s Award of Recognition for dedication and commitment to peace, justice and reconciliation.

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