Justice, Forgiveness, Truth, Peace

Exercise description

Pairs of participants are tasked with advocating (i.e. speaking in favour of) one of the following terms: justice, forgiveness (or mercy), truth, or peace. These are the four elements of the reconciliation process, according to Lederach. They have ten minutes to prepare arguments for why their concept (justice, forgiveness, truth, or peace) is the most important for reconciliation.

Then a volunteer from the group lines up the representatives of these concepts in the middle of the room in their order of importance (according to her own assessment of the priorities, she starts with the concept she sees as the most important, then next in importance, and so on). When she lines them up, she explains to everyone why she decided on that particular order. Then the representatives of the concepts are given an opportunity to say how they see their position, how they think they should be ranked and why.

If there is enough time, it can be interesting to have another volunteer rank the elements, i.e. to repeat the process with a new volunteer.



At the end, have a brief plenary discussion about our different contexts (how far along are these processes in our communities, what is missing, what is being treated as crucial, etc.).


Type of exercise:


45-90 min


This exercise can contribute to a better understanding of these concepts, their meanings and importance, which is particularly useful in our contexts where these concepts are often confused or equated or seen as opposites. Since during the exercise the discussion is manly abstract and conceptual, it is useful to leave time for a plenary discussion that will take into account our particular context, because contextualising these concepts will contribute to understanding them better.

It is recommended that two people are assigned to work together on representing one concept, because it will be easier for them if they can have an exchange to help them prepare (in some groups, the task may be too difficult for people to do on their own). A theoretical framework can also be useful (e.g. brief input about Lederach’s understanding of these concepts and his interpretation of their role in social processes), especially if there is confusion among the group about these concepts.

Possible difficulties:

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