Dr. Eileen Borris Is Keynote On Global Refugee Crisis Panel

Scottsdale Based Author Tapped to Lead Discussion on Global Refugee Crisis

Dr. Eileen Borris, author of the best-selling book, “Finding Forgiveness”(McGraw-Hill) with its Foreword by the Dalai Lama, began her journey defining political forgiveness more than 30 years ago.

“It is impossible for everyone to come to Europe. Europe cannot host all refugees,” the Dalai Lama said recently. “The real solution to the current refugee crisis lies in the Middle East.”

The Tibetan Buddhist leader has called for the ending violence in the refugees’ home countries. Dr. Eileen Borris, Scottsdale-based author of the best-selling book “Finding Forgiveness” and her upcoming book “Forgiveness and the Healing of Nations” is sharing strategies for conflict resolution that she hopes will become required reading and a reference book for diplomacy in every embassy in the world.

There are nearly four million Syrian refugees in five host countries. More than 15 million people are in need of assistance inside and outside of Syria. On September 30, 2015 the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations (PCFR) presents a panel discussion on Cost of Violence and War versus Benefits of Peace by three international experts on this timely topic in regards to the refugee crisis. Besides Dr. Eileen Borris, the panelists include Donna Magnuson and Karen Linehan Mroz and will be moderated by PCFR Board Member, Susan Gitenstein Assadi.

“Government may not talk in terms of understanding, compassion or forgiveness, but that does not mean these virtues are not to be strived for, “ said Dr. Borris. “Political forgiveness is a form of action that helps a nation to open up new paths to once and for all end the conflict.”

As a clinical and political psychologist, Dr. Borris works with emerging democracies helping those nations of people reconcile centuries-old conflicts through forgiveness. Her expertise has been called upon numerous times around the globe. As an expert consultant, she has worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Dr. Borris is one of the few individuals that has been invited to give an address in front of the United Nations General Assembly on how to resolve international conflicts and gives presentations to the different missions and agencies regarding on the power of forgiveness and the healing of nations.

Currently, Dr. Borris is a faculty member at Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU and is president of Forgiveness International, a nonprofit organization which promotes political forgiveness. Dr. Borris has a private therapy practice which includes life coaching, seminars and workshops. She is also is available for speaking engagements on the psychological and spiritual power of forgiveness.

The Dalai Lama’s Thoughts On Forgiveness


DSC01191As I began developing my book “Finding Forgiveness” into an audio book I was reminded of the words that His Holiness the Dalai Lama shared in writing the foreword for “Finding Forgiveness.” Because of the profoundness of what he said I would like to share some of his beautiful words.

“In the course of our lives we often make misguided decisions that harm ourselves or others. We do this out of ignorance. We think that a certain mode of behavior will bring us happiness when in fact it brings us suffering. Feelings of self-righteous anger and the urge for revenge may sometimes lead us to harm others in the mistaken conviction that it will benefit us and bring us some form of happiness. Actually, it creates suffering not only for the victims of our deeds but also for us. However justified we may feel, doing others harm even in the name of revenge, severely disturbs our own peace of mind and creates conditions for our own suffering.”

Think about these wise words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. How many times have we gotten angry towards someone in our self-righteous anger wanted to lash out in some way. Our anger only affects ourselves, no one else. It has a negative impact on our health and over time creates suffering just for ourselves. This truly is like taking poison and hoping someone else will die.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in nine (9) foreign countries.  She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill). 

Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com  Twitter @ERBorris

Daniel Goleman, Peter Senge & Forgiveness



As I was working on my upcoming book “The Power Of Forgiveness and the Healing of Nations,” I was thinking about what Senge and Goleman has written about “The Triple Focus” skill set and how it applies to the healing of nations. They describe a new approach to education which focuses on a triple focus skill set, the “inner”, “other” and “outer.” I was very intrigued about this and began thinking how this can be applied to forgiveness especially in the healing of nations. This focuses on the inner healing of an individual,  the importance of relating to the “other,” in community and understanding the cause and effects of our behavior within the systems we operate in.

