Discovering harmony in a world of difference – spiritual resilience in practice

A very successful Spirit of Humanity Forum was held in beautiful sunny weather in Reykjavik, Iceland, from 30 May to 1 June with an inaugural reception at the City Hall on 29 May.

It was a wonderful coming-together of around 200 leaders and change-makers from 38 countries, who participated in plenaries, workshops and contemplative dialogues to explore how personal transformation can lead to global transformation. 

And how, by learning to connect to our deeper spiritual values and aligning with them in our actions, a positive shift can occur in how we relate to ourselves, to others and the world at large. All of the panel sessions are now available to view in full on our YouTube channel and also on this website, below.

Speakers and contributors

Discovering Harmony in Diversity – Spiritual Resilience in Practice

We selected the title, ‘Discovering harmony in a world of difference – spiritual resilience in practice’, to promote a shift in human consciousness towards a rediscovery of harmony as an innate property of our being; a shift that can help us to perceive difference not as a threat, but as a creative driving force for collaboration and harmony. Harmony has spiritual qualities such as love at its core, which enables us to draw parts into an integrated whole and make systems work constructively, benevolently.

When we reaffirm our spiritual bond, we can start to re-weave the broken threads of our communities and our world into wholeness. Seeking ways to rediscover harmony in a world of difference, we invited leaders and changemakers to explore how spiritual qualities can strengthen our resilience and sustain us in an inner state of peacefulness, despite pressures and fears.

Space for reflection and sharing amongst participants becomes very important. We wish to create a spiritually-charged atmosphere that promotes personal realisations and helps us all to connect with each other more deeply.

2019 Forum Panel – Harmony and Sustaining Peace

In this panel, Bob Boisture, Kenneth Gergen and Pia Hanson share their personal stories and discuss the relationship between harmony and Sustaining Peace and how the idea of harmony might inspire values-based governance, from the local to the global. Introduced and moderated by Scherto Gill.

2019 Forum Panel – Harmony Within Ourselves and in Our Communities

In this panel, Boris Cyrulnik, Imad Karam, Dina Shoman, Mary Gordon and Caroline Casey share their personal stories and look at how might inner harmony contribute to peacefulness in our communities. Introduced and moderated by Mark Milton.

2019 Forum Panel – Harmony Among Nations and Global Institutions

Mike Hardy, Katherine Marshall, Christiana Figueres, Andrew Stone and Michael Wernstedt share their personal stories and look into in what way might spirituality and human values help shift global political systems and transform international institutions. Introduced and moderated by Kurian Thomas.

2019 Forum Panel – Harmony with Nature

In this panel, Tomas Björkman, Thomas Bruhn, Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Sr Jayanti and Hellen Mugo looks into what might we do to shift our way of being from living at the expense of Nature to living in harmony with Nature. Introduced and moderated by Nicole Schwab.

2019 Forum Panel – A New Opening

An Intergenerational Dialogue in which Isabella Lenarduzzi, Anne Bahr Thompson, Ndapile Bwanausi Kabuye and Marta Magnúsdóttir expressed what has been most meaningful for them at the Forum. Chaired by Mashekoe Thato Liemo Likoti.

Opening by the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdóttir

The inner mindset and personal transformation played a crucial role in reaching the Paris agreement

Christiana Figueres, fr Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, at the Spirit of Humanity Forum, on the panel ‘Harmony among Nations and Global Institutions’.

Leadership, the now generation and unconditional love

Professor Mike Hardy, Chair of the Board of the International Leadership Association, on the 2019 Forum Panel ‘Harmony among Nations and Global Institutions’.

With what energy are we working?

Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, actress, on the Forum 2019 panel ‘Harmony within our selves & in our communities’.

Love is all we need

Bob Boisture, President & CEO, the Fetzer Institute, on the 2019 Forum panel ‘Harmony and Sustaining Peace’.

We must engage young people and ask for their visions

Professor Kenneth Gergen, President & CEO, Taos Institute speaking at the 4th SoH Forum, Reykjavik 2019

This is a time for a heart revolution!

Caroline Casey, social entrepreneur and founder of ‘The Valuable 500’

Message from Icelandic school children

Júlía Ósk Steinarsdóttir and Vésteinn Sigurgeirsson, school children from Iceland shared at the opening.


“Each one of the Forums has generated such an intimate and safe atmosphere that leaders, who are playing key roles in bringing agreement in politics, the environment and other discussions, have been able to speak openly from their heart. They have shared stories of their success at bringing in the components of their own faith and spirituality. Harmony begins inside and then reaches out. If we can create harmony inside ourselves, we can appreciate differences and, at the same time, maintain our own inner dignity, and treat others with dignity and respect also.”

Diversity coming together

“What really inspires me is the diversity of people coming together from all the different backgrounds here, from politics, arts, business, religion – the combination of different voices, everyone with the vision of creating a peaceful world through applying the spiritual element.”


“I have attended many conferences, but this was something different! The sessions and speakers were outstanding, but also the audience and the general tone really touched me. I will forever use the, “Shall we take 30 seconds of silence?” moments which we had. I teach public speaking and have not seen such a level of compassion being expressed in presentations before – the feelings were electrifying, re- charging and relaxing all at once. I felt part of a movement. I will be forever grateful for having participated and would love to help in organising a SoH Forum in the US!”


The power of compassion is fierce if we have the courage to apply it.

Michael West, Professor of Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University Management School.

To be the change

Maureen Goodman, Programme Director, Brahma Kumaris, UK.

What can bring about reconciliation and the importance of empathy

Dr Imad Karam, Director, Initiatives of Change, International.

Advice to the leaders of the world

Bob Boisture, President of the Fetzer Institute.

To meet the world’s challenges

Nicole Schwab, author and social entrepreneur, Last Wild Places, National Geographic Society.

How young people can make a change in the world

Hellen Mugo, Director for research and partnership on a voluntary basis in the secretariat of CYNESA, Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa.

The purpose of Spirit of Humanity Forum

Maureen Goodman, representative of Brahma Kumaris, one of the founding partners of the Spirit of Humanity Forum.

We have tools in abundance to connect with ourselves

Una Nicholson, Facilitator at Here, social heathcare enterprise, UK.

How personal transformation can change the world

Mashekoe Thato Liemo Likoti, senior soil and water conservation officer, Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation, Department of Conservation, LESOTHO.

Finding harmony, the importance of listening, connecting within

Thomas Bruhn, Senior Research Associate, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam.

How love can bridge the divides in the world

Bob Boisture, President and CEO of the Fetzer Institute.

We need to re-connect with our inner compass

Tomas Björkman, Social Entrepreneur, Philosopher, Author and Founder of Ekskäret (Oak Island Foundation).

Climate change and the importance of solidarity and connecting within

Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Climate Change.

How to discover harmony in a world of difference

Dr Scherto Gill, senior research fellow, Guerrand Hermès Foundation for Peace and Board Member/Programme designer, Spirit of Humanity Forum

Love at work

Bob Boisture, President and CEO of the Fetzer Institute.

What is an economy based on love?

Dr Scherto Gill, senior research fellow, Guerrand Hermès Foundation for Peace and Board Member, Spirit of Humanity Forum.

If we fix the inside we might be able to fix the outside too!

Ndapile Bwanausi Kabuye, Research Assistant, Environmental Management Department, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi

Practising inner work

Oliver Onghena – ‘t Hooft, Author of the Book of ‘Noble Purpose’,  In interview with the Icelandic journalist Friðrika Hjördís Geirsdóttir.

What inspired me the most at the Spirit of Humanity Forum

Oliver Onghena ‘t Hooft, Author of the Book of ‘Noble Purpose’