Program in Human Security and Contemplative Practice (PHSCP)

The Program in Human Security and Contemplative Practice (PHSCP) is a joint initiative of the Leir Institute at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and the Masters in Human Security at Aarhus University (Denmark). It is inspired by  Otto Scharmer’s work on Ego-to-Eco System and work done by the Presencing Institute, as well as the Inner Development Goals (IDGs) co-creation initiative from the Ekskäret (Oaktree) 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).

The PHSCP is about contributing to the IDGs and acceleration of the SDGs by amalgamating human security studies, contemplative science, and international development studies and practice and fostering a new generation of sustainable change professionals.  In essence, the PHSCP adds inner-directed leadership to the four external dimensions of sustainable development – society, environment, culture, and economy – which are intertwined, not separate. Sustainability is the paradigm underlying the SDGs towards a future in which environmental, societal, and economic considerations are balanced in the pursuit of an improved quality of life.

The idea behind Scharmer’s work and the IDGS is that inner development practice and skills are essential parts of the leadership in action for societal change: only by understanding ourselves and our own capacities and limitations can we be forces of good in an increasingly complex and conflictual world. 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. 

PHSCP is envisioned as a two-year program that will consist of co-curricular activities such as events, lectures, workshops, trainings, and literature reviews that familiarize students with Contemplative Practice and associated skills. Students will gain a more comprehensive view of their abilities by participating in interactive exercises and learning from experts and practitioners already working in the field. Through this experience, students will build unique skills that will make them more resilient and effective in assisting vulnerable populations.