This August, the South Indian state of Kerala has witnessed the most disastrous monsoon in over 100 years. More than 200,000 people have been rendered homeless and more than 300 left dead, with no means of access – roads, electricity, mobile phone networks, and transport. Cochin airport lies dilapidated and closed until August 26. 41 of Kerala’s 44 rivers are overflowing. Kerala’s residents need your help!
IAHV in partnership with Art of Living Foundation is responding to this situation. Over the past few days, hundreds of volunteers were deployed in relief work across several districts of Kerala. They have been distributing food, water, essential supplies and providing shelter to people in the hardest-hit districts.
IAHV and Art of Living Foundation’s staff and volunteers are trained to handle high disaster areas. With experience in disaster relief of over three decades and a wide partner network, we follow a proven three-pronged approach:
- Immediate Relief, through supplies – food, water, medicines, clothes, and other basic amenities;
- Post-Trauma Relief, through trauma relief counseling, meditation, and breathing programs; and
- Long-Term Rehabilitation, through assistance with rebuilding shelters, vocational training,
This approach has helped thousands in multiple situations (including the recent disasters in Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Assam) recuperate quickly and get back to the main stream of their lives.
With your support, IAHV & Art of Living Foundation is working relentlessly to help alleviate the suffering of those severely affected. At times of crisis, collective resolution can go a long way to help those who need it most.
Your donation can mean the difference between life and death for people caught in the aftermath of this natural disaster. Your financial support would go towards offering food, clean water, hygiene & shelter kit, medical aid and help rehabilitate flood-affected survivors.
Donate now to IAHV KERALA FLOOD RELIEF and make a difference. IAHV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are fully tax-deductible.
We thank you for your generosity.
IAHV Team in partnership with The Art of Living Foundation
June 5, 2018 New York, NY
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. In the context of the Science, Technology and Innovation Forum for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this side event highlighted the contributions of the International Association for Human Values and of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) in the implementation of these global goals. Biodiversity and water cut across all dimensions of sustainable development. Collective efforts to achieve SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 15 (life on land) would directly contribute towards the achievement of all other SDGs. UNESCO’s Lima Action Plan of the MAB Programme highlights the key role of biosphere reserves in implementing the Agenda 2030.
The event offered a platform for experts and audiences to discuss ways to share and learn from successful experiences in implementing SDG 6 and in reaching the most marginalized groups, often excluded from the benefits of development. The conversation also delved into MAB programme and its WNBR to contribute to formulate an overarching and compelling narrative to communicate effectively on the SDGs. Going forward, the MAB program would focus on the role of local and indigenous knowledge in biodiversity management to identify trends among local good practices.
The panel was chaired by Dr. Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director–General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO. Panelists included, Dr. Ajay Tejasvi Narasimhan, Director for Leadership and Governance, Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values; Mr. Vongani Maringa, MAB South Africa, Department of Environmental Affairs; Mr. Jean Philippe Messier, Canadian Association for Biosphere Reserves Canada; Mr. Leonard Kenny, Tsa Tue Biosphere Reserve, Canada; and Dr. Didier Babin, Chair of the MAB International Cocoordinating Council (ICC). The discussions were moderated by Professor Inger Maren, from the University of Bergen, Norway.
Dr. Ajay Tejasvi set the tone of the conversation by stating, “The Art of Living and International Association for Human Values seek to strengthen society by strengthening individuals. Our programs build resilient communities that are capable of dealing with the effects of climate change. One major initiative is about involving local communities in the process of integrated river basin rejuvenation. Till date, we have worked across 4 states in India, working on rejuvenating 37 rivers and tributaries across 9 river basins. From the scientifically rigorous initial preparation to planning and implementation, local communities are involved in every step of the way. This ensures that capacity remains in the community, even after the experts leave. The involvement of communities means more citizen engagement thus strengthening grassroots democracy and reduces risks of conflicts.”
