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Post conflict

Cultural competence in supporting Cambodians recovering from conflict (CULCOM)

Eisenbruch, M. (Victoria University), Humphrey, M. (UNSW), Galla, A (ANU),  Kapferer, B (Bergen)
Australian Research Council, DP0665062, ($155,000)

Societies emerging from civil conflict bear cultural resources that should be harnessed by attempts to build the peace – but how can this be achieved? This project aims to create a framework for cultural competence in promoting peace in societies emerging from violent conflict. The objectives are: document transformations of Cambodian traditional healing; explore consequences of erosion of culture; explore the potential to revitalise it and enhance cultural competence of health systems dealing with the consequences of conflict; and create a digital library as a resource for programs. This project is the first to investigate how healers might help contain and transform new forms of violence. The framework can be applied to other settings.

·         Document the cultural transformations of Cambodian traditional healing practices (the intangible culture) under the influence of post-conflict forces

·         Explore the impact of cultural erosion upon the ‘cultural capital’ of family/community life

·         Explore the potential to revitalise cultural capital and enhance cultural competence of public health systems

Create a digital library of the intangible culture of Cambodian traditional healing systems which can be used by the people and the international community as a living document for planning services and improving health outcomes as well as an historic archive


2006:     $60,000
2007:     $60,000
2008:     $35,000

Re-imagining Peace After Massacres: A Trans-Disciplinary and Comparative Effort Towards the Prevention of Failed States and Rebuilding of Functioning Societies

Pouligny, B. (Centre for International Studies and Research, France), Virginia Foundation for the Humanities/University of Virginia, University of Lausanne, University of Turin, and others – Associate Investigator

Ford Foundation, USD20,000

Network seeding grant (for Sources of Insecurity Network, with RMIT University, ANU, Deakin, UTS)

Kippax, S., Zwi, A., Humphrey, M., Silove, D., Worth, H., Reid, E.,  Eisenbruch, M., Jolly, M., Aggleton, P., and others – Lead organisation: University of New South Wales

ARC, $10,000

Australia-Canada collaboration on health and conflict - – Preventing violence, recovery and building the peace

Zwi, A, Silove, D., Humphrey, M., Eisenbruch, M., and Whelan, A.

Health And Security : Building Secure Communities and Promoting Regional Stability.  Issues Paper I, for “The Consultative Meeting on the Interface between Health Systems, Peace-building and Post-conflict Recovery Efforts”

AusAID, $300,000 ($150,000 p.a.)

The development of culturally relevant training in community psychosocial and mental health

van de Put, W., de Jong, J. – (Eisenbruch, M. Associate)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), Netherlands

Local concepts and management of physical and mental disorders in Cambodia

Eisenbruch, M. (University of Melbourne/CNRS, France)
Eisenbruch, M. (CNRS, France)
Ministry for Higher Education and Research, France, $20,000
Eisenbruch, M and Crochet, S.
Fondation Le Grand, France
Wenner Gren Foundation, New York, $15,000

This ongoing research program was started almost twenty years ago. A study of traditional healers is continuing. More than 1,200 healers (kruu, monks, traditional birth attendants, mediums) and their patients have been studied over the past 12 years.  The investigator for a time became an apprentice to one healer. The traditional rituals and the interactions between various types of healers and their patients have have been filmed over 5,000 hours. The study includes rural and remote areas, some targetted groups of fomer Khmer Rouge soldiers and their families, and various ethnic minorities including the Cham and the autochthonous tribes. More than 600 types of medicaments have been documented, with attention to their symbolic meaning.
The indigenous categories of illness and the management of various types of mental disorders and psychosocial problems, women’s and children’s illnesses, and communicable disorders including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and leprosy have been examined. Current  attention focuses on the responses of the healing system to post-conflict reconstruction and to the current epidemic of HIV/AIDS.
The results contribute to the provision of culturally appropriate health care and workforce development. In addition, the results support the documentation in UNESCO’s terms of "intangible culture", the expressions of unique cultural identity such as indigenous languages, traditional folklore, music and healing.
Researchers:  Maurice Eisenbruch

Researchers:  Maurice Eisenbruch, Mr Cheth Naren and Mr Chou Sam Ath (Cambodia)
Publications: van de Put and Eisenbruch - Healing trauma in Cambodian communities