Neuroscience, Spirituality, and Peacebuilding
Rewiring the Brain for Peace explores one of the newest frontiers of the peacebuilding field, tapping into a resource that has so far been under-mobilized—the capacity of the human brain to resist violence, make conscious change, and choose peace. The project researches and documents the ways in which individuals and communities around the world mobilize their own spiritual resources to move away from forces such as fear, separation, and violence. The key deliverables aim to inspire people and support them in becoming effective peacebuilders, locally and globally.
Building upon pioneering neuroscience research on how the brain processes fear and violence, and linking this research to our understanding of contemplative practices and the mind-body-spirit connection, Rewiring the Brain for Peace examines how spiritual rituals, experiences, and values present in different cultures around the world: (1) affect emotional and cognitive processes, (2) contribute to transforming behaviors, attitudes, and relationships, and (3) have the potential to facilitate peacebuilding processes, from violence prevention to reconciliation.
The Rewiring the Brain for Peace program is currently funded by grants from the United States Institute of Peace and the George Family Foundation.
The affinity group for Neuroscience and Peacebuilding, while distinct from Rewiring the Brain for Peace, is open to all AfP members – and selected outside experts. The agenda is set by group members. The group serves both to educate the peacebuilding community about the new applications of neuroscience, and to work jointly on particular projects, areas of interest, etc.