In Solidarity with Ukraine
Dear Members of WAPCEPC,
The Board witnesses with deep concern the events unfolding in Ukraine. On a personal level, we have valued members of the WAPCEPC community in Ukraine, and we are due to hold our 16th world conference in Lviv in 2024. Our heart goes out to our Ukrainian colleagues and members of our association who are currently under siege, sheltering in fear for their lives.
On a global level, the actions of the Russian government are so very far removed from the person-centred values that it is difficult to find a way to respond. We hence draw on Carl Rogers’ passionate advocacy for the power of genuine interpersonal dialogue in resolving conflicts. In 1977 writing about resolving intercultural tensions under the looming threat of nuclear war he wrote:
“What possible difference can a new approach to family life or to psychotherapy make when our very planet is threatened with dissolution? … We cannot dodge the fact that our world—the planet Earth—is in mortal danger... Does a person-centered approach have anything useful to offer in solving these immense and dangerous global issues?” (pp. 115-116)
He goes on to say:
“Whether we are speaking of religious differences or of bitterness based in poverty versus wealth or mistrust rooted in differing cultural customs or the seething rage growing out of racial discrimination or deadly centuries old feuds involving a number of these elements, we are not without knowledge of, and experience in, utilizing interpersonal skills which help to resolve these tensions… And it is out of that more complete and powerful humanness that person touches person, communication becomes real, tensions are reduced, and relationships become expressive and understanding, with an acceptance of the negative as well as the positive. This is the end result of a person-centered politics in intergroup frictions.” (pp.138-139)
However, this genuine dialogue is not possible under the threat of violence. We call for an immediate end to the current of violence and aggression by Russian forces in Ukraine so that genuine steps can be taken towards reconciliation and peace.
Rogers, C. R. (1977). Carl Rogers on personal power. Delacorte Press