IBREA started off 2016 with a conference in the United Nations Headquarters, on Tuesday, January 12th. The event was co-sponsored by Brain World magazine and the Permanent Missions of Liberia and El Salvador to the United Nations. Also in attendance were His Excellency Mr. Oh Joon, the President of ECOSOC (the UN’s Economic and Social Council); H.E. Mr. Vandi Chidi Minah, the Deputy Permanent Representative from Sierra Leone; Dr. Vivian Pender, the Chair of the Committee on Mental Health; Anna Falth, a representative from Empower Women (facilitated by UN Women); and renowned neuroscientist Dr. Ekhonon Goldberg.
The topics discussed were holistic education, women, and the brain. Often the three topics merged into one as the speakers explored the connections and possibilities. Ju Eun Shin, director of IBREA Foundation, spoke about brain education and its power to help people believe in themselves. IBREA screened testimonial videos from El Salvador that showed Laura, a young girl who is a perfect example of the efficacy of teaching your brain to believe in itself through holistic education. Anna Falth spoke of women empowering themselves through social media, where they realized they could have their own voices and tell their own stories. A testimonial video from Liberia spoke to the disadvantages women face and how brain education can combat some of the false preconceptions that cause these inequalities. Those attending the conference also gained a neurological perspective on gender equality. Dr. Goldberg shared his knowledge on the human brain, explaining that generally the male and female brain exhibit subtle structural differences but that it is hard to make functional inferences from these observations. The differences that do exist in no way indicate that one sex is superior to the other.
No matter who was speaking, there was a dominant feeling of hope. Though all countries have a long way to go when it comes to gender equality, there is always something positive we can observe. By focusing on the bright side, we can see what methods are working and try to learn from the successes of fellow countries and organizations. This conference highlighted that brain education is a highly transferrable and flexible tool that allows development and change to have a greater impact.