We believe that forgiveness is a choice. If you have been deeply hurt by another, you can choose to forgive rather than hold on to debilitating anger and resentment. In doing so, an amazing transformation begins. The black clouds of anxiety and depression give way to enhanced self-esteem and genuine feelings of hopefulness. When you forgive, you may benefit the person you forgive. But you benefit yourself far more. By liberating yourself from the pain and sorrow, you can reclaim your life and find the peace that your anger had stolen.
The founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, Robert D. Enright, PhD, pioneered this thinking in 1985 and created the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the country. By using the Institute’s 20-step forgiveness process model, anyone–individuals, families, communities, even governments can experience the extraordinary benefits of forgiveness. With the correct approach to forgiveness, we can all help restore healthy emotions, rebuild relationships and establish more peaceful communities around the world.
Since 2002, Dr. Enright has focused almost exclusively on the development of forgiveness education curricula for children in war-torn, impoverished, and/or oppressed areas of the globe. His program in Belfast has been operating for 14 years and is now spreading across Northern Ireland. Similar programs are now operating in countries around the world. See “Forgiveness Education Around the World” for a list of the 30+ countries where Dr. Enright has helped initiate Forgiveness Education Programs.
Dr. Enright believes that forgiveness education is one path toward peace. His classroom research shows that as children learn about forgiveness, their levels of anger go down. His theory is that such anger reduction in students will help them improve their interpersonal relationships to the point that they can begin to see, as they mature into adults, the best path toward justice.
Read about Dr. Enright’s curriculum development work and his vision for peace through forgiveness education in “Forging Forgiveness in Belfast and Milwaukee” from the Spring 2008 issue of Wisconsin People & Ideas.
The International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization and is not affiliated with any religious or political organization. The IFI, established in 1994, is based in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.