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From Personal Transformation to Positive Social Impact: IAHV Model

Target Audience
Violent extremistsVictims of terrorismFormers
key themes association
Deradicalisation/disengagementPrison and probation
Peer Reviewed practice


International Association for Human Values (IAHV)

  • Non-profit, United Nations-affiliated organisation with special consultative status with ECOSOC.
  • Founded in 1997 in Geneva, Switzerland, by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other global leaders.
  • Mission: to build sustainable and inclusive peace by promoting and supporting the development of human values in both the individual and societies on a global scale.
  • Headquarters: Geneva. Branches in around 20 countries. Works in partnership with Art of Living Foundation (1981): active in 155 countries, reached hundreds of millions of people.
  • Largely volunteer-based organisation.

IAHV’s programme on Preventing and Transforming Violent Extremism is managed by the IAHV UK branch, which runs the global Peacebuilding Programmes for IAHV. IAHV UK Charity nr: 1103261 Financing: A 3-year IAHV project on preventing extremism among war-affected children in Jordan and Lebanon is currently being implemented with support from EIDHR (Global Call). IAHV programmes in different countries are funded by private donations, trusts and foundations, and corporate and governmental funds.

Type of Organisation: Charity

Project description

IAHV Approach
IAHV advocates for a radically new paradigm of how we understand and deal with violent extremism. The approach is fundamentally human, situated in a broader peacebuilding framework, and tackles the psycho-social roots of the challenge. IAHV Peacebuilding programmes bring about a profound, self-sustaining transformation in attitude, mindset, well-being and behaviour of individuals and communities involved or affected by violence and extremism, inspire and train participants to use non-violent means to achieve legitimate needs, and mobilise them to become effective peacebuilders in their own communities.

IAHV Methodology
IAHV programmes use a comprehensive set of processes and tools facilitating physical, mental, emotional and existential changes, as such positively transforming well-being, attitudes, behaviours and relationships.

Figure 1: IAHV model of intrapersonal transformation


IAHV uses a holistic approach to personal transformation that addresses the physical to deeply existential layers, transcending the strictly cognitive. On the physical level, it provides deep stress release and relaxation, increases energy levels, and improves overall physical health and well-being. On the emotional level, it releases strong negative emotions, fosters more positive and life-supporting emotions, and increases emotional resilience. On the mental level, it calms tension and worries in the mind, improves clarity of mind and concentration, reduces the impact of negative or traumatic memories, and fosters a more positive mindset.

When individuals are able to release stress and negative emotions, calm their worries and expel tensions from the mind – and are thus positively established within themselves – it is reflected in their behaviour, relationships and outlook towards the world. Building on restored mental and emotional well-being, IAHV programmes apply a set of pedagogical methods and strategies (processes, knowledge, discussions, games, practical tools) to strengthen self-confidence, explore a broadened and shared self-identity, inculcate human values, improve non-violent conflict resolution, address issues of trust, fear, suspicion and hatred, reduce resentment, build connectedness, and reinforce healthy attitudes and skills for peaceful coexistence.

On a behavioural level, this subsequently leads to a diminished need for negative coping strategies, improved communication and life skills to handle challenging situations, as well as a reduced inclination towards harmful behaviour towards themselves or others. This can manifest in reduced frequency and severity of violent incidents, criminal activity, substance abuse and aggression. Similarly, individuals feel more resilient against peer pressures, overwhelming emotions, discriminatory behaviours, intimidation or recruitment.

It is commonly understood that violent radicalisation happens at the intersection between an enabling environment and a personal trajectory. IAHV programmes focus explicitly on the personal and relational aspects involved, and to a lesser extent on social, political or geopolitical aspects. Among the psycho-social drivers of violent extremism, as identified through research of best practices and approaches, IAHV addresses in particular the following:


  • Frustration, sense of rejection, exclusion, isolation, humiliation
  • Feelings in general (wish to provoke, despair, fear, hopelessness)
  • Idealism and strong sense of justice
  • Fascination for violence and fights
  • Negative home/family background
  • Disbelief in alternatives
  • Identity questions or problems
  • Lack of a meaningful purpose in life
  • Search for simple ways to understand a complex world


  • Negative or lack of positive personal experiences with certain groups of people
  • Wish to belong to a group
  • Interest in alcohol, drugs or other group-binding factors
  • Peer pressure
  • Connection to a charismatic leader


  • Fear of multiculturalism or of certain groups of people
  • Us-them paradigms
  • Lack of brotherhood, sisterhood or belongingness to a community
  • Lack of trust in others / society
  • Real and perceived injustice


