Program in Human Security and Inner Development (PHUSID)

Bridging human security, international development, and contemplative practice, the Program in Human Security and Inner Development (PHUSID) is built on the belief that only by deeply understanding our capacities and limitations can we be forces for good in an increasingly complex and conflictual world.  

PHUSID aims to build a new generation of sustainable change professionals by promoting the adoption and exploration of a reflexive inner-development practice—an essential skill for human security practitioners. These skills are especially critical in violent or fragile contexts with a high incidence of trauma and mistrust. Unless practitioners can honestly assess their own role and biases, they are unlikely to be effective agents of human security. They also need to tend to their own mental and emotional well-being when working and living in difficult conditions.  

The program is inspired by the Inner Development Goals (IDGs) initiative from the Ekskäret Foundation founded by Tomas Björkman. The IDGs are an ongoing co-creation process that emerged in 2020 as a complement to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

PHUSID hosted the following events in the 2021-2022 academic year: 

  • Workshop: Co-Creating a Path to Inner Development Goals 
  • Advanced Skills Workshop: Resolving Conflict with Empathy with Matt Waldman, Senior Adviser at the European Institute of Peace and founding Director of the Center for Empathy in International Affairs 
  • Streaming Event: Inaugural IDG Summit  
  • Elevating Development: Leading in the Field with Peace Corps Regional Director Mike McCabe 

What are the Inner Development Goals? 

At their core, the IDGs are a framework of transformative skills that promote inner growth and development with the aim of reaching the ambitious targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The IDGs consist of five categories and 23 skills that are essential to the success of human security and international development practitioners. The five categories are: 

  • Being – Relationship to Self: Cultivating our inner life and developing and deepening our relationship to our thoughts, feelings and body help us be present, intentional and non-reactive when we face complexity. 
  • Thinking—Cognitive Skills: Developing our cognitive skills by taking different perspectives, evaluating information and making sense of the world as an interconnected whole is essential for wise decision-making. 
  • Relating—Caring for Others and the World: Appreciating, caring for and feeling connected to others, such as neighbors, future generations or the biosphere, helps us create more just and sustainable systems and societies for everyone. 
  • Collaborating—Social Skills: To make progress on shared concerns, we need to develop our abilities to include, hold space and communicate with stakeholders with different values, skills and competencies. 
  • Acting—Driving Change: Qualities such as courage and optimism help us acquire true agency, break old patterns, generate original ideas and act with persistence in uncertain times.