COMMON BOND INSTITUTE (CBI) is a non-profit, Non-Governmental Organization that works to increase skills and services locally to promote social healing and conflict transformation, explore human consciousness and relationship dynamics, and expand public dialogue and awareness of critical issues. Since 1990 CBI has been organizing and sponsoring numerous international, inter-disciplinary conferences, as well as professional training and treatment programs for local capacity building in human services and civil society in developing societies that are regions of conflict, and related research.
Cultivating the fundamental elements of a consciousness of peace and local capacity building are seen as natural, effective antidotes to hardship and suffering in the human condition, large group despair, and small group radical extremism. To this end, enabling each society to effectively resolve and transform conflicts, satisfy core human needs within their communities, and construct effective, holistic mechanisms for self-determination, self-esteem, and fundamental human dignity and worth is the purpose of its work. CBI’s efforts, and particularly conferences, are designed to be action oriented, living laboratories for creating and participating in deep, authentic community as a common ground of reference for exploring core themes and integrating formal learning into practical applications.
CBI is grounded in the application of humanistic psychology’s principles in it’s commitment to capacity building at both the grass roots and social institutional level; providing the individual in society with practical skills and visions for transforming conflict in their daily lives. It is by design highly collaborative and actively forms strategic alliances and partnerships with organizations, groups, and individuals dedicated to nurturing relationships locally and globally in creating and promoting an authentic world culture of peace.
CBI is one of 40 worldwide humanitarian NGO’s selected to be highlighted by a chapter dedicated to it in a book on “The New Humanitarians” by Dr. Chris Stout. Along with it’s founding director, CBI is the institutional recipient of the 2011 Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award from the American Psychological Association for outstanding and lasting contribution to humanistic psychology internationally, and is an official partner of the Parliament of World’s Religions and the Charter For Compassion.
Among 55 + international professional conferences organized since 1990:
- In 1992 CBI established and for 15 years co-sponsored the Annual International Conference On Conflict Resolution (ICR), in Russia. This widely endorsed, multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural conference bringing together participants from around the world to share theory and practical skills in conflict transformation and healing, and create invaluable networking opportunities to promote collaboration. The ICR Conference was established in partnership with HARMONY Institute, a premier Russian psychological institute in St. Petersburg, and endorsed by over 100 universities and organizations internationally.
- In 2004 CBI established and co-sponsored the International Youth Conference On “The Ecology Of War And Peace” (EWP), in Russia, held in collaboration with HARMONY Institute, the Jane Goodall Institute, and the International Humanistic Psychology Association. The EWP Conference has brought together youth from various societies for an experience utilizing ecology and environmental consciousness as a common link to then address issues of negative stereotypes, prejudice, and the demonization and dehumanization of individuals and groups.
- In 2006 CBI established and sponsors the Annual International Conference On “Engaging The Other: The Power Of Compassion,“ (ETO), in the US, to promote a wider public dialogue to reduce and transform fear-based belief systems, negative stereotyping, and prejudice that lead to dehumanizing and demonizing others, polarization, and hostility, and to apply results to current world relationships. The ETO Conference is held in conjunction with an edited book in progress addressing concepts of “The Other” from a cross-cultural, multidisciplinary perspective. The basis of the book project is a chapter contributed by CBI’s director to an edited book titled “The Psychology of Terrorism” by Dr. Chris Stout
- In 2009 CBI established and for 5 years sponsored the Annual International Conference On Religion, Conflict, And Peace” (RCP), in the US, promoting Inter-religious and Intra-religious dialogue to explore the challenges of intolerance, polarization, and scapegoating, and the promise of reason, understanding, compassion, and cultural harmony.
- In 2011 CBI established and sponsored the International Conference On Transforming Conflict (TC), in Jordan, focusing on collaborative skills in nonviolent interpersonal communication, decision making, teamwork, leadership, negotiation, problem solving, mediation, and sustainable reconciliation.
- In 2011 CBI established and sponsored the International Conference On Practical Models For Peace (PMP), in Israel, to highlight and support existing successful Middle East peace building programs.
- In 2012 CBI established and each year sponsors the Annual International Conference On Transgenerational Trauma (TT), held each fall, in Jordan, addressing the dynamics of inherited, unresolved communal trauma, developing new practical models and methods for healing at the societal level, and as a regular meeting place for a transgenerational trauma research network.
- In 2016 CBI established and sponsored the International Conference on Refugee Crisis in Europe and the Middle East (RC), 1st held in Germany, as a working conference for organizations and individuals engaged in assisting refugees in Europe and the Middle East. The purpose is to share lessons learned and proven methods for humanitarian aid to refugees, formulate recommendations for policy makers, and develop an international network for increased coordination and collaboration in effectively integrating refugees into host societies.
