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In a year characterized by racial injustice, political polarization and economic uncertainty, not to mention an ongoing pandemic, it's going to take a lot more than a motivational poster of a sunrise to inspire the world toward unity. For genuine change to occur, we need to move past platitudes, and rekindle compassion through community and conversation.

Recognizing this global need, Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) launched the Forgiveness Forum, a new series of timely virtual conversations set to kick off on December 16, 2020. The events will explore how forgiveness can be used as a tool for personal growth and global healing by not only clarifying how forgiveness and justice — two seemingly disparate processes — can exist side by side, but also looking at the surprising science behind the physical and mental health benefits that forgiveness holds.

Right out of the gate, the Forum has secured a powerful line-up with The Elders, an exemplary group of politicians, peacemakers, and influencers who model forgiveness and work together for peace, justice and human rights. Speakers for the inaugural event will include three members of The Elders:

  • Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia and recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Zeid Raad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Jordanian Ambassador to the United States.

"Forgiveness and reconciliation are fundamental to the process of peace making and peace building," says President Santos.

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Most of us are our own worst critics. We bully ourselves when we fall short of perfection, carry around past regrets, and refuse to let ourselves off the hook for any transgressions.

Unless this cycle is stopped, it can lead to persistent self-inflicted suffering. Studies show that those who have a hard time forgiving themselves are more likely to experience heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, and addiction.

Fred Luskin, PhD, director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, told Prevention there are four things that are hardest for people to forgive themselves for:

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Starbucks Upstanders Season 2

27 years ago, Debbie Baigrie was shot in the face during an attempted robbery. Her assailant was a 13-year-old boy.

Ian Manuel was the youngest of three boys who threatened Baigrie that night, but despite his age, he was the one holding the gun.

Ian Manuel in grade school. All photos provided by Starbucks.

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#WhoWeAre

In February 1993, Mary Johnson was at work when she got the horrible news: Her son, Laramiun, had been murdered.

He'd been at a party when a fight broke out, and he wound up dead.

The killer? A 16-year-old boy named Oshea Israel.

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