Speaker: John Steward
John Steward gained his PhD from Adelaide University in 1972, after completing his undergraduate and honors degrees in Agriculture.
He then completed studies in Divinity (BD Hons) at the Melbourne College of Divinity.
In Indonesia from 1974 to 1978 John was a lecturer in theology, agriculture and community development in East Java; joining World Vision in Jakarta in 1979 to initiate a Leadership training program for village development motivators.
Then, for 13 years he facilitated adult learning processes for indigenous community workers from over 50 countries, while a manager with World Vision in Melbourne.
In 1997-8 he was involved in the post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda. For the next 9 years he returned to Rwanda every six months to mentor Rwandese peace and development workers. He heard the stories of change and made many friends.
From 2009-2011 John was mentor in Australia of a project to develop Vanishing Point, an on-line peace and conflict curriculum for secondary students, using stories of Rwandans who have healed relations since 1994.
Since 2012 his focus was on writing and his book on healing and forgiveness after conflict, which was published by Langham Global in 2015. From Genocide to Generosity brings alive stories of healing and hope after trauma.
In Australia John is a spiritual director with the Living Well Centre in Malvern, and with Wellspring, Ashburton.
Before going to Rwanda I had believed in, preached about and lectured on forgiveness. I had also requested it and experienced it, and yet I never really understood it.
The offer of forgiveness always has a context and it was only in my encounters with Rwandans that clear light came. They are my mentors, especially the widows.