Forgiveness News

Free Forgiveness Education Webinar on Feb. 4 Featuring Dr. Robert Enright and Dr. Peli Galiti

FORGIVENESS:
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF A TIMELESS VIRTUE

Live Internet Event

Thursday, February 4, 2021

7:00 p.m. EET (Eastern European Time)
MEETING TIME CONVERSIONS
U.S. – EST – Noon
U.S. – CST – 11:00 a.m.
U.S. – MST – 10:00 a.m.
U.S. – PST – 9:00 a.m.
GMT – 5:00 p.m.


REGISTRATION REQUIRED NO LATER THAN TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2021

The program for this one-of-a-kind free webinar includes presentations by:

  • Robert Enright, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) – “The healing value of forgiveness from the Aristotelian philosophical perspective.”
  • Peli Galiti, Researcher in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the IFI’s Greek Forgiveness Education Program“The Way to Forgiveness: From Theory to Practice.”
  • Konstantinos Kornarakis, Professor of Christian Ethics – Bioethics in the Department of Theology of the Theological School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – “Functional and dysfunctional aspects of forgiveness in texts of the ascetic Christian literature.”
  • Konstantinos Bikos, Professor of School Pedagogy and New Technologies in the Department of Philosophy and Pedagogy, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – “Socio-emotional and moral development of the Greek student: the contribution of education to forgiveness.”

The webinar has been organized by Dr. Peli Galiti, Ph.D., M.Ed., and her associates at the University of Athens (where she was previously a lecturer in the University’s School of Education) and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (A.U.Th.). For the past eight years, Dr. Galiti has been conducting Forgiveness Education training workshops for Greek teachers and for the past five years that training has been in collaboration with A.U.Th. During those eight years she has trained more than 600 teachers to use the Forgiveness Education Program which is now being taught to more than 6,000 Greek students.

The author of two books, Dr. Galiti has received funding for her work in Greece from the prestigious Stavros Niarchos Foundation, established by Stavros Spyros Niarchos, an Athens native who assembled and operated the largest shipping fleet in the world before his death in 1996. A descriptive video (4 min. 11 sec.) of the Greek Forgiveness Program is available at this YouTube link or you can visit the Greek Forgiveness Education website.

The International Forgiveness Institute’s widely-acclaimed Forgiveness Education Program was developed by Dr. Enright along with collaborating curriculum experts and experienced teachers. Using children’s story books (many by Dr. Seuss) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) techniques, the Program teaches students about the five moral qualities most important to forgiving another person–inherent worth, moral love, kindness, respect and generosity. The Program is now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.

Additional Webinar Information: 1) Dr. Enright’s opening presentation will be delivered in English while the other three presentations will be in Greek with no English translation or subtitles; 2) The event will take place online on the ZOOM platform for free; 3) Registration must be completed by Tuesday, Feb. 2; and, 4) The link to the meeting will be sent to registered participants by e-mail on the eve of the event; and, 5) More than 700 people have already registered for the webinar.

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Forgiveness – the Cost, the Risk for Peace and Joy

A guest article by author Darlene J. Harris.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hell will freeze over before I forgive that person for what they did to me.”? Read that statement again. Can you feel the anger, rage, resentment, and revenge in those words? Are you willing to consider giving up the emotions that fuel feelings like those? Are you willing to consider forgiveness in order to trade your bitterness for joy? 

Consider the Cost

Anything worthwhile comes with a cost. You and I must decide if forgiveness is worth the effort and risk. 

I asked several friends what forgiveness cost them and what their life was like before they found forgiveness. This is what they said: 

  • Estelle said, “The cost to me was releasing my need to control. It was also the uncontrollable desire to be angry, bitter, and hateful. I was always ready to remind the person how they hurt me. I never forgot the betrayal. I delighted in those feelings. I had no plan to give them up. Who would I be if I gave in?” 
  • Connie said, I lost myself, daily accepting negative reminders and perspectives of who I thought I was. Some days I felt my energy drain from me and my broken spirit cried out. Because I felt narratives were true, I gave into their description of who I was. If I gave them up, who would I be?” 
  • Randy shared, I felt the injustice and unfairness of the pain. I was anchored to the past. Holding on to it gave me a sense of security against the pain. The poison of bitterness and anger ran through my veins. I was on edge every day.” 