It was evident that multi-sectoral efforts are required to realize the promise of SDG6 and SDG15. Dr Flavia Schlegel rounded off the discussion by reaffirming that UNESCO has unique tools to support Member states in implementing the SDG’s in a holistic way: the UNESCO sites such as the 669 biosphere reserves, belonging to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves located in 120 countries, including 20 transboundary sites. This World Network is dedicated to share positive solutions and to inspire and engage other stakeholders to its vision. Experiences and stories shared by all speakers highlighted the central role of local communities, and particularly indigenous peoples, in the implementation and sustainability of the projects. Strengthening partnerships and meaningful participation is essential to achieve the implementation of the SDGs 6 and guaranteeing access to water for all. The World Network has produced one-minute videos #ProudToShare for people to understand how they can contribute to solutions and to changing the world by 2030, when the SDGs are fully achieved.
To Improve the Lives of At-Risk Youth of NY & NJ
With Special Guest, MARIANNE WILLIAMSON,
Internationally Acclaimed Author and Lecturer
February 8th, 2018
5:30 – 9:00 PM, at one of NY’s top vegetarian restaurants of 2017
Mixer with Eilxers and Mocktails
4 Course Ayurvedic Dinner by Chef Divya Adler| Marianne’s Insight and Inspiration in an Intimate Setting | Live Music | Silent Auction
When you purchase a ticket, the entire cost will support 5 NY/NJ youth to receive the YES! For Schools Program for an entire year.
Purchase TicketsPurchase Tickets
ABOUT YES! FOR SCHOOLS
YES! For Schools is a program that teaches stress reduction, mindfulness and meditation skills that empower youth to rise above hardship and realize their full potential.
In the United States, nearly 1 out of every 3 students reports being a victim of bullying.
In 2017, Eastside High School in Newark, NJ, saw a 90% reduction in disciplinary actions, including bullying, with their at-risk youth students after learning YES! For Schools.
YES for Schools has shared life-changing skills to more than 70,000 young people in the US, in 22 states, in over 200 schools across the country, through uniquely bridging Social Emotional Learning, Restorative Practices & Mindfulness.
The goal is to reach 1 million youth by 2022.
Let’s come together for a night of connection and radical change. Help us raise awareness and $90,000 for YES! for Schools.
Nara SchoenbergContact Reporter
Standing shoulder to shoulder with six of his fellow veterans, Fred Moffatt was honoring the dead at a military funeral, just as he’d done a hundred times before.
But that day last spring at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, something was different. The air was hot and wet: jungle air. The rain hitting Moffatt’s raincoat made exactly the sound the rain used to make when it fell on his metal combat helmet in Vietnam. Ordinary leaves took on vivid tropical hues, and distant trees lined up in the neat rows of Southeast Asian rubber plantations.
Featured Video: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/95012795-132.html
Moffatt’s face turned ghost-white, and his body shook as time and space contracted, catapulting him back to 1967. It was all he could do not to shout out a warning when the wind sent a ripple through a bank of tall grasses: “Movement to the front!”
That kind of acute flashback could once have hounded Moffatt for hours, but the 71-year-old former Army medic from Joliet is one of a growing number of combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who are getting relief from an unlikely source: a yoga-based breathing and meditation workshop offered by Project Welcome Home Troops, an initiative at the nonprofit International Association for Human Values.
Almost 2,000 people, most of them veterans and active-duty service members suffering from the flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety of PTSD, have taken the workshop, according to Project Welcome Home Troops national director Leslye Moore.
Buoyed by a favorable 2014 pilot study at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a positive portrayal in the 2016 documentary “Almost Sunrise,” which can be seen Nov. 13 on PBS, Project Welcome Home Troops expects to enroll 1,000 people in workshops in 2018, up from 277 in 2016.
“Five years ago, people rolled their eyes at us,” said Moore.
“Now I have VA hospitals chasing me down, saying we need your program. I’m going to Manhattan to meet with the Manhattan VA, among other things. We’re showing ‘Almost Sunrise’ at Lincoln Center.”
For Moffatt, who took the workshop twice and attends monthly follow-up meetings, the breathing techniques have been very effective.