Within any forgiveness healing process we always have to focus within ourselves, our interior world to gain a greater understanding of who we are and why we feel the way we do. We have to know ourselves and heal those parts within ourselves which are causing pain. Once we have worked through those disturbing inner emotions we can move forward to the second skill, understanding the “other,” tuning into other people, or empathizing, being able to understand the psychological landscape of the “other” and not just coming from our own perspective.

This leads to the third skill or “outer” focus as described by Senge and Goleman. It involves a systems way of thinking which is the core of a political forgiveness process in the healing of nations. This skill set requires us to understand the way systems interact and effect one another. Sometimes these systems support structural violence which is so prevalent in the world today, and it can also support structures of peace which is the essence of a political forgiveness process.

It is important to understand systems and to use the knowledge gained to improve structures that will support peacebuilding. As Goleman and Senge have demonstrated there is an important synergy that happens between social and emotional learning which can be applied to the work of political forgiveness creating profound changes within a system. Once we realize the system, the cause and effects of our behavior we can use the insights gained to change our behavior supporting behaviors of forgiveness on a political level and creating a more peaceful world.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in nine (9) foreign countries.  She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill). 

Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com  Twitter @ERBorris

Neuroscience – Gun Control – Forgiveness


While doing research on neuroscience and forgiveness I came across a very interesting article written by Tim Philips, executive director of Beyond Conflict, on neuroscience and the gun control debate. As we go into this election year gun control is a very hot topic. What struck me about the article was a recognition of the role of sacred values. Sacred values are a set of values that individuals and groups hold dear to their sense of right and wrong. In a sense they become our North star. In many intractable conflicts around the world, groups fighting one another often are not recognizing or respecting the sacred values held by the “other” group and the fighting goes on.

So what does this have to do with gun control. It is called the 2nd Amendment right, a sacred value held by many Americans. We all have feelings around the right to bear arms. This is a value our country was founded on. We will fight for our sacred values and therefore fight for the right to bear arms. Interestingly research shows that sacred values actually have a biological basis in the brain. Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University has used neuroimagery technology to identify brain regions associated with sacred values and has found that sacred values are processed in a part of our brain which may cause us to react physically when a challenge is made to our sacred belief.

In walks the issue of gun control. The debate clearly gets juices flowing and according to research done by neuroscientists emotions and narratives must be part of the equation if we want the debate to move forward. So how can we address gun violence through the lens of sacred values? The dialogue needs to open up in a way where people feel safe and feel heard in talking about what is sacred to them. Everyone needs to truly listen to what is being said and to not feel that their identities are being threatened. Only when this happens can we bring the debate back to facts and figures. If we can recognize the powerful hold sacred values have on us and how this gets played out in the gun debate perhaps we can find a new approach to these polarizing conversations. Perhaps we can find a sacred value that supersedes our right to bear arms that we can all get around. If we can do this perhaps we have come a little closer to resolving our differences and in the process forgive ourselves for how hard we have been with one another and how difficult this journey has been.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in nine (9) foreign countries.  She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill). 

Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com  Twitter @ERBorris

Embracing Paris With Love



When confronted with violence and brutality many of us get overwhelmed with feelings of anger, hatred, fear, grief – feeling as though a cancer is spreading throughout humanity. It may feel as though humanity has plunged into the sea of darkness leaving us feel powerless and hopeless. There are many actions which will take place and need to take place. One action that we can all participate in is the remembrance of the power of forgiveness.

When I think of the power of forgiveness I am reminded of the phrase “father forgive them for they know not what they do.” This is a reminder of the infinite presence of love. This is not a love only for the few but a powerful healing –  in fact the only true power. It is the power which can give us hope. It is what can change consciousness for the betterment of human kind. Forgiveness is what endures. Forgiveness is what gets us to the place of love. Love heals all. This is what brings the healing of hatred, the healing of grief, and the healing of fear. Nothing can stop the power of forgiveness which is the power of love. Let us focus on this power which can free is from human strife. Let forgiveness touch our hearts so that we can be comforted and feel hope as we let its power move humanity.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in nine (9) foreign countries.  She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill). 

Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com  Twitter @ERBorris


Terror Brings out Different Leadership Styles: Body Language says it all, you can see it in their faces – Obama, King of Jordan, Hollande, and Putin

Jordan obamahollandePutin


How do the world leaders deal with terrorism? Clearly different strokes with different folks. President Obama, the King of Jordan, President Hollande and President Putin along with other leaders have been reacting to the attacks their countries face as a result of the actions of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Hamas.

