Masterclass - Trauma and war: Ending the silence

Oct. 27, 2020


Father with kids in Jordan - refugee settlement - War Child programmes
Life in the midst of violence and armed conflict results in a dark legacy of psychological suffering - a legacy that is passed down through generations. Research into the intergenerational transmission of trauma is increasing - yet there is little consensus on its causes and manifestations. So how can we end the silence - and better understand the social, genetic and psychological drivers behind the transmission of trauma?

These issues were explored in our War Child Masterclass in which we were joined by Prof. Dr Ria Reis - professor of medical anthropology at Leiden University and Honorary Professor at the Children’s Institute of the School of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Cape Town - and leading cultural anthropologist Dr. Lidewyde Berckmoes.

Dr. Reis’s graduate work in cultural anthropology focused on Tibetan Buddhism in Ladakh, however her doctoral research took her to medical anthropology, neuropsychiatry and Africa. She lived in Swaziland from 1985-88, investigating traditional healing and the epilepsy treatment gap and in the 90s, focused on epilepsy, chronic illness and disability. Over the past 20 years, her research, and that of her many doctoral students, has shifted to the intergenerational transmission of vulnerabilities in contexts of inequality and (post)conflict, and young people’s health perceptions, strategies and resilience.

Lidewyde Berckmoes_Ria Reis_Masterclass_War Child

Professor of Medical Anthropology Dr. Ria Reis and Cultural Anthropologist Dr. Lidewyde Berckmoes

This Masterclass event formed part of our ‘Ending the Silence’ campaign. The campaign marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War with a call for the world to increase psychosocial support for children living with the effects of violence and armed conflict - support denied to children in 1945.