Newsletter October 2018

Dear Friends,

As Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere and Spring has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere, we are planning for the 4th Spirit of Humanity Forum in Iceland 2019 with great enthusiasm, and several regional Forums have taken shape.

It has been great to witness the work of our teams in Argentina, England and Iceland planning beautiful regional events with such heartfelt commitment, volunteering their work motivated by love and compassion for bringing core human / spiritual values to the forefront in the world.

It seems that the SoH Forum has gained greater visibility, as we are receiving many spontaneous offers from potential speakers and participants. Many new voices of interest in the Forum and appreciation for the work is reaching us and this is very encouraging. 

A new article for our series ‘Living from the Inside Out’ written by Dr. Scilla Elworthy PhD., participant in our SoH Forum 2014. She has been a relentless advocate for peace for almost half a century and three times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Oxford Research Group. She has learned through her life’s work that inner work is a prerequisite for outer effectiveness, for the simple reason that the quality of our awareness directly affects the quality of the results produced.

This is exactly the understanding that the SoH Forum is built on – our inner world is reflected in the outside world. This is why the SoH Forum wishes to encourage and inspire leaders and changemakers to connect to and live our mutual core human values like peacefulness, love, respect and compassion, and from there bring changes into the world.


Transformative experiences for a world in transition

Villa La Angostura, Patagonia
24-27 October 2018

At last the day has come for the Spirit of Humanity Forum for the South American Region to begin! 

The Argentinian team has been working with unwavering conviction since their dream emerged 1½ years ago and, with a leap of faith, they took on this big task of creating a replica of the programme in Iceland. Their trust in being instruments for a purpose higher than themselves and their devoted work is now coming into bloom. Here you can begin to see the fruits emerging: a wonderful three-day programme in the Spanish language under the theme of ‘Transformative experiences for a world in Transition’ has attracted over 150 participants. 

Look out for news on the website: under News & Events

All material in Spanish available here:

Programme in English                          

VIDEO by local TV in Patagonia (Spanish)

from one of the initiators and organisers

"I am so happy that the SoH forum, which started in 2012 in Iceland, will have its first South America Regional SoH Forum in Patagonia with more than 140 confirmed participants, and amazing panellists and workshops. It has been a lot of teamwork, filled with love and care that has allowed us to bring this regional Forum into life after more than a year of design. We have participants from different countries from the South American Region and we have also added more than 20 local workshops to the programme for the community. The whole Forum and workshops are free, funded by the voluntary support of participants without any major sponsors, which shows that the co-creation is simple and possible if the belief and will are aligned with our purpose, passion and offering of service to humanity. Thanks to the SoH Executive Circle for their trust and support. Thanks to Sara, Myriam, Moira, Javier and Juan for making these dreams come true. Also thank you to the many volunteers who have supported the organisation of the Forum at Villa La Angostura, Patagonia, Argentina."

Alan Gegenschatz
Facilitating and serving
Creating value and well-being
Studying, Learning, Exploring and Permitting

from two of the panellists

Paula Molinari Founder of Whalecom, dedicated to organisational transformation from the human perspective. Creator of Joilab, a counselling centre to help people find new paths to well-being at work.

“I am interested in taking to the panel the thinking of a new generation seeking to generate a new paradigm, that takes a look beyond individual or sectorial interest and that generates endeavours guided by purpose.”

“Me interesa llevar al panel el pensamiento de una nueva generacion de empresarios  buscando generar un nuevo paradigma que tiene una mirada mas alla del interes individual o sectorial y que genera emprendimientos guiados por el proposito.”

Nicolas Winegardner Conservationist, founder of the Patagonia Bird Sanctuary project.

“It is a great privilege to be able to participate in the Patagonia Regional Spirit of Humanity Forum. The opportunity to learn more about the true meaning of spirituality and share positive experiences with like-minded people elevates the soul. I am very much looking forward to feeling the power of love and compassion throughout the Forum.”

“Es un gran privilegio poder participar en el Foro Regional Patagonia Espíritu de la Humanidad. La oportunidad de aprender más sobre el verdadero significado de la espiritualidad y compartir experiencias positivas con personas que piensan igual eleva nuestra alma. Espero sentir el poder del amor y de la compasión durante el foro.

Reykjavík Iceland 2019

The 4th International Spirit of Humanity Forum

Discovering harmony in a world of difference

Spiritual resilience in practice

The development of the programme has only just begun. We are delighted to receive many offers from skilled, interesting speakers and facilitators. We also want to give space for reflection and sharing among participants. We wish to create a spiritually-charged atmosphere to promote personal realisations and to help us all to connect with each other more deeply.