Just within the past few weeks there have been attacks beginning with a downed jet in the Sinai, then in Lebanon, Paris, and now in Mali. We have to stop the bloodbath yet sometimes you need to take people out who are violent to stop the violence. Everyone agrees on that.

How can that be achieved is what leaders are grappling with. So how are our leaders standing up to this challenge.

At a recent news conference in Kosovo, King Abdullah of Jordan, said something that President Obama would never say by announcing that the world is now in a Third World War against humanity and this is what brings us all together.

The deadly attacks in Paris are part of it. King Abdullah calls out ISIS directly for the deaths they have caused and promised swift action against Islamic radicals.

“This is a war within Islam and unfortunately over 100,000 Muslim shave been murdered by Daesh (ISIS) alone over the past two years, and that doesn’t also count for the atrocities like minded-groups have also done in Africa and Asia. So therefore we must act fast and holistically to tackle the response to interconnected threats.”

French President Francois Hollande after the attack in Paris addressed a joint session of the French Parliament at Versailles. It is the third time since 1948 that a French president has done this. Hollande declared that France is at war and that the acts committed in Paris are acts of war. These acts caused 129 deaths and many injured.

“They constitute an attack on our country, against our values, against our young people and against our way of life. France is a country of freedom and the mother land of human rights. I felt that I should address the Parliament to show national unity in the face of such abomination.”

President Vladimir Putin of Russia probably has made the toughest statements. He is sending 150,000 soldiers to Syria to wipe out the evil Islamic State. He is mounting an enormous military mission to take control of the terror group’s stronghold of Raqqa, the self-declared capital of ISIS in Syria. Putin has hinted that he is ready to join forces with the west to tackle the Islamic State.

And then there is President Obama. Obama held a press conference during the G20 Summit in Turkey where he was asked repeatedly by reporters about the ISIS attack in Paris and was pressed on his failing strategy to destroy the terrorist group.

Obama became defensive with overtones of anger towards Republicans and reporters. NBC’s Chuck Todd observed that Obama didn’t channel what Todd thought a lot of Americans are feeling right now, a little bit of anger, a little bit of resolve and a little bit of resiliency.”

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America Obama commented

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength” Obama said of ISIS. “What is true, from the start of our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq and in Syria. They’ll come in and they’ll leave.”

These comments are clearly out of touch with what the world is witnessing.

What does this say about leadership around the world? Clearly King Abdullah doesn’t care about political correctness and is ready to destroy the Islamic state. He is a Muslim speaking out and has setup a huge refugee camp taking humanitarian actions. King Abdullah stepped out in front when ISIS shot down Jordanian aircraft putting his own life on the line because of what he believed, leading by example, not afraid to deal with ISIS, not a war monger nor forgetting the victims. People trust him to do the right thing.

Hollande has stepped up now that terrorism is in his own back yard. He is taking measureable steps in Syria, pledging support to fight ISIS and now sending in ground troops to assist Mali. He has closed his borders, found the mastermind and took the terrorists out in less than 72 hours.

Putin vows to take out ISIS and is filling the vacuum created due to lack of efforts by the US. He is motivated by power and self interest. He is decisive, committed but where is the compassion? What is Putin going to do about refugees? Is he now ready to possibly work with the west?

And what about Obama? What leadership qualities do we see from our president. From his comments about his strategy he has become defensive and testy when people comment that his strategy is not working. There is no strategy and a disconnection with what the world is experiencing. It is embarrassing to think that the leader of the free world has nothing more to offer.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in fifteen foreign countries. She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill).
Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com Twitter @ERBorris

Love is the Answer: A design for Living in Chaos – A Radical Path for Peace.

Love is the Answer

I always welcome opportunities to speak about forgiveness, something which is very near and dear to my heart. Tonight will be no exception. Because of my passion for the subject I have been writing and teaching about forgiveness for most of my adult life. This is what got me to write my first book Finding Forgiveness: A 7 Step Program for Letting go of Anger and Bitterness which focuses on personal forgiveness and now a second book The Power of Forgiveness and the Healing of Nations which focuses on political forgiveness.

