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NDEJURU, Lisa (Core Member)


PhD Student, INDI, Concordia University

Lisa Ndejuru received her master's degree in clinical counseling from Université de Sherbrooke, and is certified in Moreno psychodrama, community mediation and third party neutral conflict resolution facilitation. She is a skilled practitioner of Playback Theatre and is a founding member of the Montreal-based Living Histories Ensemble. She has served the Rwandan diaspora in North America for over 20 years as an organizer and activist. Her clinical practice as an employee-assistance counselor for Morneau Shepell emphasizes deep listening and solution-focused strategies. She is president of the Canadian Association of Pastoral Counsellors and is a trainer and core member of the Winnipeg-based Vidaview group. For seven years Lisa was a community co-applicant and steering committee member of the major SSHRC-funded community-university project Life stories of Montrealers displaced by genocide, war and other human rights abuses. Motivated by her own family's story of trauma and displacement, her current PhD studies at Concordia University are at the intersection of community engagement, clinical practice, and arts-based research. Her extensive experimentation with storytelling, play and improvised theatre in post-trauma settings aims for individual and collective meaning-making and empowerment in the aftermath of large-scale political violence. She has presented and published internationally on these themes. As a teacher she seeks to facilitate and nurture self reflection, creativity and engaged learning.

Honoring story: speaking, listening, creating in the aftermath of violence

My research will be based on a detailed analysis of recorded life story interviews and related research-creation projects produced by the 2005-2012 SSHRC/CURA project Life stories of Montrealers displaced by genocide, war and other human rights violations, for which I served as a community co-applicant and steering committee member. The principal investigator was Dr. Steven High, Canada Research Chair in Public History, who now is my PhD supervisor. I believe that dealing with the consequences of mass violence should properly be viewed as a social development issue calling for empowerment through the building of more inclusive, cohesive, resilient, and accountable institutions and societies. Toward that end I aim to assemble a new body of knowledge based on the Montreal life stories experience. My objective is to refine our understanding of ways in which memories of extreme violence can be addressed safely and productively by lay people in school and community settings, to mitigate violence’s “affective force” (Simon 2011).

Publications, presentations, and other outcomes

Book chapters

Lisa Ndejuru. A Modest Reconciliation: Coming to Terms with Conflicted Stories through Oral History, Dialogue, and Playback Theatre in Montreal’s Rwandan Canadian Community. In "Forced Migration, Reconciliation, and Justice". Megan Bradley ed. McGill Queens University Press.

Nisha Sajnani, Warren Linds, Alan Wong, Lisa Ndejuru, Lucy Lu, Paul L. Gareau, and David Ward. The Living Histories Ensemble: Sharing Authority Through Play, Storytelling, and Performance in the Aftermath of Collective Violence. Anita Sinner and Diane Conrad eds. Wilfrid Laurier University Press.


Concordia University