Can we bring about a shift in human consciousness towards a rediscovery of harmony as an innate property of our being? A shift that can help us to perceive difference not as a threat, but as a creative driving force for collaboration and harmony? Harmony has spiritual qualities such as love at its core, which enables us to bring parts into an integrated whole and make systems work constructively, benevolently.

To reaffirm our spiritual bond, and to reweave the broken threads of our communities and our world into wholeness, the 4thSpirit of Humanity Forum seeks ways to rediscover harmony in a world of difference by inviting leaders at all levels to explore how spiritual qualities can strengthen our resilience and sustain us in an inner state of peacefulness, despite pressures and fears.

Concept paper

Panelists Reykjavík 2019

In the months leading up to the SoH Forum Reykjavik 2019, we will introduce the panellists. We are proud and honoured to introduce the first four, Ms. Christiana Figueres, Dr. Imad Karam, Mr. Boris Cyrulnik and Mr. Kenneth Gergen.

Christiana Figueres is a world authority on global climate change and was the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC from 2010-2016.

Ms. Figueres is founding partner of Global Optimism and currently vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, ClimateWorks board member, World Bank climate leader, senior fellow for Conservation International, ACCIONA board member, B Team leader, WRI board member, member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, leadership council member for The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and Mission 2020 convenor.

During her tenure at the UNFCCC, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, in which 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to below 2C. The agreement entered into force in less than a year, breaking the UN’s record. For this achievement, Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy.

In addition to her remarkable diplomatic achievements over the past 20 years, she served as director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and, in 1995, she founded the non-profit Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA), which she directed for eight years.

Dr Imad Karam is the executive director of Initiatives of Change International, a global network of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, whose mission is to inspire, equip and accompany changemakers in the pursuit of a just and peaceful world. 

Imad is also an award-winning documentary film-maker. His films focus on forgiveness, peace-building and reconciliation. His latest work is the award-winning documentary film The Man Who Built Peace, which tells the story of Frank Buchman, the founder of Moral Re-armament (MRA) and how it helped to unite the bitter enemies of World War II. Previously, Imad produced the award-winning documentary film Beyond Forgiving, which depicts the journey of two South Africans to bring healing and reconciliation to their country post-Apartheid.

Born in Gaza City, Palestine, in 1976, Imad studied at Al-Azhar University-Gaza and worked as a journalist in Palestine before moving to the UK in 2002. He has an MA in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a PhD in Media Sociology from City, University of London. He lives in London with his wife and 7-year-old son. 

Boris Cyrulnik is a French doctor, ethologist, neurologist and psychiatrist. He is a professor at the University of the South, Toulon-Var. He was awarded the 2008 Prix Renaudot de l'essai.

As a Jewish child during World War II, he was entrusted to a foster family for his own protection. In 1943 he was taken with adults in a Nazi-led capture in Bordeaux. He avoided detention by hiding for a while in the restrooms and later being hidden from Nazi searches as a farm boy under the name Jean Laborde until the end of the war. Both of his parents were arrested and murdered during World War II. His own survival motivated his career in psychiatry. He studied medicine at the University of Paris. He wrote several books of popular science on psychology. He is known in France for developing and explaining the concept of psychological resilience to the public.

Notable Work: Psychological resilience

Photo:  ActuaLitté

Kenneth J. Gergen is a senior research professor in psychology at Swarthmore College and the president of the Taos Institute. He is internationally known for his contributions to social constructionist theory, technology and cultural change, the self, and relational practices. His major writings include Realities and Relationships: Soundings in Social Construction, The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life, An Invitation to Social Construction, andRelational Being: Beyond Self and Community. Gergen lectures throughout the world, and has received numerous awards for his work, including honorary degrees in both the US and Europe.

What are your reflections on the theme?

We wish to learn about as many different perspectives as possible on the theme of the 4th International SoH Forum and to share them on our social media channels with the hope of starting off a wave of reflections leading up to Reykjavik 2019.

‘Discovering Harmony in a World of Difference - spiritual resilience in practice’ is particularly important to leaders at all levels, as becoming more aware of our interconnection and interdependence in the world, and building up clarity and strength from inside out, will help provide a foundation for harmony.

We welcome articles, short messages or however you like to share your thoughts, feelings, understandings, perspectives on this subject. We wish to select material from this resource for publication on our social media channels, after gaining permission from the authors.