There is a wonderful line from the movie The Bucket List which is; “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.” I would like to share a story with you which adds to the meaning of this reminder.  I was reading a wonderful book called “Into the Light” by Dr. John Lerma. Dr. Lerma, works in the hospice unit of Houston Medical Center and writes about ordinary people who selflessly shared their last days telling stories of their pre-death experiences. The messages which they wanted to share from their pre-death experiences were all the same. It didn’t matter if the person was a 9-year old boy, a murderer, a drug user, an atheist, or a Nazi, the stories were not only mystifying, but very healing and uplifting.

They all talked in depth about the importance for self-love and self-forgiveness and to have loving relationships while here on earth. They also brought home the message that what keeps us from experiencing unconditional love is the unhealed guilt which we carry within ourselves. The more we can heal our guilt and forgive ourselves and others, the more peacefully our lives will end. They too reminded us that everyone here has a purpose – which is to learn how to love unconditionally and to forgive – and that unconditional love and random acts of kindness raise the level of humanity and spiritual growth for all of us here on earth. Dr. Lerma’s conversation with his hospice patients, at the border between life and death, gives us all something to contemplate.

For those who have the courage to follow its path, forgiveness reminds us how to live with love in a world filled with guilt and fear. Gregg Braden, in his book, Walking Between the Worlds: The Science of Compassion (1997), eloquently describes the opportunity forgiveness brings to all of us. “Without exception, each event, every relationship, every love, and every betrayal that you have ever experienced has provided you key emotions and feelings leading to your mastery. How you perceive those emotions and feelings, how you define them in your life, is your way of training and teaching yourself, reminding yourself of the promise of forgiveness.”

We are the ones who determine how much anger and hatred we will experience in our lives,  as well as how much compassion and forgiveness we will extend to others. We have been given opportunities to hate and the wisdom to transcend our hate. Think of the personal power we must have to move beyond old choices and to respond to life from a place of spiritual wisdom. Our pain and suffering provide us with the chance to learn how to forgive and to know our truest, most beautiful nature. Forgiveness is the gift given to us to transcend our darkness and, like alchemy, turns darkness to gold.

Forgiveness is the hardest thing asked of us to do, yet forgiveness is extremely powerful. When given a structure and focus forgiveness becomes easier to accomplish than when we think of it conceptually. When thinking about a mountain it is hard to think of being on top. This is akin to thinking about the complexities of forgiveness; but if you saw the steps that get you to the top it becomes easier. As long as you think of your struggles with forgiveness it will have difficulties. If you have a simple structure anyone can do it.

There will always be people who have an agenda not to resolve conflict and who do not want to forgive. Those that do want to resolve conflict and who are open to forgiveness will know its power which is greater than the power of any nuclear force we know of today. Forgiveness definitely has the power to change the world in sometimes unimaginable ways.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in fifteen foreign countries. She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill). Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com Twitter

Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocast


I am writing this post in response to the Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust post on LinkedIn written by Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

Thank you for writing such beautiful words of profound wisdom. We need to remember how easily words of intolerance, words of aggression against any ethnic or religious group can take us down a path of destruction easily leading us to unspeakable atrocities against humanity.

Let us look for the good and the positive in each other for it is true that our thoughts become words which lead to the way we act which ultimately becomes ingrained in our character. We have choice. Let the angels of our better nature rule the day.

In the work that I do as a clinical and political psychologist I also understand the power of forgiveness on a personal and political level. Let us not forget this powerful healing mechanism that can transform humanity on all levels.

As we go about our daily lives, our greatest contribution is to watch our thoughts and guard against the thoughts of hatred and belittlement of others. This is where we should not have tolerance. Instead let us support the words of understanding, compassion and kindness towards our fellow citizens of this world. It will be these thoughts which lead to positive action and attitudes doing more to resolve conflict and restore a more peaceful world.

About The Author Dr. Eileen Borris is author of “Finding Forgiveness: A Seven Step Program of Letting Go of Anger and Bitterness” and the forthcoming book “The Power of Forgiveness and the Healing of Nations.” She is also a speaker and has spoken at the United Nations General Assembly on the power of forgiveness and the healing of nations and is president of Forgiveness International.

