UN Conference: Using "Brain Education" to Achieve Humanity's Priorities

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At the International Brain Education Conference, held at the United Nations, June 20, 2008, "Brain Education" was established as a significant perspective on the peace and advancement of the global community. Now an improved conversation about what nations can do to use the brain well to resolve the world's extreme problems is feasible. Ilchi Lee (http://www.ilchi.com) sees a huge chasm between the impressive contributions of the neurosciences and how national institutions still educate children and maintain peace. Because the brain contains the causes and solutions to humanity's global conflicts, it is the key to our future.

With the completion of the 4th International Brain Education Conference, held at the United Nations, New York City, June 20, 2008, Brain Education was established as a significant area of knowledge and application for the peace and advancement of the global community of nations.

With the Conference theme of "Brain Education: The Future of Education and Hope for the Earth," it will now be possible to have a more productive and creative conversation about what the world and especially its schools can do to focus on the brain itself, and how to use it well to resolve the extreme problems facing all of humanity and the Earth today.

Distinguished speakers from the fields of education, neuroscience, and health care shared insights about the role of the brain and the new field of Brain Education, for creating a global culture of well-being, peace and prosperity.

Ilchi Lee (http://www.ilchi.com), president of the International Brain Education Association (IBREA, http://www.ibrea.org) and the Korea Institute of Brain Science (KIBS, http://eng.kibs.re.kr), the Conference's co-sponsors, explained, "There is much greater appreciation nowadays of the brain and behavior because of the neurosciences. However, there remains a huge chasm between those understandings and the way that national institutions operate - in areas from educating children to maintaining peace."

Global conflicts - such as war and atrocities, abuse of women, and enforced poverty - continue to hurt humanity. According to Lee, "The brain contains the causes and solutions to the major global conflicts that concern the UN and humanity. All roads lead to and from the brain. Educating the brain with positive values and toward different outcomes is a worthwhile global and long-term strategy to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals."

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, but its ideals have not yet been achieved. Lee asserted, "Brain Education can especially vitalize Article 26.2: education should develop the full human personality, and promote peace and understanding among nations. It is a way to deliver on these unrealized goals - a powerful approach for improving character and academic achievement for students in schools."

Antonio Damasio, Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, pointed out that our globalized scientific and technological advances are changing the economy, markets, immigration, lifestyles, politics, and competitiveness. Electronic communication is changing access to information and modifying what and how one learns. He stated, "As progress in neuroscience reveals how the brain processes information, reasons, emotes and feels, and operates in society, it is important to consider that this new knowledge can influence one's views of education."

Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight, and listed among Time magazine's "world's 100 most influential persons," described how on a morning in 1996 she experienced a massive stroke in the left side of her brain. A trained neuroscientist, she shared her perspective on the brain's capacity for recovery, the sense of understanding she gained from this unusual voyage out of a wounded left-brain, and the recalibration of her understanding of the world according to the insights gained from the right-brain.

Lee addressed "Brain Education - Our Hope for the Earth," stating that multidimensional studies of the human brain will help us understand the role and value of the brain in fields such as health, education and culture. Beyond reductionistic logic, we should develop a greater appreciation for the brain's complexity and deep potential. He explained, "When different brains are presented with the same information, different ways of processing information result in absolutely different consequences. Everything depends on how well we operate the brain, and how deeply we can trust it." As the ultimate means to access our unlimited human potential, Brain Education can play a major role in determining the future of humanity and the earth.

Warrington Parker, Jr., Vice President, IBREA USA, pointed out that educational systems remain focused on acquiring knowledge through the core academic subjects. Brain Education is a way for children to realize that they have the power to create well-being, peacefulness, and higher academic achievement, by using the brain well. It introduces exercises to promote physical strength and coordination, emotional self-awareness and regulation, concentration, imagination and cooperation.

Jessie Jones, Co-Director of the Center for Successful Aging, California State University, Fullerton, contended that although old age is not a choice, much of the way in which we age is within our control. Researchers now believe that diseases and negative lifestyles cause the most severe declines in our health and well-being. She concluded, "Healing ourselves and the world is deeply dependent upon the emotional circuitry of our brains. In nurturing the mind with inspiration, we awaken our ability to profoundly impact the quality of our lives."

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Larry Rosenberg
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