- In 2018 CBI and IHPA partnered with Michigan State University Dept. of Psychiatry to hold the International Muslim Mental Health Conference, in Jordan. The MMH Conference was first established by Dr. Farha Abbasi and has been successfully conducted by MSU for 15 years in the US, gaining increasing support and participation, focusing on public education, assessment, treatment, prevention, and resilience-building both individually and communally for faith communities. In 2018 the conference extended internationally for the first time to be held in Jordan.
PSYCHOSOCIAL TRAININGS and DIRECT SERVICES:
CBI has provided local capacity building skills training and direct service programs for vulnerable populations since 1990. These programs are based on the Catastrophic Trauma Recovery (CTR) model.
The integrated CTR Model is based on a Whole-Person approach, and was developed by CBI Director Steve Olweean near the end of the Balkans Wars as a guide for programs assisting large populations of victims of catastrophe, particularly violence and war in regions of conflict where the internal support systems have been debilitated by catastrophe. Over the years this model has been used to provide intensive trainings to counselors and relief workers in the Middle East, Balkans, Caucuses, and Russia, building local teams of qualified trainers and practitioners to expand the training pool and eventually take on full operation of the program locally.
The CTR model is described in a chapter [“When Society Is The Victim”] in Dr. Stanley Krippner’s 2003 landmark book published by Preager/Greenwood publishers: “The Psychological Impact of War Trauma on Civilian Populations,“ and is the basis for CBI’s human service and local capacity building training programs serving at-risk communities in regions of conflict.
The comprehensive, whole-person oriented SHC program is based on the CTR model and operated by CBI and it’s partners. It is a comprehensive, integrated, collaborative, and fundamentally sustainable humanitarian assistance program that taps into the talent resources within the service community itself – building local capacity and leadership for healing, recovery, and empowerment, while advancing the human service and educational system for the society in general. It offers a creative and effective model that can be replicated for addressing massive social hardship and immediate demand for assistance when the human service infrastructure of a society is overwhelmed due to being ether underdeveloped or profoundly undermined due to war and violence.
The SHC Program currently operates to equip hundreds of local students, professionals, NGO staff, relief workers, and volunteers with culturally adapted psychosocial skills to treat members of massive traumatized and displaced refugee communities, provide local universities with practical field work missing from their human service programs, help qualify a growing pool of licensed professional practitioners capable of serving their society, and help develop the local human service system.
Trainings are provided both on-site in the region and via regular, live virtual training classes conducted by the expert training faculty of CBI’ and it’s partners, in cooperation with a consortium of universities and professional training institutes. On-going supervised field experience and follow up supervision, consultation, and networking is offered to all trainees by training teams, and trainees have access to an expanding virtual resource library of training and professional education materials.
Components of the SHC Training Program include:
Certified community-based training in proven, culturally adapted psychosocial intervention and treatment skills provided to local students, NGO staff, and qualified members of the local society who commit to using skills to assist refugees and vulnerable members of their communities.
- Psychosocial Specialty Training for Medical Students and Practitioners
An unprecedented practical training program provided to Jordanian medical schools, preparing local medical practitioners with skills that range from basic evaluation and interventions skills for general practitioners to higher level psychiatric specialty skills, in partnership with Common Bond Institute, Michigan State University Dept. of Psychiatry, International Humanistic Psychology Association, and Jordanian medical schools.
- Certified Diploma in Clinical Social Work:
A Certified Practical Diploma, in partnership with Yarmouk University, Queen Rania Center, Michigan State University, and the Jordanian Ministry of Higher Education, equipping Jordanian, Syrian, Palestinian, and Iraqi students enrolled at Yarmouk University in Jordan with practical psychosocial service skills enabling them to provide direct services to refugees and under-served populations in their communities. The diploma program is linked to efforts of CBI and it’s partners to develop the Clinical Social Work discipline in Jordan.
- Psychosocial Training for Clergy and Religious Teachers
(developed by Dr. Farha Abbasi, Michigan State University):
In direct partnership with Michigan State University, Dept. of Psychiatry and Dr. Abbasi, providing information on psychosocial symptoms, basic responses and counseling skills, learning when a professional therapist is needed, consultation on unique psychosocial situations and issues clergy are presented with.
- Bi-Regional Cross-Training Project:
A Bi-Regional collaboration between professional groups in the Middle East and in societies hosting refugees outside the region to provide cultural competency and culturally adapted psychosocial treatment services to the refugee population in each region.
Components of the SHC Service Programs include:
Disaster Health Care Field Clinics:
Providing emergency psychosocial, medical, and dental treatment to Syrian refugees in Jordan, coordinating follow-up care to existing and developing local services, while providing supervised field experience to trainees using skills learned in the SHC training program to build local capacity for sustained services.
