Turks, Kurds & Armenians in Dialogue

Turks, Kurds & Armenians
in Dialogue


A One-Day Experiential Workshop
Exploring the Historical Legacy of Anatolia

San Francisco, CA
Saturday, June 21, 2014
10:00am – 4:30pm

Calling on Turks, Kurds, Armenians, and anyone with ethnic or religious heritage connected with Turkey or the Ottoman Empire, to participate.

During our day together we will explore:

  • Historical/ancestral legacies and how they manifest in our daily lives
  • How we can take steps towards healing personal and collective wounds
  • How we can convert historical trauma into constructive action

Psychodramatic and Sociodramatic processes will be integrated into the process.

Facilitated by psychotherapist and drama therapist Armand Volkas with the support of graduate students from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) Drama Therapy Program.

HWH Workshop in Istanbul

August 2013 – Photo from HWH Workshop in Istanbul
where participants explored the GEZI movement and their stories.

Advance registration is required.

  • Registration & your participation including your personal stories are confidential.

For more information and to reserve your space:
Nermin Soyalp
(510) 541-3211, nerminsoyalp@gmail.com


Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT
(Assisted by Graduate Students
from the CIIS Counseling Psychology/ Drama Therapy Program)

The California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA

Saturday, June 21, 2014,
10am – 4:30pm

No Charge

The Legacy of Collective Trauma in Anatolia

When we look at human history, it is filled with grim events such as wars, genocide, assassinations of inspirational leaders, natural disasters, and famine. Anatolia (the Asian part of modern day Turkey) was no exception. In Anatolia several historical traumatic events occurred in the last century and there continues to be a great controversy around them:

  • World War I
  • Collapse of the Ottoman Empire
  • Armenian Genocide
  • Armed conflict between Kurds and Turks

During the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Armenians, Kurds, Turks and many other ethnicities and religious groups who, for over 1000 years, had lived side-by-side became estranged and sometimes enemies.

In 1914 and 1915 throughout Anatolia, Armenians were forced to leave their ancestral lands and many were massacred with Armenians claiming that up to a million of their people were murdered in acts of genocide.

The formation of the Turkish national state in 1923, and the ‘Turkification’ process (anyone who was a resident of Turkey was considered ‘Turkish’ regardless of their ethnicity) created major conflicts among the Anatolian cultures. The Kurds resisted assimilating as ‘Turkish’, and wanted their language and culture to be honored and respected. Subsequently creating an ongoing conflict between Turks and Kurds has resulted in armed conflicts especially since the 1980s.

Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian cultures, either in the diaspora or at home, are fated to live side by side as they have for half a millennium. As a result their destinies are intertwined, and their sense of self intimately tied to the other.

How do we navigate through this psychologically loaded minefield
towards constructive dialogue and cooperation?

Healing the Wounds of History workshops are based on the premise that there can be no political solutions to intercultural conflict until we understand and take into consideration the emotional, and unconscious drives of the human being. The Healing the Wounds of History method, which takes a psychological approach to conflict, provides a map to help participants traverse the emotional terrain to reconciliation.

Healing the Wounds of History

Healing the Wounds of History is a process in which experiential techniques are used to work with a group of participants who share a common legacy of historical trauma. The process was developed by Armand Volkas, MFT, a psychotherapist and drama therapist from Berkeley, California. Volkas is the son of Auschwitz survivors and resistance fighters from World War II. He was moved by his personal struggle with this legacy of historical trauma to address the issues that arose from it: identity, victimization and perpetration, meaning and grief. Healing the Wounds of History helps participants work through the burden of such legacies by transforming their pain into constructive action. Armand Volkas’s work has received international recognition for bringing groups in conflict together: Germans and Jews; Turks and Armenians; Turks and Kurds; Palestinians and Israelis; Japanese, Chinese and Koreans; African-Americans and European-Americans, to name a few.

Download the flyer: Turks Kurds and Armenians in Dialogue