Forgiveness News

Announcing the International Conference on Forgiving and Being Forgiven – Feb. 1-2, 2023

The First International Conference on Forgiving and Being Forgiven within an Inter/Intra Cultural Perspective has been scheduled for February 1-2, 2023, at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Registration is now open and free.

While the concept of forgiveness has been advanced in recent years via multiple fields of study–psychology, sociology, anthropology, moral philosophy, religion studies, ethics, and others–the topic is still expanding.  This conference, according to its organizers, “will strive to deepen our understandings of the concept.” The benefits, obstacles, and risks that can result from the experience of forgiveness will be explored from a multi-cultural perspective.

Keynote speakers include some of the world’s leading forgiveness practitioners:

  • Dr. Robert Enright, founder of Forgiveness Therapy and K-12 Forgiveness Education as well as co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute.
  • Ms. Marina Cantacuzino, founder of The Forgiveness Project, a UK-based charity that works with both victims/survivors and former perpetrators.
  • Dr. Suzanne Freedman,  Educational Psychology Professor at the University of Northern Iowa and Forgiveness Education curriculum developer.

The conference organizing committee, representing educational institutions in four countries, has also launched its call for papers. The call is directed to scholars, experts and practitioners in relevant fields who can address forgiveness as a process and an experience within an intra/intercultural context. Abstracts of up to 300 words must be submitted by Nov. 30, 2022.

Attendance at the conference is absolutely free but space is limited.

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Agape Love and Forgiveness Conference Speaker Videos Available in Four Languages   

Speaker videos from the International Educational Conference on Agape Love and Forgiveness, held July 19-20 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, (funded by the John Templeton Foundation) can now be viewed online absolutely free in four languages–Arabic, English, Hebrew, and Mandarin–using the links below.

 

 

The 26 professionally-produced presentations feature educators from Northern Ireland, Israel (both Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking), Taiwan, the Philippines, and the US. They describe their experiences teaching agape love and forgiveness to their 5th grade students and outline creative Forgiveness Education teaching techniques. 

 

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Inaugural Partnership Achievement Award Presented to Tim Markle

Tim Markle, founder and director of Forgiveness Factor, has received a partnership achievement award for his years of commitment to helping others learn about the virtues of self-forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness.

Markle was recognized with the “Healing Hearts Hero” award by the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI), a 27-year-old not-for-profit organization that has established forgiveness education programs in more than 30 countries around the world. It was presented at the International Educational Conference on Agape Love and Forgiveness in Madison, WI, that was attended by 160 educators from the US, Northern Ireland, Taiwan, Israel, Spain, and the Philippines on July 19-20.

Tim Markle, a forgiveness advocate and founder of Forgiveness Factor, is the first recipient of the IFI’s prestigious “Healing Hearts Hero” award.

For the past 13 years, Markle has been an Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center where his numerous titles include Director of the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs. In those various capacities, Markle works to improve the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases, some of life’s most challenging conditions. He also develops curriculum for a variety of audiences, provides training for both children and adults, and is a prolific speaker.

Markle uses those same management and speaking skills to pursue his secondary passion of “educating people about the benefits of forgiveness”–the passion that earned him the Healing Hearts Hero award. In addition to teaching forgiveness techniques at workshops and conferences throughout the Midwest, Markle has teamed up with Stoughton Health to create a series of popular informational podcasts on the basics of forgiveness (i.e., “Forgiving Yourself” and “The Art of Forgiveness”). He also regularly sends out short written Forgiveness Boosts to his subscribers.

Through radio station Life 102.5FM in Madison, Markle has produced more than 50 short (2-4 minutes each) “Forgiveness Audio Boosts” that the station has been broadcasting since March 2021.

Markle even developed a six-week course that focuses on how to forgive and why forgiveness is indispensable for dealing with anger, depression, anxiety and trauma.  The course is based on the ground-breaking scientific forgiveness research work of Dr. Robert Enright, co-founder of the IFI and an educational psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Tim is a contributing writer for the IFI and the most prolific speaker we have for our Speaker’s Bureau service,” according to Dr. Enright “No one deserves this award more because Tim is not only one of our strongest forgiveness advocates, but he has created his own forgiveness education organization called Forgiveness Factor so he can even better broadcast his faith in forgiveness.”

The Toledo (Ohio) native has a BA degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Bowling Green State University (BGSU, Bowling Green, Ohio), a Masters in Counseling (MC) from John Carroll University  (Cleveland, OH) and a Master of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School north of Chicago. He and his wife Tracy have two adult children and live in Stoughton, 20 miles east of Madison, WI.

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Forgiveness Research Goes Viral

Surging world-wide interest in the virtue of forgiveness was vividly demonstrated this week when the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) released updated distribution totals for its prized Forgiveness Research Tools.

In just the past 17 months, the IFI has fulfilled requests for 717 copies of its Forgiveness Research Tools–requests received from individuals and research organizations in 41 countries and 43 US states plus the District of Columbia. The IFI began offering the tools for free on April 1, 2021.

The forgiveness tools were developed by IFI co-founder Dr. Robert Enright and his associates through the Enright Forgiveness Lab that he established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Enright has validated those scientific measuring tools and used them in more than 50 forgiveness research projects he has conducted at locations around the world since 1993.

By far the most popular and most requested forgiveness tool (223 requests) is the Enright
Self-Forgiveness Inventory
(ESFI
) that “captures the Aristotelian view of forgiveness as a moral virtue practiced toward the self.” According to Dr. Enright, the tool is based on the premise that “self-forgiveness is a moral virtue, not a psychological technique.”