Community Based Treatment Services:
- Center for Healing and Renewal
A comprehensive community mental health based service and intentional supportive community offering a broad range of interrelated activities housed within a positive, stable residential environment to assist refugee widows and their children in trauma recovery and preparing them for moving forward with their lives. The goal is to promote healing, empowerment, independence, and a self-help community.
- Womens Safe Spaces:
A community-based day project established at partner NGO sites in Jordan addressing the needs of vulnerable refugee women and girls for a safe place where they can gather to feel safe, comfortable, and supported, receive psycho-social healthcare services, receive coping skills training, meet basic personal needs, and regain dignity and confidence.
- Trauma-Informed Schools
Integrating trauma healing, recovery, and resilience building for Syrian refugee and at-risk children and their families into the regular school setting.
- Youth and Community Resilience Building
Bolstering and nourishing the internal resources and capacity for healing of refugee children, their families, and the community in general by providing beneficial and nourishing experiences of nature, recreation, joy, cultural cohesiveness, celebration, and self-confidence in support of our trauma treatment services.
Capacity For Peace and Democracy:
Programs assisting universities and NGOs in developing societies to establish and develop practical skills training programs in conflict transformation and civil society to assist in preparing local future civil leaders and professionals skilled in resolving conflicts and advancing their communities.
RESEARCH, THEORY, and APPLICATION
A virtual professional journal of the International Humanistic Psychology Association serving as a vehicle for making leading edge work in this field readily available to the professional and lay public, and linking like-purposed colleagues and organizations to promote cooperation. The journal is linked to the global research network and the Annual International Conference on Transgenerational Trauma.
Trauma Research Network
A collaborative initiative to promote concerted cross-cultural research and study of the dynamics of Transgenerational Trauma – inherited unresolved communal trauma into future generations, the implications for historical, present, and future relations between communities, particularly war and violence, communal wounds and victim identities, and the development of new models and methods for healing communal trauma to prevent it’s transfer as fuel for current and future animosity. The research network is linked to the International Journal of Communal and Transgenerational Trauma and the Annual International Conference on Transgenerational Trauma to advance sharing research, education, public awareness and understanding, consultation to governments and community leaders, and the development of effective, culturally appropriate healing models and methodologies.
All CBI service and training programs, conferences, and research are integrated and programmatically linked to build on each other, and on partnering programs, to maximize the progress and products of each initiative or event and promote an expanding network of social activists and healers for greater mutual benefit. As a result, outcomes have emerged synergistically over it’s history to generate innovative collaborative projects and partnerships, some created and operated directly by CBI and it’s partners, and others created by inspired participants of our conferences. An overall goal is to build local capacity for healing and resilience, collectively raise the level, depth, and breadth of public awareness and public dialogue on vital issues, and foster proactive networks to create practical strategies and policies for applying results in advancing a global culture of peace.
Our Style and Commitment
Cultivating compassion and a consciousness of peace through local capacity building for social healing and conflict transformation are seen as natural, effective antidotes to hardship and suffering, large group despair, and small group radical extremism. To this end, enabling societies to satisfy core human needs within their communities, effectively resolve and transform conflicts, and construct effective, holistic mechanisms for self determination, self esteem, and fundamental human dignity and worth that strengthen current and future generations, is the purpose of our work.
By design, our efforts are fundamentally collaborative for a larger impact. CBI works to actively form strategic alliances with organizations, groups, and individuals dedicated to nurturing global relationships as a whole in creating and promoting social healing and conflict transformation. We maintain an expanding global network of partner groups and organizations that cooperate in pulling the requisite pieces together to create and operate programs, while minimizing the drain on individual group resources.
Local capacity building: For more than 3 decades CBI and it’s partner organizations have organized and conducted disaster health care field clinics and community-based psychosocial pilot service projects in communities devastated by war and violence. Central to this work is building a growing and sustainable local pool of psychosocial direct service providers to expand on and sustain these services through providing extensive skills training programs.
Intentional Community: Our conferences, are designed to be living laboratories for participating in deep, authentic community as a common ground of reference for exploring core themes and integrating formal learning. Creating an atmosphere of trust where individuals can engage in genuine, compassionate dialogue across stereotypes and fear-based beliefs is meant to promote carrying such a space into daily life to nurture a common wisdom, common sense of belonging, and common bond.
The character of our programs offers a microcosm of the larger, diverse, global community for a first hand experience of moving beyond artificial barriers and blind spots to the reality of what is both possible and practical. This purposeful use of intentional community is a central element of our work. It assumes the basic drive/ need for integration through inter-connectedness and belonging that can be nurtured to develop conscious intent toward harmony and peace in our relationships.
Personal empowerment, compassion, and the role of the individual in society at both the local and the global level in addressing the human condition are central to our commitment and our work. In acknowledgement of decades of dedication to this CBI and it’s founding director, Steve Olweean , are recipients of the 2011 Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award from the American Psychological Association for outstanding and lasting contribution to Humanistic Psychology internationally.