Quality of awareness

"In half a century of work in the world, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that inner work is a prerequisite for outer effectiveness, for the simple reason that the quality of our awareness directly affects the quality of results produced. The new brand of leaders that we need — those who are actually able to meet the challenges of today and thrive in the world of tomorrow — are the ones who know and live the connection between inner self-development and outer action. If we want to communicate clearly, transform conflicts, generate energy and develop trust within our families, in our places of work or in government, our first challenge is to do the inner work.”  
                     Dr. Scilla Elworthy

A new article in our series

"Living from the Inside Out" 

by Dr Scilla Elworthy 

Living our values and self knowledge is key to effective action to make the world a safer place

In September 2017, I published The Business Plan for Peace. The book demonstrates how 25 tried and tested strategies for preventing war can be scaled up and extended over 10 years, with the aim of preventing armed violence worldwide. Nine of the strategies are now being implemented as programmatic initiatives. Underlying these initiatives are the themes presented below. They articulate the heart of the book.The key to the book is that inner power – self-knowledge and self-reflection – is essential to the effectiveness of what we do to make the world a safer place.

Read more


Caring for a World in Transition

On 22 September, a very successful regional SoH Forum in Icelandic was held in Reykjavik on the importance of core human values in leadership under the theme ‘Caring for a World in Transition’. It attracted over 50 leaders and changemakers from different fields, and has strengthened our roots in Iceland. It was also an important step in the planning of our next international SoH Forum in Reykjavik 2019. With beautiful music, meditation, plenary, silent reflections and dialogue groups, it was a wonderful day with rich conversations which inspired and strengthened us in our journey to connect to values like love, compassion and respect, and live them in our life and work.


Gunnar Hersveinn, philosopher and writer
Guðni Gunnarsson, writer and founder, Rope Yoga
Einar Bárðarson, environmental activist, music writer and entrepreneur
Marta Magnúsdóttir, head, Scout movement, Iceland.
Þóranna Jónsdóttir, assistant professor, University of Reykjavik, and business leader consultant
Óttarr Proppé, musician, actor, former Reykjavík City Councillor and former Member of Parliament

Our inspirations and insights from the day were many - including:

  • We need to learn to work with care, which increases the kindness and respect in our communities.
  • Let’s be servant leaders, and learn to listen and trust. Serving others makes us better people.
  • It is important to listen and to be able to put ourselves in the position of others.
  • Peace is not a concept. It is a state of mind that manifests in our behaviour. 
  • Peacefulness, kindness that is the source of gratitude, is the key to success. 
  • Choose responses in all situations that are based on love and light.
  • It is not enough to know honesty, we need to learn honesty.
  • If we want positive changes in the world, we need to be the change. If no-one wants to change, no changes will happen. 
  • It is not enough to decide to have values, we need to live them.

Programme (in Icelandic)

New supporting partner

We are very pleased to announce a new member of our supporting partners, the Foundation for Self Leadership.

Dr Toufic Hakim, Executive Director for Operations and Communications, writes on behalf of the Foundation: 

We're very pleased on behalf of the Foundation for Self Leadership to partner with the Spirit of Humanity Forum. Three of our board members have had the opportunity to attend the Forum and had profound experiences (two of us in 2014 and one last year) -not to mention Mark Milton, of course, who's been with the Forum since the beginning and whom we're fortunate to have engaged with us.

We embrace the Forum's ambitious vision and deep values. Hosting meaningful dialogues and shared experiences around topics critical to our common humanity is an effective model to energizing our collective work and sustain a movement that counterbalances undesirable forces around us.

At the Foundation, we envision a world in which striving for peace is the norm, not the exception; we hope to get there by promoting a path toward inner peace and resilience. 

The Foundation for Self Leadership, a global non-profit incorporated in the U.S., is dedicated to promoting emotional healing, health, and wellbeing for all. Its work revolves around research, advocacy and service to communities in need. 

The Foundation catalyses and supports independent research around a modern view of the human psyche, based on multiplicity of mind and systems theory, which has been at the core of (1) a now-evidence-based psychotherapy treatment protocol; and (2) a practice of self-awareness and personal development that is reportedly intuitive and life-changing. Beyond research, the Foundation partners with the larger community to develop and implement programs to bring notions of self-responsibility and leadership to school teachers and students, corporate executives, military veterans and medical staff, among many. Its focus is on establishing inner peace as a critical step toward social harmony and global peace. 

To learn more, please visit:

Sacred Activism and the Freedom to Love: 

The relationship between
science, spirituality and sustainability

On 4 October, a regional Spirit of Humanity Forum event in collaboration with The Schumacher Institute took place in Bristol, UK, on the initiative of Tom Stedall with the support of Jenneth Parker. They are both from the Schumacher Institute and have attended the SoH Forum in Reykjavík. It turned out to be a very warm, friendly, stimulating, meaningful and thought-provoking meeting.

Several of the 20 participants had attended Spirit of Humanity Forums in Reykjavík, and others were new to the Forum.

A rich vegan climate-conscious lunch was prepared by Tom and his girlfriend, and served under the sun in the garden outside our window. It was a gloriously warm day.

