The International Brain Education Association (IBREA) held its third World Youth Leadership Program from January 6-12, 2013 in New York City. Spending half the time in New York City where they met with many officials from various organizations and country missions associated with the United Nations, they also took part in a UN Side Event reporting on IBREA’s latest Brain Education programs in El Salvador and Liberia. The WYL program was rounded out with a Brain Education training at Honors Haven in Ellenville, NY. Many of the WYL participants are slated to work as part of the Brain Education team in followup assignments in El Salvador, Liberia and the Philippines this year.
The participants were asked to write a blog entry for Brain World Magazine’s website. Each entry sincerely showed the passion that these individuals have for helping others find the great potential inside their brains to create health, happiness and peace for themselves, their families, their communities and the planet earth. What follows is the blog entry by one of the IBREA’s 3rd Generation of World Youth Leaders–Sarra Spierer (fourth from right in top photo).
WHERE DO WE FIND THE POWER TO CHANGE?
As human beings, we have the power to find our way out of any problem that we create.
This week, I joined with IBREA and seven colleagues to visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. We explored how we can use knowledge of the human brain to solve urgent global challenges. We met with diplomats representing several countries throughout Africa, Asia, and South America, and learned about recovery and development in nations that have undergone war and trauma.
How can we stop violence, improve access to free education, and address the effects of prolonged stress, anger, and fear? How can the basic needs of life – access to food, water, and clean air, even freedom to walk outside – be met in a society that has faced destruction? And ultimately, how can the opportunity to pursue health and happiness become part of the fabric of each culture?
Over the week, the message that echoed was: Aid and support are helpful, but the answers to all of these questions must come from each of the countries themselves. Only the people who live through these difficult challenges have the solutions.
Whether on a personal or a national level, we can identify our own solutions when we take responsibility for ourselves and our situations, and set our minds toward a vision we believe in. Indeed, the solutions to all of our problems lie within our brains.
When we believe in and work to develop the power of our own brains, we have the capacity not only to expand our thinking, but also to change our reactions to stress and even deep emotional patterns. These are essential skills for the prevention of conflict, for healing, and for building peace and trust. These skills also open our minds to finding new solutions.
IBREA is putting this idea –that the solutions to conflict-resolution, peace and development lie in the way we use our brains — into action. The organization currently has programs in struggling countries that teach people ways to develop and understand the power of their brains. In schools in the capitals of El Salvador and Liberia (two countries that are recovering from decades of war), IBREA is spreading the message that the means to change are inside each of us. Using the tools of physical exercises, meditation, and information, classes and teacher trainings help both students and teachers gain confidence and focus, release stress, and discover their own passions and goals. When their sense of possibility is awakened, the participants of the programs share their knowledge with their families and communities. As this web expands, the environment changes, and the road to peace and growth opens.
It is essential for individuals and nations to share resources, knowledge, and ideas with one another in order to create a world of cooperation, mutual benefit and creative progress. Ultimately, though, the power and internal strength to rely on and take responsibility for ourselves is the surest path to peace. Perhaps the greatest gift we can give one another and ourselves is the support and inspiration to find the answers we need within. –Sarra Spierer