Picture Credit: photos8.com


The Psychology of a Terrorist


What makes terrorists tick – a real understanding of what drives terror

The Paris terrorist attacks have generated a wave of fear throughout the Western world. Fear has been compounded when it was discovered that at least one of the terrorists made his way to Paris using a Syrian passport and coming to the West as a refugee. This has created a knee-jerk reaction within the United States where some politicians are calling for the restriction of the Syrian refugee program to Christians, excluding Muslims. Governors in nearly 30 states from both parties – from Maine to Arizona – are saying that they will not take in Syrian refugees for fear of terrorists settling in their state.

The question that everyone is asking is what to do with the Syrian refugees? And perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps we need to think about what makes a terrorist?

Terrorists don’t start out being terrorists.

Some come from middle-class backgrounds with a good education. Many are Muslims who have seen time and again other Muslims being killed all over the world such as in Bosnia, Iraq, Syria or Kashmir. They begin to feel that the world has chosen one side and the terrorist will now choose their side. There have been many recruits who have never held a job, a position of power, or even a girl’s hand. When you offer a wife a salary and a pathway to have power, you have now created a situation which lures these young men toward radicalism.

These radical groups – ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, Hamas – are equal opportunity organizations and attract everything from the sadistic psychopath to the humanitarian to the idealistically driven. These individuals have a need to belong, at least in their eyes, to something special. People seek actions that give meaning for their life. Some are thrill-seeking and some are seeking redemption.  Some terrorists believe their reward lies in the afterlife. All are disconnected.

In a speech at the United Nations, anthropologist Scott Atran suggested that the only way to fight back against radicalization is to borrow psychological strategies straight out of ISIS’s playbook. Any successful plan must “offer youth something that makes them dream of a life of significance through struggle and sacrifice in comradeship.”

As more anthropologists and psychologists begin chipping away at what makes terrorists tick, perhaps a real understanding of what drives terror will help us combat it in the future and prevent these unspeakable tragedies.

Dr. Eileen Borris is a licensed psychologist and has conducted conflict resolution in nine (9) foreign countries.  She has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, appeared in numerous media interviews and is the author of the bestseller Finding Forgiveness (McGraw Hill). 

Contact Dr. Borris at DrEileen@DrEileenBorris.com  Twitter @ERBorris


It Can’t Happen Here – A Commentary on Donald Trump

In 1935 Sinclair Lewis wrote the novel, It Can’t Happen Here,” which imagined fascism coming to the US. The protagonist is Buzz Windrip, a populist demagogue who promises “to make America a proud rich land again.”


He punishes nations that defy him and raises wages while keeping prices very low. One cannot help but to draw parallels to Donald Trump. Windrip is a demagogic huckster, “an inspired guesser at what political doctrines the people would like” who understands how to manipulate the media and considers the truth an irrelevancy. His constituency of economically dispossessed white men reveres his xenophobic nationalism and preposterous promises. After he wins the 1936 election, Windrip moves to assert control over the press, lock up his opponents and put competent businessmen in charge of the country.

Although this is clearly a novel there is an important message that we all need to take stock of. If fascism comes to the US it would be an American version, not a European one, and that an American fascist leader would likely declare himself an opponent of European fascism, an important point we all need to understand. There are already signs of his fascism. His rallies teeter on the edge of racial violence as we have seen just recently as African-American protesters were forcibly ejected from his events with the help of white supremacist thugs. And if you look at who Trump admires most as leaders around the world, they are dictators and not the democrats.

Trump appears not to know much about totalitarianism, nor does he appear to be an anti-Semite. What he does represent is a reality television star and cyber-bully on his third trophy wife breaking down any moral order possibly remaining. He represents what autocratic attitudes look like in a modern American context.

Der Spiegel, the German magazine has called Trump the most dangerous man in the world – and he is. There have been calls from all around the world from a Swedish nationalist party that started as a neo-Nazis white supremacist group which has disavowed Trump to the popular author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling to stop this madness taking hold in America.

The American founders designed a constitution to prevent the exercise of tyrannical power. They could never have dreamt up a situation we are living in today. What Donald Trump has done is create an America many of us thought we didn’t live in. We all need to wake up because the worse can happen here, and it might if we don’t take responsibility for the country we truly want to have.