Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the founding director of the doctoral program on the psychology of peace and violence
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. I was born in Hungary, where as a young child I lived through Nazism, and then communism. I escaped from there when I was 18 years old,…
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. I was born in Hungary, where as a young child I lived through Nazism, and then communism. I escaped from there when I was 18 years old, lived in Vienna for two years, and then came to the U.S.
I finished my undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota and received my Ph.D. at Stanford. I taught at Harvard and was visiting professor at Stanford, the University of Hawaii and the London School of Economic and Political Science.
Ervin Staub studied the influences that lead to caring, helpful, altruistic behavior in children and adults, and the development of caring and helping in children. Having studied both “active bystandership,” and passivity in the face of people in need, I turned to a focus on perpetration. I 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. I studied the role of passive bystanders in allowing the unfolding of violence. Increasingly I focused 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. I have been concerned with how active bystandership in the service of prevention and reconciliation can be promoted.
My 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), and a number of edited and co edited books (see Vita), including Patriotism in the lives of individuals and nations (1997). A book in progress is Staub, E. The roots of goodness: Inclusive caring, moral courage, altruism born of suffering and active bystandership. New York: Oxford University Press (expected publication in early 2013).
Ervin Staub worked on varied projects in field settings, including the development of a training program for the State of California after the Rodney King incident to reduce the use of unnecessary force by police, teacher training to create classrooms that help children become caring and non-violent, a project in Amsterdam to improve Dutch-Muslim relations, a project in New Orleans to promote healing and reconciliation in the wake of Katrina, and a Training Active Bystanders project in Western Massachusetts to train school children in active bystandership in the face of harmful behavior by their peers, towards other peers.
Since 1999 Ervin Staub have conducted workshops/trainings in Rwanda, together with Laurie Anne Pearlman and other associates, for the staff of organizations that work in the community, with national leaders, with people in the media, and others. In collaboration with Radio LaBenevolencija of Amesterdam, using the approach we developed for our trainings, we have created a variety of educational radio programs, both informational programs and radio dramas. An educational radio drama which began to broadcast in 2004 in Rwanda is still ongoing, as are radio dramas in Burundi and the Congo (DRC) that began to broadcast in 2006. 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.
Ervin Staub also served as an expert witness in violence related cases, for example, at the Abu Ghraib trials. I lectured widely on topics related to my work in academic, public, and government settings in the U.S. and other countries.
Mr. Staub 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. I received varied awards, which 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; I was co-recipient with Dr. Laurie Anne Pearlman of the Headington Institute’s Award of Recognition for dedication and commitment to peace, justice and reconciliation in 2009; the recipient of the 2011 Morton Deutsch Award for Distinguished Scholarly and Practical Contributions to Social Justice from the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Columbia University; and recipient of the 2011 Psychologists for Social Responsibility Anthony J. Marsella Prize for the Psychology of Peace and Social Justice, for “many decades of academic scholarship and groundbreaking fieldwork addressing issues of helping and altruism, bystander behavior, raising caring and nonviolent children, and the prevention of genocide.”
In addition to many professional articles, book chapters and books, my work has been reported in many newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. World and News Report, Oprah Magazine as well as foreign newspapers and magazines, and in appearances on many radio programs, including NPRs All Things considered, Morning Edition, Top of the Nation and regional syndicated programs, and many television programs including NBC and ABC Evening News, 20/20, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, PBS and others. My book, The roots of evil, inspired a three part television series, also called The roots of evil, shown on BBC television in England, the Discovery Channel in the US, and some other countries around the world.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Understanding the roots of genocide and mass killing (psychological, cultural, societal).
Preventing genocide and mass killing.
Societal conditions and culture that are starting points for mass violence.
The psychology of perpetrators and passive bystanders.
The role of positive (active) bystanders in preventing violence between groups.
Heroic helping: rescuers in the Holocaust and in other settings
Examples for all these topics from the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide,
Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Argentina and elsewhere.
Reconciliation after genocide, mass killing and intractable conflict
Psychological woundedness, healing/ psychological recovery
Understanding the roots of violence.
Forgiveness, its constructive and potentially destructive forms
Creating a shared history
The role of justice
Interventions to promote reconciliation and psychological recovery in Rwanda and elsewhere:
Using elements of an approach in working with people in the community, national and community leaders,the media, and in the creation of educational radio programs in Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo.
Research evaluating the impact of interventions.
Raising caring, helpful, non-aggressive children.
The prevention of youth violence and bullying.
Creating caring schools to raise caring and nonviolent children
Wounded children, healing and altruism born of suffering
The psychology and behavior of bystanders. Passivity, action, moral courage and heroism
Basic human needs and their role in aggression and altruism
Cultures of violence and the development of cultures of peace
Altruism born of suffering: how people who have been victimized by personal violence (e.g. in their families) or by political violence can become caring and helpful.
The origins and prevention of terrorism
The origins and prevention of contemporary Islamic terrorism
Improving relations between Europeans (in particular the Dutch) and Muslim minorities in Europe, to prevent violence and terrorism.
Intractable conflict: origins and resolution
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and approaches to its resolution
Perpetrators, Passive and Active Bystanders in Mass Violence, Professor Ervin Staub
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