It was hosted by the Central Quaker Meeting House, which serves the community in extraordinary ways, even offering shelter to house the homeless at nights whilst upholding the four Quaker values: peace, truth, simplicity, equality. It was an honour to meet there.

Catherine Allinson, who took the initiative in organising our first regional SoH Forum last year in London, welcomed everyone, underlining her purpose of being involved in the work of the Forum: When we transform ourselves, we can make change in the wider society.

Inspirations from speakers

A different kind of love

Prof Ursula King Emeritus professor of Theology and Religious Studies and senior research fellow at the University for Advanced Studies, University of Bristol.

Ursula said that the carrier of spirit in us is ideas; ideas that have extraordinary transformative powers; ideas that can transform our thinking and action. We all need love, we all need warmth, protection, community, collaboration – all that which we associate with love, but our ideas of love have become weak. We need an approach to love in a new way. Ursula saidwe must nurture a different kind of love. 

The ideas of love today are too small. Love is not just a feeling, but a great power. The roots of love are cosmic, the whole unfolding of the universe is energised by love, but we have restricted it to family and friends where we feel safe. We have to break this narrow circle so it goes out to the whole world. We must nurture love.

Read more

The meaning of ‘spirituality’ and ‘activism’

Tom Stedall Research Fellow, The Schumacher Institute.

Tom explored the meanings of ‘spirituality’ and ‘activism’,and how as callings these can be understood in relation to each other. Spirituality is both 1) an ongoing work of inner and outer development, and 2) a sense that there is something more to what we see. Activism is about raising consciousness and compassion, and includes not only those campaigning but, for example, nurses and teachers facing cuts. In the face of unprecedented ecological crisis and social injustice, he drew on ideas from the evolution of consciousness. We need a lot more than electric cars now. The situation we are facing will require a shift of great proportions. We must overcome deep and persistence wounds of separation to break the cycles of oppression.

Read more

Purpose is key to our motivation

Clive Wilson Author of Designing the Purposeful World – the Sustainable Development Goals as a Blueprint for Humanity.

Clive talked about the power of purpose and used the analogy of how stem cells respond to the environment, how microcosm reflects in macrocosm. He shared his experience of witnessing people connecting to a sense of purpose and connectedness in their life, and his own experience. He called it awakening and loves the expression, ’Dzukani’ which means ”Wake up!” in the language of the Malawian people. We can look at ourselves, as one consciousness, one singularity in flow who are already in connection with each other, just having to wake up to the realisation.

Read more

Sacred activism

Four Arrows aka Don Trent Jacobs Faculty member in the School of Educational Leadership for Change at Fielding Graduate University.

Four Arrows, who was with us online, shared Indigenous perspectives on what he refers to as ‘sacred activism’, that includes an understanding and a practice of empathy, compassion, courage, complementarity and, ultimately, fearless engagement. He shared his ideas on why this understanding and practice are vital for achieving the kinds of transformation needed in the world today. Four Arrows said that, without knowing the history of a person - walking in another person’s moccasins, it is hard to find empathy. Even if I disagree with someone, I can still have empathy, if I know their background.

Read more


On the surface my spirit doth rage
In my depth there is stillness 
Profound stillness
Knowing that this has been the way
Since eternity

The rage is a reminder of the why
Of a need to set the compass
Not to go to war
Rather to explore 
The depth
The stillness
The bliss

To delight in the hope
The calm in the eye of the storm
The light in the darkness
No matter how faint
I will follow

Clear white light of hope
I calmly follow
And as I do
As I walk this lonely path
I notice others 
Treading the same way

Joy of the shared path 
Of co-creation

Joy of the company of other travellers

Celebration of our power
Celebration of the difference we all make

Peace after the celebration
Rest until tomorrow

Painting and poem by Clive Wilson

Core human values and spirituality in practice

When we say core human values, we think of the fundamental, positive, human qualities that all humanity has in common, at our core, and are therefore universal. Qualities that we are all drawn to, that give meaning to our life and our relationships. Love, care, loyalty, honesty, courage, fairness, kindness, wisdom etc. become qualities we want to protect, encourage and live by. Their power lies in being universal and limitless, unconfined by cultural traditions or belief systems. Universal and all-embracing means spiritual, like a thread that runs through all living beings; a connectedness that requires no introduction.

What is spirituality? What does it look like in practice? How can spiritual principles guide and help us in our daily life? We will be sharing simple practical tips every Wednesday on our Facebook page and are calling it Wednesday Wisdom. Here is the first example. Overcoming worry

Spirit of Humanity Forum

Lotta Arbman (Sweden) 
+46 729 110 485