Counseling, which he started before the workshop, had already helped him, he said. But before learning the Project Welcome Home Troops breathing techniques, he couldn’t walk through the woods before dawn to prepare for deer hunting. The memories of the darkened underbrush in Vietnam, with its constant threat of ambush, were just too strong.
After taking the workshop for the first time two years ago, he still struggled with feelings of panic, but he was able to make it to the hunting site.
He could drive by visual reminders of Vietnam (a particular paving material on the road, a stretch of cleared brush) without having to pull off the road and collect himself. And that day at the cemetery when he had a flashback, he was able to complete his duties at the funeral, retreat to a quiet place for 20 minutes of breathing exercises and then continue calmly with his day.
“It amazed me,” said Moffatt, a retired mechanic with a steady blue-eyed gaze, wire-framed aviator glasses and a neatly trimmed gray mustache.
“I hadn’t had that bad a flashback for years, and instead of it lasting for hours, it only lasted for 30 minutes at most, and then everything was cool.” He clapped his hands to indicate the speed of the change: “I was back up, doing ceremonies. I went back to see (if the flashback would start again), and everything was fine.”
Also a graduate of the Project Welcome Home Troops workshop, Vietnam veteran Orlander Richardson remains, at 70, an imposing figure: tall and broad-shouldered, like a paratrooper from central casting. Two months ago, he tried skydiving for the first time — and loved it. But during an interview in a bright, spacious conference room at the Levy Senior Center in Evanston, he started to freeze up; memories of his time with the Army’s elite 101st Airborne Division were causing a flashback.
Richardson paused to close his eyes and to take the raspy Victory Breaths — sometimes called Darth Vader breaths — he learned a year ago in the Project Welcome Home Troops workshop.
The Victory Breath is part of the yoga tradition, said Pam Brockman, Illinois director of Project Welcome Home Troops. The breath stimulates the vagus nerve, which is linked to emotional resiliency and control. When you stimulate it, you calm down, the rush of energy and emotion that comes with acute stress recedes and you’re able to think clearly again.
That was the case with Richardson, who emerged from less than two minutes of Victory Breaths able to laugh and joke.
“I’m a skeptic,” he said. “If somebody could have told me years ago about trying this stuff years ago, I would have said, ‘You’re out of your mind. How is breathing going to control my emotions?’”
But Richardson, a retired mail carrier from Chicago, said that since he took the workshop a year ago, his blood pressure is down, he’s sleeping much better, he hasn’t had a traumatic combat nightmare and he’s able to slow down and react more constructively to the heightened sense of threat that can make ordinary situations terrifying or infuriating.
“What do you have to lose?” he tells fellow veterans. “Everyone I know has had positive effects, so there’s something to it.”
Moffatt flipped through an album of blurry black and white photos from his time in Vietnam. There was a black mountain rising like a pyramid over flat plains, a broad swath of rice paddies and a makeshift camp where a bespectacled teenager in a dusty uniform gazed, unsmiling, into the camera.
Moffatt examined the photo of his younger self: “Look at my eyes,” he said. “They look dead.”
During one battle, he said, he was knocked down with a concussion and taken for dead. A lieutenant had actually bent over him, ready to attach a “Killed in Action” tag, when Moffatt sat up.
But the worst, he said, taking a deep breath, was what happened at the 1967 Battle of Loc Ninh. He’d been assigned to a mortar crew, which, in turn, was targeted by a Viet Cong soldier. Moffatt would spot the man in the moonlight, raising his head to look around, then ducking back into the underbrush. Finally, after maybe 45 minutes, Moffatt spotted the man making his way toward him.
“He stood up, and he was just getting ready to shoot the mortar crew that was probably 25, 30 feet away,” Moffatt said.
“Well, I was quicker on the trigger than he was, and I keep on living that time and time again because it went totally against my nature (to shoot someone). I was brought up that you don’t point a gun at anything that you’re not going to shoot and eat. But it was them or him, so I just did it.”
He was awarded the Bronze Star, in part, he suspects, because of that incident. A few years ago at a military reunion, a member of the mortar crew came up to him and hugged him: “I never got to thank you for savin’ our (butt).” Still, Moffatt said, the memory haunts him.
