Bringing world peace involves resolving conflicts among groups with very different ideologies, which is a complex task. Vested interests, a lengthy history of violence, a lack of trust and communication, and high levels of stress in individuals all contribute to the difficulty of resolving conflicts.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar believes that these complex challenges to world peace can be overcome with patience, perseverance, and by bringing inner peace to individuals.
By fostering inner peace at an individual level, we can transform perpetrators of conflicts and heal victims. By facilitating dialogue, we can bridge trust deficits. With these actions put together, we can make world peace a reality.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has promoted peace by way of dialogue and strategic initiatives that engage multiple levels of government, businesses, and humanitarian organizations. He has been successful in bringing the conflicting sides to the negotiating table – which is a crucial first step for resolving conflicts.
Additionally, through skillfully designed stress-relief and trauma-relief programs, The Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) have helped all involved stakeholders; namely armed insurgents, war veterans, civilians in refugee camps, including children from worn-torn areas, find inner peace and move towards a life that is free from violence.
The Art of Living has initiated conflict resolution and trauma-relief programs in many countries, including Afghanistan, Colombia, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United States of America.
Our interventions have led to actionable changes where militants and armed insurgents have surrendered, ending longstanding conflicts. Our interventions have made breakthroughs, in often intractable situations, by bringing opposing parties to have a peaceful dialogue. Our interventions have enabled survivors of war to begin new lives.
I was a district commander of a military outfit. I used to carry a gun with me all the time. I was unable to sleep properly, as I was engulfed…
Peace is not just an absence of conflict; it is a positive phenomenon inside of us. When our mind is quiet, our intellect becomes sharper, our emotions become positive and lighter, and our behavior becomes much more palatable. These are the effects of finding inner peace, and inner peace is the key to world peace.- Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Service project highlights
Role in resolving the 52-year-old Colombian conflict, 2016
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar played a key role in getting FARC leaders to negotiate with the Colombian government in 2015 at a time when they were resisting all interventions by the international community. With a strong presence of Art of Living in Colombia, Gurudev was conferred with Colombia’s highest civilian award, the Orden de la Democracia Simon Bolivar. Read more
Jammu and Kashmir: Paigam-e-Mohabbat, 2017
The Art of Living has been working to reform militants and bring peace in Jammu and Kashmir, and as a result, many militants have surrendered arms. Paigam-e-Mohabbat was a unique reconciliation program which undertook the exceptionally challenging task of bringing together families of martyred security personnel, victims of cross-firing, and slain militants. Read more
16,000+ war-affected children receive trauma relief-training, 2016 -2019
Thousands of war-affected children in Jordan and Lebanon have received our trauma-relief training and have been led to the path of emotional recovery. IAHV started the Healing, Resilience, and Preventing Extremism Project - a project helping the refugee and host communities in Lebanon and Jordan to heal emotionally and build a more cohesive and peaceful society. Read more
Rehabilitating militant youth
700 ex-ULFA militants have been rehabilitated through stress relief training. In addition, militants from Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh have participated in Art of Living programs and have surrendered arms. Read more
Rebuilding Iraq, 2003
Since September 2003, The Art of Living has reached out to more than 50,000 war-affected people. We trained and inspired Iraqi community leaders to initiate campaigns and programs to protect people. Our Women Empowerment Program addresses women’s emotional and psychological needs and gives them the skills to achieve economic stability. Our programs include Yazidis, Shias and Christians. Read more
UPLA militant outfit in north-east declares a unilateral ceasefire, 2018
With the help of stress-relief training workshops and facilitating dialogue between the government and the UPLA (United People’s Liberation Army), the 150 member group declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2018. Read more
Jordan, Lebanon and Syria humanitarian efforts, 2003
The Art of Living has been active in this region since 2003. We have been conducting trainings for refugee youth from Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. These at-risk youth are being given integrated peace-building training to work as future peace and social workers. Read more
Militants surrender in Manipur, 2017
Gurudev has been actively working in the North East of India to sort the long history of conflict and insurgency in the region. The Art of Living's sustained efforts led to 68 militants surrendering arms. The Art of Living has further conducted programs to help former militants reintegrate with the mainstream. Read more
North East Indigenous People’s Conference held, 2017
The Art of Living convened a conference for the diverse groups of the North-East including those who had formerly taken up arms to discuss the issues of the region. Read more
Easing the trauma of ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka
Inspired by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s creative peace-building initiatives for healing and reconciliation, The Art of Living Foundation Sri Lanka delivered its life-supporting programs to several hundred ex-LTTE combatants. Gurudev’s spiritual wisdom and the Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique helped more than 1800 ex-LTTE combatants to meaningfully reintegrate with the mainstream society. Read more
USA: Project Welcome Home Troops, 2006
IAHV started Project Welcome Home Troops (PWHT) in 2006 to provide relief to war veterans returning home from the war-riddled Middle East. PWHT is a mind-body resilience-building program offering practical breath-based tools that decrease stress, anxiety and sleep-related problems. Studies at Stanford, published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, indicated that war veterans with post-traumatic stress experienced a 40– 50% reduction in their symptoms as a result of the PWHT. Read more
Gurudev has facilitated dialogues in various conflicts like the Assam riots (2012), Amarnath land dispute (2008), Gujjar protests (2008), and as far back as the Naxal uprisings of 2001.