Author Archive: directorifi

Nelson Mandela and the Power of Forgiveness

The Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa), hosted a “Nelson Mandela Tribute” on Dec. 9. One of the speakers at the Tribute was Suzanne Freedman, Ph.D., Professor of Educational Psychology and Foundations at UNI. Here is an excerpt from her presentation:

Nelson Mandela was not full of rage and violence when released from prison after 27 years. He developed a vision while in prison, a vision that we are all in this together and that violence is not the solution.  He showed the people in his country and the world that revenge is not the answer to years of injustice and mistreatment.  He showed generosity and mercy when he could have shown revenge and bitterness. He decided not to avenge himself on those who treated him with such cruelty. mandela2

He transformed in prison and realized the humanity in all people, even those he fought against. He stood against apartheid and managed to change a nation without violence and hatred. His actions demonstrated great strength and courage as well as moral principles. He was able to sit down with his enemies and plan a better future for South Africa. He is said to have saved South Africa from civil war and lead a nation to democracy. 

Nelson Mandela’s actions showed his people that forgiveness was possible and as a result, gave the people in South Africa hope for a better future.

Read Dr. Freedman’s full presentation Nelson Mandela and the Power of Forgiveness. Dr. Freedman is a Contributing Writer and Researcher for the International Forgiveness Institute.

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FORGIVE – you will never regret it!

Catholic-link.com – Sometimes words are not needed. Sometimes actions do indeed speak louder than words. And here is a case in point.

“Moments of Mercy: The embrace of forgiveness” is a powerful 6-minute movie that has absolutely no dialogue. It’s about a homeless man who is reunited with his daughter and his wife. Yet, the video is mysterious in the sense that the viewer doesn’t know why the family was originally separated, and there also seems to be a team effort whose objective is to reconnect this man back with his family. The viewer doesn’t learn the purpose of this operation until the movie is brought to a climax when the daughter embraces her father – the ultimate act of acceptance and forgiveness.

“We all must actively make a choice to forgive and take that step forward – to embrace one another and reach out in a loving gesture,” says writer Anna Carochi in describing the video. “We all strive for acceptance with one another and when we achieve this, we are able to become the best version of ourselves.”

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“Professor Enright, can you help me save my country?”

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dept. of Educational Psychology – It’s not a question university professors typically get asked during office hours: “Can you help me save my country?”

Of course, Robert Enright isn’t exactly typical, himself.

It’s closing in on three decades now that the UW–Madison professor of educational psychology has been pioneering the study of forgiveness by researching how people forgive and examining the benefits this action can have on emotional health.

Over the years, Enright has tested his program on a range of groups — including incest survivors, adult children of alcoholics, and children in classrooms in Milwaukee and Belfast, Northern Ireland — helping them work through the process of how to forgive. And the results have consistently shown improvement in themes such as anger, anxiety, depression and self-esteem.

Aware of Enright’s work, Josiah Cheapoo dropped in on the professor last year during office hours. Rev. Cheapoo, a Madison resident who fled his native homeland of Liberia amid the African nation’s bloody tribal wars a decade ago, sat down and looked Enright in the eye.

“I asked him to help me bring freedom to my country,” says Rev. Cheapoo, who runs Grace Network International, a small non-profit based in Madison. “I asked him to reunite the people to become one so we can rebuild the country and have a lasting peace. I asked him to help save my country.”

Thanks to that conversation, a forgiveness education initiative is launching in Monrovia, Liberia, which still is emerging from horrendous civil war conflicts in which it is estimated more than 200,000 people were killed between 1989 and 2003. The highest levels of the Liberian government and education systems have agreed to Rev. Cheapoo’s pitch for making forgiveness education for children part of the reconstruction effort, with the hopes of breaking the cycle of violence.

“I believe we have the knowledge, curricula and experience to help the Liberian people learn about forgiveness and to help put a stop to further unrest,” says Enright.

Read more: Could power of forgiveness hold key to snapping cycle of violence in Liberia?

Help spread forgiveness education, reconciliation and peace throughout Liberia, West Africa. Click the “Donate” button below to become a hero to the children of Liberia.

 

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