Ilchi Lee Awarded for Bringing Peace to Violent Salvadoran Schools with Brain Education

By Linda Suh with Michela Mangiaracina Comment

As the founder of Brain Education and the IBREA Foundation, Ilchi Lee, was given the highest national award for a foreigner, José Simeón Cañas Slave Liberator Order, at the El Salvador Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, September 12 at 10:30 AM local time. The award recognized the emotional resilience and culture of peace his Brain Education method brought to gang-violent schools throughout the country.

Ilchi Lee El Salvador National Award

In a speech before the main award ceremony, Ilchi Lee thanked the 250 public school principals in attendance for their tremendous support for Brain Education. He credits the event to their determined and unwavering efforts to bring peace and wellness to their students. More than 500 El Salvador teachers who directly experienced the effects and values of Brain Education recommended Ilchi Lee for the award.

Ilchi Lee speech to El Salvador public school principals

The José Simeón Cañas award honors its citizens and foreigners who have made great social, educational, scientific, and philanthropic contributions to humanity. It especially expresses national gratitude for the greatest acts of protection and protection of human dignity.

Afterward, Ilchi Lee commented, "I saw that Brain Education for these people is beyond the level of training and education. I felt that Brain Education is their earnest desire for decent living, survival, value of life, and center of living. Their hearts deeply moved my heart. I felt that it was the hunger and desperation they had within that made today's El Salvador. I offer my blessings and gratitude to all of the principals, teachers, and others here who have actualized the principle of the Brain Operating System (BOS): anything can be achieved if there is belief and spirit."

Ilchi Lee with El Salvador President Salvador Sánchez Cerén

Also as part of the event that day, Ilchi Lee met with Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén and discussed Brain Education with him and also with ambassadors to El Salvador from Honduras, Panama, and Argentina. He showed the ambassadors the benefits of the Brain Education technique of Belly Button Healing and signed and gave them copies of the Spanish edition of his recent book, I've Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation.

Ilchi Lee with Ambassadors from Honduras, Panama, and Argentina

Brain Education was brought to El Salvador by the IBREA Foundation, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations ECOSOC that was founded by Ilchi Lee. After attending an IBREA-led conference on Brain Education at the UN headquarters in New York City in 2011, the Ambassador of El Salvador asked IBREA to start a pilot project at a school in Distrito Italia, one of the most socio-politically violent neighborhoods situated just outside of the capital of San Salvador. The school was facing a rampant gang problem that was terrorizing the students and teachers.

The four-month project, which included a group of 39 students aged 14 to 16 and 20 teachers, initially met with much resistance from the students and staff. However, as the students and teachers gained a connection to their bodies and minds with the meditation techniques taught in Brain Education, their attitudes started to change positively. Absenteeism was cut in half, peer relationships improved, and peaceful dialogue increased over fighting. Improvements were also seen in health condition, energy level, stress management, motivation and focus.

Brain Education in El Salavdor schools - energy meditation

Brain Education in El Salvador Schools - plate balancing exercise with two hands

Soon, teachers, students, community members, and the government learned of the success of Brain Education in transforming what was deemed an “impossible” and “hopeless” school. In 2012, the Ministry of Education asked IBREA to expand the program to four more schools. With the help of the Ministry of Education of South Korea and the Global Cyber University in South Korea, the IBREA Foundation brought the program to 12 groups of teachers and students in four schools.

Joaquin Redezno Principal Gloria MüllerOne of these schools was a notoriously violent one: Joaquin Redezno. Gloria Müller, the school’s principal, said that after taking on the role of principal, “I was able to secure the safety of the students. But after that I did not know how to tell these kids how to live. At that time, Brain Education came to our school and taught the students how to live by utilizing their brain.”

After seeing similarly positive results in these schools as Distrito Italia, more school administrators and community members worked to spread Brain Education to other schools in El Salvador. By the next year, through a partnership with the Salvadorian Institute of Educator’s Wellbeing (ISBM), IBREA Foundation was providing the Brain Education program to 230 principals and teachers annually, as well as to medical doctors, psychologists and other staff who serve educators. It also certified educators as Brain Education trainers who helped to bring the program to other schools. Now, seven years after it was first brought to El Salvador, Brain Education has been implemented in 1,340, or approximately 25%, of all public schools in the country.

The Principal of Francisco Morazan School, Edis Margoth Cañas de Amaya, herself found relief through Brain Education. “I had witnessed my sister die from the hands of gang members, and a few days later, her daughter was decapitated. Needless to say, I was under immense stress and trauma, and Brain Education gave me the tools to overcome this horrible situation.”

Lee said, "I attended the United Nations Millennium World Peace Conference held in 2000 at the UN Headquarters and read the Prayer for Peace. At that time, rather than making peace through prayer alone, we made a commitment to return to the United Nations by creating tools and methods to practice peace. Brain Education is a tool for peace practice."

Ilchi Lee hopes that more schools in El Salvador can experience a peaceful change in their school environments through Brain Education and believes that El Salvador can become the symbol of peace in Central America