President Hagelin addresses World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates and International Ayurveda Congress

MIU President John Hagelin gave two talks at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, held December 12–14, 2022, in South Korea. He also addressed the seventh International Ayurveda Congress, held March 3–5 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

In his talks to the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, entitled “Scientific Solutions to Violence and Global Conflict,” he presented a “brain-based” approach to world peace that traces violence to stressed and imbalanced brain functioning and offers a simple, low-cost antidote with strong empirical support.

“Dr. Hagelin’s talks at the Summit were widely referenced afterward in formal and informal communications,” said Dr. Ash Pachauri, who attended the event, “and they had a great impact in opening participants’ minds and hearts as we discussed issues of global peace and human security more widely.”

Dr. Hagelin began by noting that human behavior is intimately linked to brain functioning and that stress detrimentally affects the brain and behavior. Specifically, stress shuts down the prefrontal cortex (the higher brain) while activating the amygdala (the fear center), leading to violent, impulsive fear-centered behavior. On a societal scale, social stress fuels crime and social violence.  

“The question is, of course, what do we do about stress and related crime?” he said. “Well, you can reduce the stressors — poverty, oppression, injustice, deep prejudice.” But that’s very difficult. Or, he said, “You can instead just reduce the stress.”

The Transcendental Meditation technique markedly reduces stress and improves both brain functioning and behavior, he explained.

His second talk focused on leveraging this effect society wide. “Just as individual meditation reduces individual stress and improves individual behavior,” he said, “meditation on a societal scale, even by a small sub-portion of a population, diffuses societal stress and effectively reduces crime and social violence.”

“Probably no other approach has a comparable track record of success,” he concluded. “Only a small fraction of the population actually needs to participate to produce demonstrable results. . . . I very much look forward to working with any or all of you on this approach or any evidence-based approach to peace.”

“[Your talks] are super clear and straight to the point,” wrote Pierre Dawalibi, Program Executive Producer of the Nobel Peace Summit, which is based in Italy. “Thank you very much for this amazing approach to education, and we look forward to further collaboration with you on the execution of this concept.”

Dr. Hagelin was invited to give these talks by Ekaterina Zagladina, president of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, who wanted to bring the idea of consciousness into discussions of world peace. Ms. Zagladina was made aware of Dr. Hagelin by Dr. Ash Pachauri, cofounder and Senior Mentor of the Pop Movement (Protect Our Planet) and MIU’s commencement speaker in June 2022.

Because Dr. Hagelin was unable to travel to South Korea at that time and unable to speak live given the 15-hour time difference, he prerecorded his talks. In keeping with the session format, each talk was two minutes. The video below combines Dr. Hagelin’s two talks.

The World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was founded in 1999 by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, who served as chair of the Summit for 22 years. A Nobel Peace Laureate himself, he launched the organization to enable his fellow Nobel Peace Laureates to spread peace as a group. 

International Ayurveda Congress

The seventh International Ayurveda Congress, held March 3–5 in Kathmandu, Nepal, attracted 350 delegates from 14 countries, was broadcast live on 35 Internet channels, and received huge daily media coverage in Nepal. “There were experts from India, Nepal, and across the world, a parade of high-level dignitaries, and many distinguished practitioners,” Dr. Hagelin said.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Tony Nader, MD, PhD, MARR, head of the international Transcendental Meditation organization, who focused on how the consciousness aspect of Ayurveda, particularly group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs, expands the range of Ayurveda from healing the individual to healing the world by reducing societal tensions. In its highest form, he said, Ayurveda is the science and technology of consciousness, and as such is capable of resolving any conflict in the world.

“We can guarantee the resolution of the conflict [in the Ukraine],” he said. “The resolution is not going to be on the surface level of exchange and discussion. These are only the appearances of where the resolution comes from. The true resolution will be on the level of the collective awareness of the world itself.” And this, he explained, is accomplished by large groups of meditation experts.

“In my talk I presented Ayurveda as cutting-edge, unified field-based medicine, Atma-based medicine,” Dr. Hagelin said. “And I could see that my reference to cutting-edge science in a conference on traditional medicine was an eye-opener as well, reinforcing Dr Nader’s speech.”

During the conference MIU signed a memorandum of understanding forging a partnership with Kathmandu University. “Kathmandu University has a great, rich Vedic tradition,” Dr. Hagelin said. “The main purpose of the partnership is to create a major peace-creating group there.”

MIU also formed a partnership with D Y Patil International University, in Pune, India, one of India’s most successful, advanced, and fastest-growing universities, with ten major medical centers and an advanced Ayurveda hospital program. 

“This will be a boon for Ayurveda research, which they can support with funds and subjects and which MIU can support with our own researchers and approaches,” Dr. Hagelin said. “With our credentials and research track record in the US, we can get these papers published in prominent Western journals.”

The Prime Minister of Nepal, the Right Honorable Pushpa Kamal Dahal, attended Dr. Nader’s speech and later pledged that his government will create a research center, Ayurvedic hospitals, and Panchakarma wellness centers to support tourism, and that he will work closely with the government of India to promote Ayurveda worldwide as an evidence-based medicine.

Thank you to Dr. Kingsley and Leslie Brooks for their contribution to this story.