The Spirit of Humanity Forum started as an idea from a group in the Gulf State of Oman. Given its role as a peacemaker in the region, it seemed an obvious place for bringing together leaders to explore the role of spiritual values in decision-making. Iceland was also on the horizon for this work which was further explored by the Brahma Kumaris and Education for Peace. The name was chosen to reflect the deep exploration of the connection between our inner spiritual values and the world around us. Those who helped establish Iceland as the home of the Spirit of Humanity Forum were —Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, former Foreign Minister of Iceland, Jón Gnarr, then Mayor of Reykjavík and the late Sigrún Olsen and Thor Bardðal, who were directors of the Brahma Kumaris in Iceland. With the support of the City of Reykjavik, the first Spirit of Humanity Forum took place in 2012.

Why Love Matters: Values in Governance

Following the 2nd Forum, an edited volume featuring the contributions from global leaders and change-makers on the theme of the values- based governance was published by Peter Lang Publishing. The book entitled ‘Why Love Matters: Values in Governance’ is available both on the Publisher’s website and through Amazon. Read More

Peacefulness: Being Peace and Making Peace

Following the 3rd Forum, a co-authored book, which captures the insights emerging from the SoH Forum’s dialogue series on peace and peacefulness was published. This dialogue series has been co-hosted and co-sponsored by the Guerrand- Hermès Foundation for Peace and the Fetzer Institute. Read More

What is the meaning of Spirit of Humanity?

We are all aware that human beings can behave nobly and with a generous heart, sacrificing narrow self-interest. We honour the compassion shown by those like Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King in their courageous pursuit of a more just society. At a more mundane level, we appreciate, though often unconsciously, the acts of kindness that oil the wheels of our everyday lives.

And yet…we are clearly capable of behaving with selfishness, narrow-mindedness and cruelty, and experiencing much sorrow. We often become indifferent to the suffering of others, in pursuit of our worldly goals. We glorify greed, seeing it as an engine of economic growth. Most of us regularly experience shortcomings in our ability to live with qualities such as patience, tolerance, compassion and forgiveness.

What then is the true spirit of humanity?

The Spirit of Humanity Forum brings together leaders and practitioners who hold the view that the positive energy of love is the deepest, most enduring and most valuable characteristic of human nature. The aim of the Forum is to identify and share ways of improving access to this inner strength of being. It showcases practical examples of how love, compassion and a care for others can transform and truly re-humanise an organisation.


The seed idea for the Forum came from Ambassador Ragnar Ängeby, a former Swedish diplomat who now works globally on conflict prevention, leadership, governance and managing change. He had observed that, around the world, lasting solutions to the most bitter conflicts could emerge when adversaries reconnected with their own inner peace and compassion – with the humanity felt in the ‘here and now’ when anger and pain about the past, and fears for the future, became even temporarily suspended.

Many working in the field of conflict prevention understood this inner power as a vital component of successful outcomes. Yet it was not easy to explain to politicians or public, Ängeby said. He saw a need to bring together those interested in this dimension of peace-building, for mutual support as well as to find ways of helping others understand its enormous potential value

European representatives of the Brahma Kumaris, a spiritual training organisation with a global network of centres teaching reflective practices, took up the idea and it became clear that a Forum aimed at energising our higher human values could be of benefit in many other areas of life including education, health, governance, business and finance. Several organisations became centrally involved, including Education 4 Peace Foundation (Switzerland), the Foundation for a Culture of Peace (Spain), the World Servers Foundation (Hungary) and the Guerrand–Hermès Foundation for Peace (UK).

The Mayor and City Council of Reykjavik, Iceland, where the financial crash of 2008 had led people and politicians to a reassessment of their own values, decided to support the project by hosting the first Forum. It took place in September 2012.

Dadi Janki

Spiritual Head of Brahma Kumaris who helped creating the Spirit of Humanity Forum, has at the age of 104 passed on from this physical life on Friday 27th March 2020.