  • Rapid changes in society
  • Resentment of Western supremacy
  • Feelings of inequity and injustice on global level, and a sense of humiliation
  • Encroachment of modernity on ‘traditional’ values
  • Highly symbolic conflicts on the global scene with broad repercussions

The strength of IAHV’s programmes lies in the integrative approach towards empowerment, addressing different individual and relational aspects such as:


When our inner world is disturbed, our impact in society is more likely to be neutral or negative in terms of disengagement, frustration, anger, disappointment, radicalisation, disrespect, violence, depression or resistance. Individuals who are well established in themselves, healed and empowered, are more likely to bring a positive contribution to different aspects of society and to play a peace-enhancing role in their communities and institutions. Healing and empowerment support individuals to develop interpersonally and inside communities, creating more inclusive relationships and greater community resilience to radicalisation and violence. In this process, IAHV fosters a strong, experiential foundation of universal human values to support more positive discernment and decision-making.

Restoring peace at every level well beyond the cognitive, IAHV programmes are deeply empowering, life affirming and truly holistic.

Working inclusively across affected populations and stages of radicalisation
IAHV’s programmes to prevent and transform violent extremism and radicalisation are applicable across personality types, ideologies and contexts, and across all stages, from prevention to intervention, rehabilitation and reintegration. We work with all individuals and communities directly or indirectly, actively or passively affected by violence and extremism, including:
former extremists, ex-combatants, militants, prisoner populations, gangs, convicted terrorists, radicalised youth, affected communities and relatives, social/youth/prevention workers, survivors of violence/terrorist attacks.

Systemic approach in collaboration with ongoing initiatives
IAHV’s expertise, combined with identified best practices from the field in an inclusive, integrative approach, can lay a strong psycho-social foundation to complement and strengthen ongoing initiatives.


IAHV programmes and training include:

  • Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) for young people (aged 16 to 35, though this can be extended) at risk, in the earlier stages, or seeking re-entry from periods of radicalisation (16 to 22 hours):
    • transforming the attitudes and behaviours of youths and young adults from at-risk to high-performing, responsible, confident and empowered populations;
    • ‘prevent’ and providing alternatives to radicalised narratives and destructive behaviour towards themselves and others;
    • practical tools and life skills for individuals to release stress, master their emotions, withstand radicalisation and peer pressures thereto, and solve conflicts using non-violent action.
  • Youth Leadership Peacebuilding Training (YLPT) providing intensive training to empower and mobilise youths and young adults (aged 16 to 35, though this can be extended) to become role models and the driving force behind the prevention and transformation of radicalisation and violence (7 to 10 days).

    In addition to PCVE, YLPT includes:

    • physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social empowerment;
    • hard and soft skills development, including: stress management, trauma-relief and healing, resilience, self-knowledge and self-management, creativity and innovation, communication skills, value-based leadership, teamwork, decision-making, dynamism and entrepreneurship, interpersonal skills and volunteering spirit;
    • focus on individual empowerment and locally informed and owned peacebuilding and violence prevention strategies.
  • Rehabilitation & Reintegration of Ex-Combatants (REX), including current and former extremists as well as war veterans, into society (16 to 22 hours).

    REX addresses psycho-social gaps in existing reintegration and DDR (Demobilization and Reintegration) infrastructure, including but not limited to: post-traumatic stress; addiction; mistrust and alienation; depression, apathy and perceptive disempowerment; victimisation and an inability to take responsibility for past acts or current behaviour; negative emotions such as anger, blame and a desire for revenge; cognitive reliance on violence to achieve power or fulfil feelings of masculinity; and other identity challenges related to re-entry.

    In addition, the REX programme empowers participants to identify and achieve their goals in a non-violent way, helping them re-enter society as contributing and peaceful members.

  • Healing, Resilience and Empowerment (HRE) training for survivors, relatives and affected communities (8 to 12 hours):
    • stress and trauma management and healthy coping strategies, which can sustain improvements in quality of life.
  • Self-Management and Professional Excellence training for CVE/PVE workers (12 hours):
    • introduction to the IAHV approach, methodology, case studies;
    • analysis and personal experience of the psycho-social factors at the core of rehabilitation, reintegration and transformation of extremism;
    • improved well-being, better clarity of mind and greater focus, increased stress resilience;
    • improved ability to manage challenging situations and people leading to improved professional and personal performance.

Ideally, each training programme is supported by a tailored 3 to 12-month follow-up period, in which participants engage in ongoing learning or implement local violence prevention projects.

A description of our approach is available in the following brochure.

An overview of video testimonials from participants.

Contact details


Bad Antogast 1,
77728 Oppenau,

Contact person: Dr Katrien Hertog
Telephone: (+44) 740 563 8795
Email | Website

Read the full practice

From Personal Transformation to Positive Social Impact: IAHV Model
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