Pain is the emotional risk with forgiveness. It causes us to question ourselves. Who will you be if you give up bitterness and pain? Will you be accepted, or rejected and abandoned? Will you be welcomed and loved? These are questions that every human yearns to know. 

Forgiveness is frightening because you expose the hidden parts of yourself. You move from the known to the unfamiliar aspects of your heart. It is risky and often hard! But it works! 

The Forgiveness Journey

Forgiveness is not forgetting the wrong done to you—you don’t seek an apology; you don’t have to reconcile. Forgiveness is not seeking revenge or justice. It is not living in the past. 

Forgiveness is a deliberate decision to live without resentment and anger. It offers the one who hurt you what they don’t deserve. Forgiveness brings peace and joy. 

It is a continuous journey to maintain peace and joy. It’s hard. You will experience disappointment and discouragement. Processing these feelings, caring for yourself, and growing in wisdom is essential. It doesn’t mean you will always be happy. Instead, happiness is a by-product of the journey. 

I’ve learned that you should not go on the forgiveness journey alone. As a Christian, I receive God’s grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. God is close to me when I am in pain. He cries for me when I can’t cry for myself. You might find that going it alone is not the best way for you. You can invite God into your journey, too.

A Higher Power 

While I refer to God, you may refer to a Higher Power. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other Twelve-Step Programs use this term to refer to a supreme being, deity, or a different perception of God. They have found it therapeutic to aid a power higher than yourself. Step Two of the Twelve Step Program is: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Most people find they need someone who can come alongside and be there for them. You want someone who will listen to your pain. Someone who will cry with you and for you. Someone who can love and protect you. You want a love that feels safe. Someone you can go to no matter what. 

A child in pain goes to their parent, hoping they will comfort them. We also want to know God, our Creator will do the same for us. 

Freedom Is Worth It 

Forgiving for the first time was difficult for me. It might be for you, too. But forgiveness propels us towards new choices and a hunger for life. 

I traded unforgiveness for joy. While it seems risky, it is a risk you can manage. Freedom and peace are the results when you do the work. I don’t know if freedom or peace are vital to you, but I know you won’t encounter them until you forgive. Gather your courage. Start your forgiveness journey today! It is worth the risk to obtain joy! 

Learn to forgive at the International Forgiveness Institute.


Editor’s Note: This article was written exclusively for the International Forgiveness Institute by Darlene J. Harris–a sought-after speaker, author, and the developer/leader of workshops and retreats for women, primarily on the topics of sexual abuse and molestation.

An abuse survivor, Darlene was raped twice before she reached the age of 18. Read her amazing story in her own words at My Forgiveness Story. Through her faith, an enlightening counselor, and forgiveness,  Darlene turned her world around and reached out to help others. The mantra that drives her is: “I don’t want anyone to hurt like I did.”

To learn more about those emotional topics, visit the website Darlene created and manages: And He Restoreth My Soul Project. Her anthology book And He Restoreth My Soul, is designed to equip professional counselors, religious leaders, and concerned individuals with the tools to help and protect the abused.

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Podcast Series Focuses on How to Forgive

Tim Markle, a contributing writer and speaker for the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI), has teamed up with Stoughton Health to create a series of informational podcasts on the basics of forgiveness. 

Markle is a multi-talented and versatile professional who says his two major aspirations in life are helping individuals with developmental disabilities and educating people about the benefits of forgiveness. The podcasts are part of the hospital’s Stoughton Health Talk series hosted by Melanie Cole. The ever-expanding program lineup featuring Markle includes:

