According to Sri Sri, achieving lasting peace begins with the individual. His unique approach, which involves self-development programs, dialogue and rehabilitation, has had a positive effect in numerous conflict and post-conflict countries all over the world. His programs and peace initiatives reach every section of society, working to transform hate and violence into peace and joy.
Rebuilding Post-Conflict Iraq
On May 22, 2007, Sri Sri met with Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, making him the first Indian Spiritual Leader to travel to Iraq as an Ambassador of Peace. Since September 2003, more than 5000 people in Baghdad, Basra, Suleymania and Karbala have participated in the Art of Living Foundation’s Trauma Relief program.
In August 2007, the collaborative effort between The Art of Living and the Iraqi government resulted in 55 Iraqis undergoing a month-long training at the The Art of Living International Center in Bangalore, India.
There are now 50 Art of Living instructors and 150 registered volunteers in the country.
In 2005, the Foundation launched the Iraq Women’s Empowerment Program, which has benefited an estimated 500 Iraqi women. The project, which is gaining increasing popularity in the community, provides self-development programs and vocational training to Iraqi women.
In the news
- Sri Sri makes peace angels of Iraqi youths – Reuters
- Indian stress busters target Iraq – BBC
- Mawahib: Working towards a better Iraq
Voices from Iraq
- “We knew only death and despair. Now we can smile. This is the greatest gift that the Art of Living has given us.” – Shafiqur Rehman, a trauma-relief program participant.
- “The situation in Iraq is so bad that people do not know how to smile and here we see everybody smiling. We had no hope and we could only pray for some power to come and take us out of the situation. We think the Art of Living is that power.” – Ramia Sagban from Baghdad.
Bridging Racial Tensions: Cote d’Ivoire & Cameroon
In 1999, following decades of civil and economic strife, The Art of Living Foundation and IAHV began conducting workshops for trauma relief, health and hygiene in Cote D’Ivoire
Strengthening Peace and Harmony in Sri Lanka
In April 2009 when the Sri Lankan civil war was at its peak, Sri Sri became the first spiritual leader to visit the war-torn country, providing both relief materials and spiritual solace to thousands in the Vavuniya District displaced by war.
At the War’s end in 2009, more than 275,000 people were displaced, many of them former LTTE combatants. Through Sri Sri’s knowledge and the Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique, the Art of Living Foundation has transformed the lives of more than 1800 former LTTE combatants, helping them meaningfully reintegrate into society.
Providing Trauma Relief in Kosovo
Since the year 2000, Sri Sri’s humanitarian and rehabilitation initiatives have benefited thousands of Kosovo residents, including 500 nurses, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers employed in Mental Health Centers across Kosovo.
Based on their positive experiences, the Ministry of Health has recommended that all the Mental Health Workers in Kosovo participate in Art of Living workshops, and be trained to teach the Breath Water Sound Program, a workshop designed for victims of trauma.
Addressing terrorism, militancy and violence in India
In the last decade, Sri Sri’s relentless efforts have transformed more than 11,000 naxalite militants and terrorists in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh and North East India and Trauma Relief programs and Youth Leadership Training Programs have been conducted for victims of the violence.