Project in Kurdistan, Iraq

Mental training for Peace – From Inner to Outer Peace

Our Mental Trainer, Abdullah Tawfik, Swedish citizen from Kurdistan, started 10 years ago to translate the mental training books and training programs to Kurdish with the goal of introducing the Swedish model of mental training in Iraq with start in the north part (Kurdistan).

This led to an invitation from the government to Abdullah and me to visit Irak and to start an education for teachers, psychologists, doctors and social workers, who then would be able to distribute the training to the general population

Already at the airport we were met by a large number of people with flowers and welcome speeches. On the way from the capital to Sulaymaniah we passed the “oilcity” Kirkuk. Noone mentioned about anything special but later in the evening I got some phone calls from friends in Sweden, that the Swedish news had reported a “suicide bomber” who had killed a number of people just 2 hours before we passed. No one mentioned that and the fact that it was no special discussion about that shows that we can learn to detach from the terrible things around us and instead focus on things that we can do something about and which gives us the positive mood and energy to act in areas we can control .

In the introductory conference with over 500 people the governor and the health minister expressed their hope that Mental Training will help people to become more optimistic, get more energy and increase the wellbeing.

After the big conference a 3 day introductory course in mental training was organized for 120 selected people (mostly medical doctors, psychologists, social workers and teachers) As Abdullah already had translated a number of the training programs the participants could immediately start to apply the principles in a concrete and practical training.

A shocking experience was the visit to Halabja, the city which was attacked with deadly gas by Saddam Hussein. Several thousand were killed and the city was completely destroyed. The city has today 50.000 inhabitants and the mayor told us that the whole city population was in big need for mental training. We started to plan a project through which we could reach everyone (on line, local TV, etc.)

24 of the participants in the 3 days course was selected to go through an one year education during 2014. This has been done by webinars every second week.

During 2015 started the work to distribute the mental training to as many as possible in Kurdistan. Two programs were chosen, one introductory (Muscular and Mental relaxation, Self-Image training and Goal programming) and one program for coping with fear, anxiety and depression. The last program is especially important as the kurds has suffered a lot due to the expansion of ISIS.

The goal is to reach everyone during 2016 with not only these 2 programs but with both readings and other important training programs. The earlier books and CD:s have been replaced with e-books and training programs that can be downloaded to the mobiles.