SAN SALVADOR — The founder of Sedona’s Mago Retreat, Ilchi Lee, was given the national award, José Simeón Cañas Slave Liberator Order, at the El Salvador Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sept. 12. The award recognized the emotional resilience and culture of peace his Brain Education method brought to gang-violent schools throughout the country.
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.
Brain Education is a five-step mind-body method which includes brain exercises, meditation, and mindfulness that enable people to use the latent power of their brains to create internal health, happiness and peace regardless of outer circumstances. By helping individuals manage their emotions and feel greater empathy and mental clarity, Brain Education improves interpersonal relationships and fosters positive, peaceful communities.
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 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.