  • Forgiving Yourself ( 10 min. 42 sec.) – “You’d be surprised at the number of people who come to my course on forgiveness and realize that the person that they have the most resentment against is themselves.” Markle says. “This is something so many people are struggling with.”
  • Swimming in Unforgiveness (17 min. 58 sec.) – Markle discusses resentment, anger, and forgiveness, and how the world encourages us to deal with it as opposed to how we should deal with it.
  • Preparing to Forgive (9 min. 20 sec.) – “One of the core parts of forgiving is that there has been a hurt, somebody has violated our concept of right or wrong. They have hurt us. There is an actual injury that has been done” according to Markle. “One of the steps in forgiving is admitting that and acknowledging it. And then, looking at how has that hurt changed my life?”
  • Doing the Work of Forgiveness (10 min. 54 sec.) – “How do you actually go about forgiving someone?” Markle asks. “Using Dr. Enright’s forgiveness model, we talk about the path you can take and actions you make to really forgive.”
  • The Art of Forgiveness (11 min. 15 sec.)  Research has shown that by forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you, you gain positive health benefits by letting go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge. In this podcast, Markle describes how forgiveness creates a higher quality of life, a healthier body, and a more positive attitude.

The Stoughton Health Talk Podcast series reflects the growing popularity of podcasts. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital, more than 104 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis. Stoughton Health is one of more than 100 leading hospitals and health systems using the DoctorPodcasting production system. The facility is located about 20 miles east of Madison, WI.

For the past 11 years, Markle has been an Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center. His current roles there include: 1) Director of the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs; 2) Family Discipline Coordinator for the WIsconsin Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities–the WI LEND Program; and, 3) Senior Outreach Specialist with the Youth Health Transition Initiative and Genetic Systems Integration Hub.

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 has a Masters in Counseling (MC) from John Carroll University  (a Jesuit Catholic University in Cleveland, OH) and a Master of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School north of Chicago. He also studied at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy.

As the capstone project for his MACS degree, Markle developed a six-week course that focused 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 work of Dr. Robert Enright, co-founder of the IFI. Stoughton Health, along with two local churches, has thus far hosted five sessions of the course. Markle is also the founder of a forgiveness education organization called Forgiveness Factor.


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2020: A Record-Setting Year for Dr. Robert Enright and the International Forgiveness Institute

While “perseverance” and “grit” may  be apt descriptors for what turned out to be perhaps the most peculiar year in modern history, forgiveness researcher Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, has a different take on 2020: “Without question, it turned out to be our most productive year since I began studying forgiveness three decades ago.”

 

Scientific Research Studies:

To illustrate his point, the man Time magazine called “the forgiveness trailblazer,” rattled off the 11 scientifically-based manuscripts he and various team members completed and had published or accepted for publication during the year. Covering a wide range of cultural diversity, and encompassing studies in seven countries with both adult and child participants, those studies included (click title to read more):

Forgiveness Presentations:

In addition to his first love (scientific research on forgiveness, as evidenced by the list above), Dr. Enright developed and delivered targeted forgiveness presentations in the U.S. and around the world during 2020. His more noteworthy audiences included:

  • Staff and imprisoned people at Her Majesty’s Prison – Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Doctors and medical specialists attending an online conference on polyclonal immunoglobulins in patients with multiple myeloma – Bratislava, Slovakia. 
  • Pediatricians, oncologists, and cancer treatment specialists attending the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Educational Conference – Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Faculty and research associates at the Pan-European University – Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • School administrators and teachers – Belfast, Northern Ireland.
  • Students and faculty of Liberty University – Lynchburg, Virginia.
  • Rotary Club members – Richmond, California.

Media Interviews, Podcasts, Video Productions:

As a highly-sought-after media personality, Dr. Enright’s 2020 media interviews included:

  • A 67-minute podcast hosted and broadcast by Dr. Alexandra Miller, a popular family relations psychologist, on Rehabilitating those who are ‘Forgotten’: People in Prison. The podcast was downloaded by individuals in 225 US cities and 22 foreign countries in just the first three weeks after it was recorded in July.
  • A multi-segment forgiveness video produced for Revolution Ventures, Bangalore, India.
  • A “therapeutic music-discussion video” with song-writer/performer Sam Ness that was produced for those struggling with anguish caused by COVID-19. The therapeutic video, called “How to Beat the Coronavirus Lockdown Blues,” was distributed worldwide through venues including YouTube.
  • A video interview at the International School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Interview for DER SPIEGEL/Spiegel online, a German weekly news magazine that has the largest circulation of any such publication in Europe.
  • Interview with author Aaron Hutchins for Maclean’sa current affairs magazine with 2.4 million readers based in Toronto,  Canada.
  • Interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, Germany’s largest daily newspaper.
  • Podcast interview with Dr. Peter Miller, Sport and the Growing Good: 8 Keys to Forgiveness.
  • Live interview, The Drew Mariani Show (national), Relevant Radio.
  • Interview with Dr. Max Bonilla, International Director, Expanded Reason webinar, Madrid, Spain.

