International Association for Human Values USA

Transforming Roots of Violence into Roots of Peace

Lead Organization

International Association for Human Values USA

Washington, D.C., United States

http://www.iahv.org

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Ongoing vicious cycles of increasing violence and deteriorating mental wellbeing are deeply impacting the quality of life of individuals as well as constituting huge social and economic challenges on a global scale. School violence, gang violence and police shootings in Mexico, Brazil and USA, high levels of violence and recidivism in prisons and post-war Colombia are some of today’s hotspots. IAHV offers a unique bio-psycho-social approach that restores the capacity of youth, police, prisoners, veterans, ex-combatants and survivors of violence to apply adaptive peace promoting alternatives to violence at prevention, mitigation and rehabilitation stages. Priming the physiology for peace produces lasting declines in violence, aggression and recidivism together with improvements in wellbeing, thus offering a solution to a crucial need of our time that is intensely life-changing but sufficiently cost-effective to be scalable. The long term goal is to provide the world with a replicable violence preventative system.

Problem Statement

Every day manifestations of violence in our societies, such as school shootings, high recidivism rates, bullying, radicalisation, war, intolerance, homicide, suicide and self-harm, destroy the lives of millions of individuals, families and affected communities. Exposure to violence increases aggression, depression, trauma, anxiety, substance abuse, dysfunctional behavior and other mental health issues. Ongoing vicious cycles of increasing violence and deteriorating mental wellbeing deeply impact the quality of life of individuals as well as constituting huge social and economic challenges on a global scale. School violence, gang violence and police shootings in Mexico, Brazil and USA as well as high levels of violence and recidivism in prisons and post-war Colombia are some of today’s hotspots affecting millions of people directly and indirectly. We need a scalable and cost-effective intervention that can effectively start breaking these cycles. One leverage point with a strong, direct and sustainable impact largely overlooked is the mental fitness and wellbeing of people perpetrating and being affected by violence. People who are mentally fit exhibit resilience, cooperation, positivity, strength, human values and the ability to handle challenges and conflict in a constructive and nonviolent manner. People who are internally disturbed, however, are more prone to isolation, depression, anxiety, violent outbursts, nervous breakdowns, aggression, apathy, blame and polarisation. While we witness an alarming and rapidly deteriorating mental health crisis, too many people find themselves not mentally fit while lacking awareness, knowledge and tools to improve their own wellbeing. Standard treatments are predominantly crisis oriented, pharmaceutical, inaccessible and expensive.

Solution Overview

To break the cycles of increasing violence and deteriorating mental wellbeing, IAHV provides a visionary and effective solution that facilitates the shift beyond violence and disease towards nonviolence, optimal wellbeing and the manifestation of human values. IAHV's SKY technique represents a unique bio-psycho-social approach that effectively resets the physiology of individuals towards peace promoting mindsets, attitudes and behavior. Through a multipronged approach IAHV will work with people involved in and affected by violence by concentrating its evidence-based programs (SKY Schools, Prison Program, Healing and Resilience, Welcome Home Veterans Program) in selected hotspots to break cycles of violence at prevention, mitigation and rehabilitation stages. Youth, police, prisoners, guards, veterans, ex-combatants and survivors of violence will not only benefit from improved mental fitness, well-being, social-emotional support and cognitive restructuring, but also from the physiological wellbeing and ability to choose constructive responses over violence, and more fully express human values and attitudes to strengthen cultures of peace. The project seeks to institutionalize its approach and affect systemic changes in education, criminal justice and violence rehabilitation systems, promoting the human values of peace, well-being and dignity. Priming the physiology for peace produces lasting declines in violence, aggression and recidivism together with improvements in wellbeing, thus offering a solution to an urgent need of our time that is intensely life-changing, but sufficiently cost-effective enough to be scalable. The long term goal is to provide the world with a replicable violence preventative system.

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Project Funders

  • U.S. State Department 2013 - 2015
  • European Union 2016 - 2019
  • U.S. State Department 2012 - 2014

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