Close behind in requests (201) is the Enright Forgiveness Inventory-30 (EFI-30)—a shortened version of the Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Adults that has become the interpersonal forgiveness measure tool of choice for research professionals since its development in 1995.

Two other forgiveness tools developed by Dr. Enright are also extremely popular:

  • The Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Children—an objective measure of the degree to which one person forgives another who has hurt him or her deeply and unfairly (125 requests); and,
  • The Enright Group Forgiveness Inventory—a newly-developed research tool that takes forgiveness from its traditional focus on individuals to a higher magnitude by concentrating on group forgiveness—an area of intervention that has dramatic implications for its ability to enhance peace efforts in the world (109 requests).

Dr. Enright is a licensed psychologist and an educational psychology professor at UW-Madison who pioneered the scientific study of forgiveness. He wrote the first scientific journal article on person-to-person forgiveness, is often introduced as “the father of forgiveness research,” and has been labeled “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine.

In 2019, Dr. Enright received the international Expanded Reason Award from the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria and the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and he holds the Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science (2020) from UW-Madison. Earlier this year he was awarded the 2022 American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Impact in Psychology. His work integrates psychology, philosophy, and psychotherapeutic disciplines.

Dr. Enright’s 37-year quest to harness what he calls “the power of forgiveness” has resulted in the development of curriculum guides for students at each level from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade that are now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.

His groundbreaking clinical manual Forgiveness Therapy, developed with psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons through the American Psychological Association, is the basis for the world’s first online forgiveness education course for psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other professional counselors. It is offered exclusively through the IFI.

“When I first began exploring the virtue of forgiveness, I was unable to find a single scientific journal article on forgiveness that had been published anywhere in the world,” Dr. Enright recalls. “Today there are literally hundreds of such articles and based on the demand for our research tools, that number will soon be growing exponentially.”

Dr. Enright’s forgiveness research tools are available free upon request at the International Forgiveness Institute website: internationalforgiveness.com or via email: director@internationalforgiveness.com.

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Liberia Seeks Peace Through Forgiveness

A groundbreaking Forgiveness Education program initiated by the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) has positively impacted the lives of more than 8,000 people in Liberia, West Africa, over the past five years. The objective of that program is to “help plant the seed of forgiveness in the hearts of people in post-war communities to spur reconciliation and national cohesion.”
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The Liberia Forgiveness Education Program (LFEP) is an initiative organized and funded by the IFI in conjunction with Church Aid Inc. (CAI), the relief and development arm of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church International. Liberia was targeted for the program in the aftermath of a horrendous 15-year civil war that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 250,000 Liberians from 1989-2004 and the displacement of more than a million others from their homes.
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“There is still a serious need to bring closure to the civil war and that means reconciliation through forgiveness,” according to Bishop Kortu K. Brown, Chairman/CEO of Church Aid and National Coordinator of the LFEP. “If Liberians will forge peace and reconciliation, they must forgive. Without forgiveness there will be no genuine reconciliation.” 
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Forgiveness Education class at Mother Tegeste Stewart Apostolic Pentecostal School in Brewerville, Monrovia, Liberia.

Bishop Brown has been working with IFI co-founder Dr. Robert Enright to implement elementary and secondary school Forgiveness Education initiatives (including for all 500 students at the Mother Tegeste Stewart Apostolic Pentecostal School in Brewerville), after-school forgiveness education clubs, and Sunday School forgiveness lessons. Since 2017, Group Forgiveness interventions also have been incorporated into the LFEP thanks to Bishop Brown’s significant role in governmental affairs.

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Last year, for example, Bishop Brown was appointed  to the Nimba County Conflict Resolution Committee by Liberian President Dr. George Manneh Weah. That Committee mediates post-civil war land disputes that have recently become violent. Bishop Brown and Dr. Enright then jointly developed a strategy for the Committee’s initial session called “Reconciliation Through Forgiveness: A Program Concept for Community Bridge-Building” that included a 3-day awareness workshop on healing and reconciliation for 150 community, religious, and governmental leaders. 
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“I suggested that approach, in all humility, because dialogue will not be fruitful if those engaging in the dialogue are still very angry about past grievances,” Dr. Enright explained. “Forgiveness is a scientifically-supported way of eliminating that anger.” 

Dr. Robert Enright (via Skype) and Bishop Kortu Brown, LFEP national coordinator, hosted a forgiveness seminar called “Renewing Communities Through Forgiveness Education” on May 13, 2022 in Brewerville, Liberia.

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Bishop Brown said he totally agrees with Dr. Enright’s assessment: “I think that interventions like the Enright Group Forgiveness process are critical to bringing peace and harmony to the communities we seek to serve in Liberia.”
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In addition to being Chairman/CEO of CAI, Bishop Brown is the General Overseer of the New Water in the Desert Apostolic Pentecostal Church in Brewerville, and president of both the Liberia Council of Churches (LLC) and the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL). Despite dealing with thousands of local deaths due to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak and the nation-wide lockdown of schools due to COVID-19, Bishop Brown has persistently pursued forgiveness initiatives in the four-county area that encompasses the capital city of Monrovia.
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Liberia is Africa’s oldest independent nation and one of the country’s poorest. It was established by freed slaves from the United States in 1847. With 75% of its population being youth under the age of 25, about half of all Liberians live on less than two US dollars a day, according to the World Bank. In Monrovia, less than half the city’s 1.5 million people have access to working toilets, according to Liberia’s Water and Sewer Corporation.
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“Our program for peace, based on forgiveness education, is possibly one of the major answers to societal and individual unrest within communities beset by poverty and violence,” Dr. Enright added. “I believe it is the missing piece to the peace puzzle.”
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