When he returned to civilian life, he had multiple symptoms of PTSD, including hyper-viligance, in which you’re on high alert for danger. For years, there were embarrassing incidents, such as the time he instinctively ducked under the dashboard of the car his friend was driving, because the brush was pushed back from the sides of the road in a way that would have signaled the threat of snipers in Vietnam. There were sweaty, thrashing nightmares. In the course of a bad one, he said, he could push his wife, Sue, right out of bed. He didn’t even have a word for what he was going through, he said: “It was my own private hell.”
At work, co-workers knew not to surprise him by entering his workspace without warning. Once, taken by surprise while he was thinking about Vietnam, he instinctively moved to protect himself, elbowing the co-worker who had come up behind him.
Still, he did his best to suppress his feelings, and in some ways, he succeeded: “I was like a lot of guys my age,” he said. “We were working. We had families, houses, cars, jobs. Our minds were constantly busy. We were working for the weekend.”
It was when he retired and had time to think, he said, that all the terrible things that happened in Vietnam came flooding back: “I would wake up every 45 minutes or so and scan the room. I couldn’t sleep without facing a door or a window.”
After he went to the Veterans Assistance Commission in Joliet to check on his medical benefits, he was diagnosed with PTSD and offered free counseling. A counselor also suggested the Project Welcome Home Troops workshop.
His PTSD isn’t gone, he said; it never will be, but now he has effective ways to control it. He’s sleeping better. He’s so happy, he said, just to wake up in the night and be able to stare at a blank wall without immediately turning to check for intruders.
During a recent fall morning at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, the maples glowed lemon yellow and cherry red. Moffatt joined in the seven-gun salute at his first funeral of the day, chatted with friends and then walked up a small hill for an interview at an open-air pavilion lined by tall grasses and fluttering flags.
This is where he’d had that flashback last spring, he said, almost casually. During an earlier interview, he was sometimes tense or hesitant to revisit a bad moment, but now he had found his stride. He wasn’t relaxed, exactly, but he was engaged and confident. He still cares deeply about his fellow soldiers, he had said earlier, and he knows many of them are struggling.
“If this helps just one veteran, then it’s worth it,” he said.
Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune
October 11, 2017, Washington DC: According to UNICEF, every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence. This is an abject violation of human rights. It is time to usher in a world where girls are free from all forms of violence. This year, the International Day of the Girl (11 October) focuses on the theme, “EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict“. The impact of conflicts on girls’ reproductive and sexual health can never be underestimated. Their psychological, reproductive and overall well-being is severely compromised during times of conflict. No community or country can progress unless girls get a chance to realize their agency and fulfil their true potential. The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) strives to work towards a world where every girl, everywhere, has a chance to lead a life free from oppression and violence.
Over the years, IAHV has been working in challenging contexts such as Iraq and Sinjar to help girls and women lead lives as they truly deserve – free from violence and conflict. Our on-the-ground efforts have aided the rescue of girls from the Yazidi community. They were offered safe spaces and supportive interventions to help overcome the trauma that they have experienced. Psycho-social support in times of conflict is a critical component to response and protection needs for those who have experienced violence. Despite these negative outcomes, women have acted as peace mediators in families and societies for generations and have proved instrumental in conflict prevention. Their roles as empowered allies of change and peace must be recognized. From prevention, protection to rehabilitation and empowerment IAHV works towards offering holistic solutions for girls caught in conflict.
The rights of girls are fundamental to progress. Human values must not be compromised. As long as girls are confronted with violence, the UN Sustainable Development Goals will remain a moving target. IAHV stands with all organizations committed to usher in a world that is free from conflict for girls regardless of where they live.
For more information, contact:
The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) offers programs to reduce stress and develop leaders so that human values can flourish in people and communities.
Washington, D.C., October 10, 2017 — The Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) will host #VegasMeditates, a free community event for residents of Las Vegas.
This public event will be held on Oct. 12 from 6:30–8:30 pm PST at the Alexis Park Suites Resort – ‘Ballroom Apollo’, Las Vegas. And it will also be webcast live across the country.
