A Three-Day Meeting of Hearts and Minds in El Salvador

By Michela Mangiaracina Comment

Ilchi Lee El Salvador

Last week, Ilchi Lee made his first trip to El Salvador, a small Central American nation that has been plagued by civil war, poverty, and gang violence, but that has been moving toward peace. One of the tools they are using to fashion healthier, more peaceful, and more hopeful lives for themselves and, especially, the next generation is Brain Education, the mind-body-spirit self-development method Ilchi Lee created. Through the efforts of the NGO IBREA Foundation and the support of the Salvadoran and South Korean governments and Ilchi Lee's Global Cyber University, the Brain Education program has been implemented in 25 percent of the public schools in the country. As a result, these schools, and the families and communities they influence, have become places where students and teachers work together in harmony, where people are not as afraid to come to school, and where academic achievement has improved.

Ilchi Lee meeting educators at El Salvador airport

Ilchi Lee meeting educators at El Salvador airport

The first part of Ilchi Lee's trip consisted of his meeting the people who have worked for and with the IBREA Foundation to implement Brain Education in schools there. One group greeted him at the airport and another was waiting at the hotel in San Salvador, the capital, where Ilchi Lee was going to stay. They thanked him for Brain Education and the complete change in their lives it has had and expressed their anticipation for the coming days' events.

Ilchi Lee with Laura Calderon in El Salvador

One of those people was Laura Calderon Toledo, who took part in the Brain Education pilot program in 2011 that the IBREA Foundation executed in the Centro Distrito Italia School on the northern outskirts of San Salvador. She gave him a bouquet and they shared a hug. 

Ilchi Lee with Grecia

Ilchi Lee also met Grecia Valenzuela Portillo, the current program manager of the IBREA Foundation's activities in El Salvador. Grecia went through the program herself in 2014.

Ilchi Lee receives presidential award

The next day, he received the national award, José Simeón Cañas Slave Liberator Order, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ilchi Lee with El Salvador President

He was also able to meet President Salvador Sánchez Cerén.

Ilchi Lee gives lecture to El Salavdor Educators

Beforehand, Ilchi Lee give a short lecture to about 220 public school principals.

Ilchi Lee on the morning news

On the third day, Ilchi Lee made an appearance on a national morning news show, where he was interviewed about the award, the activities of the IBREA Foundation, and the transformative effects of Brain Education. He was accompanied by one of the Program Directors of the IBREA Foundation, Isabel Pastor Gusman. 

Ilchi Lee gives book to news show host.

Afterward, he was able to give a copy of the Spanish edition of his latest book, I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation, to the news anchor.

Ilchi Lee at Pool for Peace Distrito Italia, El Salvador

Later that day, Ilchi Lee visited the Brain Education Swimming Pool for Peace, a community project supported by the IBREA Foundation in Distrito Italia at the first school that adopted Brain Education. The pool was made possible by donations from around the world, and many people in the community helped to build it. The pool serves as a place where children can relax and play safely and where the community can come together.

Ilchi Lee at El Salvador Pool for Peace

All of the students and staff created a heartwarming event with local foods, music, a dance performance, a swimming demonstration, and even a commemorative plaque.

 Ilchi Lee sign at Piscina por la paz

The sign for the pool left visitors with these words from Ilchi Lee:  “Discover their great intrinsic value and manifest that value in their lives. Only then can you create peace within yourselves, in your community, your country, and the world. Always be proud of your pioneering work in the school Distrito Italia for world peace.”

Ilchi Lee at pool for peace with Laura's grandmother and son

Ilchi Lee even met Laura's grandmother and son. Laura is now in college and helps to teach Brain Education in El Salvador and spread its use in various ways.

For people in this area, the Pool for Peace is not just a swimming pool, but a place where freedom and peace are allowed. Having this pool makes the children and community feel worthwhile.

Afterward, Ilchi Lee said, “It was a very moving time of great inspiration beyond my expectation. Now that I came to see it, my heart is filled with gratitude and deep emotion. Children looked at me with shining eyes, and I saw that Brain Education for these people is beyond training and education. I felt that Brain Education is their earnest desire for decent living, survival, value of life, and center of living. The people of El Salvador were pure, beautiful, earnest, and desperate. Their hearts deeply moved my heart, and I made a choice that I would establish the Brain Education Peace Institute in order to transform the Brain Education here to a Brain Education of peace and this nation to a nation of peace.

“Brain Education is not something that can be delivered just as a program. It’s the spirit behind it that gives it value. Delivering this spirit, this value, is the essence of Brain Education. This spirit can only be delivered by people. After all, wasn't it the spirit of the people who came here every day to teach Brain Education that brought these results and changed a country? This is something that anyone can do.”

Ilchi Lee El Salvador presidential award toast with educators

With the dedication of the IBREA Foundation staff and devoted educators in El Salvador, Brain Education is helping more and more people around the globe find peace, hope, and dreams, and the power to create them.