BLOGS AND MORE:

The activity doesn’t stop there. During 2020, Dr. Enright:

  • Authored 12 new forgiveness-related blogs for Psychology Today and 12 more for “Our Forgiveness Blog” on the International Forgiveness Institute website.
  • Provided written responses on the IFI website for 208 “Ask Dr. Forgiveness” questions.
  • Together with Jacqueline Song, IFI researcher and creator of the IFI’s Driver Safety Campaign, distributed more than 5,000 “Drive for Others’ Lives” bumper stickers requested by website visitors and funded by a grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation.

 

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Peace Education Goal: Emotional Healing for Individuals, Families, Communities

During his 30 years of studying the moral virtue of forgiveness, Dr. Robert Enright has become convinced that forgiveness is the missing piece to the peace puzzle. While recording major milestones in pursuit of that peace premise throughout his career, Dr. Enright is now complementing those extensive efforts by pursuing “peace education” initiatives designed to inform, inspire, and engage educators who are working to enhance peace efforts around the world. 

Peace education hopes to create in the human consciousness a commitment to the ways of peace. Just as a doctor learns in medical school how to minister to the sick, students in peace education classes learn how to solve problems caused by violence. Peace educators use teaching skills to stop violence by developing a peace consciousness that can provide the basis for a just and sustainable future.

As “the forgiveness trailblazer” (TIME magazine), Dr. Enright’s most recent peace education efforts include these three just-published studies:

An addition to peace education: Toward the process of a just and merciful community in schools

Published in the Aug. 6, 2020 issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology®, this qualitative research study with teachers in the US and China demonstrated that justice and mercy need to be partners in school disciplinary policy:

 “Peace education may be more complete if both justice and mercy are part of the disciplinary process of schools. Justice by itself, as a traditional method of discipline in schools, will not necessarily address the resentments that can build up in both those offended and those offending. Mercy offers a second chance and the recognition and acknowledgment that many carry emotional pain which must be addressed for thriving in the school setting.”

Authors: Lai Y. Wong, Linghua Jiang, Jichan J. Kim, Baoyu Zhang, Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.


A philosophical and psychological examination of “justice first”: Toward the need for both justice and forgiveness when conflict arises

Published in the April 16, 2020 issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology®, this study examined justice and forgiveness between communities in conflict:

“The idea of ‘justice first’ between communities in conflict may be insufficient and therefore is depriving people within communities of emotional healing through the exercise of forgiving. The concern here is with the build-up of resentment or unhealthy anger as justice is not realized, especially over a long period of time. Yet, this resentment, and the psychologically-negative effects of this resentment, can be substantially reduced through the practice of forgiving, which has empirically-verified evidence for reducing such anger and significantly improving mental health. Learning to forgive and to put forgiveness into practice can start, not across communities, but instead within one’s own family and community for emotional healing.”

Authors: Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.


Effectiveness of forgiveness education with adolescents in reducing anger and ethnic prejudice in Iran

Published in the August 24, 2020 issue of Journal of Educational Psychology, this study (along with other similar studies) demonstrates that forgiveness education can be an important means of reducing anger and ethnic prejudice in Eastern and Western cultures.

“This research investigated the effectiveness of a forgiveness education program on reducing anger and ethnic prejudice and improving forgiveness in Iranian adolescents. Participants included 224 male and female students (Persian, Azeri, and Kurdish) in 8th grade who were selected from 3 provinces: Tehran, Eastern Azerbaijan, and Kurdistan. The results indicated that the experimental group was higher in forgiveness and lower in ethnic prejudice, state anger, trait anger, and anger expression compared with the control group. This difference was statistically significant in the follow-up phase.”

Authors: Bagher Ghobari Bonab, Mohamad Khodayarifard, Ramin Hashemi Geshnigani, Behnaz Khoei, Fatimah Nosrati, Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.

NOTE: Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology® is a publication of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 48–Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology Division.

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