#VegasMeditates will feature highly effective breathing techniques. gentle yoga and guided meditations to help release trauma and stress, and, begin the journey towards healing and peace.
For over 37 years, the Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) have helped more than 370 million people achieve inner peace through self-development and resiliency programs based on meditation, breathing and yoga.
The centerpiece of these programs is Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) – a rhythmic breathing technique that harmonizes the body, breath and mind; enabling the deepest connection with oneself. Individuals from all walks of life such as students, doctors, prisoners, scientists, professors, veterans and business executives have benefited from this technique. More than 60 independent studies published in peer review journals across the world have demonstrated the benefits of SKY including a reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD and addictive behaviors, alongside, an increase in peace, empathy and overall well-being
These programs developed under the direction of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a global humanitarian, make the ancient practices of meditation accessible and relevant in today’s fast paced life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is the founder of the AOLF and IAHV. All AOLF and IAHV programs are guided by Sri Sri’s philosophy: “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.”
True to this idea, the volunteers of the AOLF and IAHV continue to go wherever and whenever there arises a need for stress relief and community-building.
AOLF and IAHV invites everyone in the community to join them in this effort towards peace building and healing.
About The Art of Living Foundation:
AOLF is a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization founded by a global humanitarian and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. It offers educational and self-development programs that facilitate the elimination of stress and foster deep inner peace, happiness and well-being.
About The International Association for Human Value:
IAHV, a sister non-profit, offers programs to reduce stress and develop leaders so that human values can flourish in people and communities. IAHV fosters the practice of human values – respect for all, an attitude of non-violence, and community service. Through our service projects we develop communities that are resilient, responsible, and inspired.
About Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a global humanitarian and a spiritual leader who has rekindled traditions of yoga and meditation that have helped millions achieve personal and social transformation by relieving stress and discovering inner peace in daily life. Named one of the “Seven Most Powerful People in India,” by Forbes, he has been credited in bringing opposing parties together to facilitate meditation and peace talks in Colombia, Iraq, Cote d’Ivoire, and India.
The 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which struck Mexico on September 19, was the deadliest to hit the nation in more than three decades. The seismic event has resulted in over 300+ deaths, hundreds of collapsed buildings and scores of people missing. Multiple tremors have followed since, with many trapped on the same street as where our office used to be. Thousands have lost everything.
The rescue effort has been powered by the support of volunteers from the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in partnership with Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) showing up spontaneously to offer help in every way that they can.
Our teams are conducting trauma relief sessions with the affected and with the emergency response teams. Volunteers are joining forces to move boulders and rocks to help rescue those still trapped under the rubble. Volunteers are also offering water and food for the rescue forces.
Outside the Mexico city at least 200 cities across 5 different states are in the same situation. A team of volunteers are going to Oaxaca, one of the places, impacted by the first earthquake. The second team will go to Puebla, a state with 114 cities struck by the seismic jolt.
New York, September 26, 2017
The International Association For Human Values (IAHV) participated actively in critical conversations at the UNGA72 in New York this week. The main thrust for discussions focused around the need to foster and sustain a culture of sustainable peace.
One of the key areas of discussion included ways to strengthen IAHV’s work with girls and women from the Yazidi communities. The other area of focus included IAHV’s intervention with extremist groups to offer tools and techniques to enable them to choose the path of peace over violence.
“This was a critical week in the global development calendar. We got a chance to explore ways to collaborate, discuss and develop a roadmap for the future. Our work reaches the most vulnerable and marginalized. Our initiatives are strategically aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The global direction is set. IAHV stands ready to contribute towards the realization of the SDGs,” said Filiz Odabas-Geldiay, Executive Director, IAHV.
IAHV reached out to a range of key stakeholders – political leaders, dignitaries, UN officials, ambassadors, members of civil society organizations and others to forge next steps. The health and rights of the world’s most vulnerable must be protected. The path of peace must prevail in order to realize the potential of the SDGs.
For more information, contact:
The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) offers programs to reduce stress and develop leaders so that human values can flourish in people and communities.