Nepal and a World Without Anger: How Is It Possible?

Happening Issue 96 Jul, 2010
Text by Dean Van Leuven

From the beginning of time humans have dreamed about living in a peaceful world. To most of us we seem no better off than we were 2,600 years ago when Lao Tse, the creator of the Tao, said, “To have Peace in the World we must have Peace in our hearts.” Actually he put his finger on the answer. When we are ready to recognize that truth, we can find that elusive Peace at last.

Modern Scientific Research tells us that it is possible if we learn the principles and the process. We can learn to no longer respond in anger or fear in situations where we have responded that way in the past.  The problem then lies not in overcoming our human nature because our basic nature is to seek and give love, but in learning how we can actually achieve that in our life by solving the problems that life presents us in more effective ways.  People who live happy, loving and peaceful lives aren’t just lucky. They have learned and implemented many of these principles in their lives.

Those principles and processes have been developed into a training curriculum that can be taught as a part of the educational process. The teaching of this curriculum is being implemented worldwide as an educational program through the World Emotional Literacy League based in Eugene, Oregon USA.  

Why Nepal?
Nepal has a unique history of being able to resolve conflict in a more peaceful manner than other societies.  At the request of local citizens Nepal was chosen at the first country to implement this revolutionary new concept.  The program was established initially in Kathmandu in 2007 through SEWA-Nepal, which has now changed its name to World Without Anger to reflect its broader world purpose.  D.M. Basnet is the head of the organization, Dr M..P. Regmi is Chief Advisor, and Dr Laxman Shakya is Senior Program Coordinator. The board of directors and advisory committee includes fifteen professional and business people in the community. Almost 400 students have been educated in the Life Without Anger Training Program so far, and it continues to expand as it has developed a formal working relationship with Lumbini Buddhist University, and an informal working relationship with UNESCO.

What is emotional literacy?
Emotional Literacy consists of learning how our mind and emotions function, learning how to control that process, and how to make more effective choices.  Once we learn and use this process we are able to make more effective choices in our personal life as well as for our community, our nation, and for the world.  Just as we learn reading, writing and mathematics, this process is learnable.

Historically our schools have focused on intellectual training and neglected emotional training. The intellectual training has transformed our world economically but the lack of emotional training has left us with a world society still in the emotional “dark ages”. WWA’s programs help each individual to be successful in school, in the workplace, in society, in the world, and in life. WWA’s goals are to provide training in all aspects of society, such as parenting, community groups, government, and other service organizations.

The World Without Anger project in Nepal
The purpose of this project is to create a culture that will not only allow individuals to lead a more effective and rewarding life but will ultimately evolve into world peace. Our plan is to expand this project to other countries through the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other organizations that are concerned with the improvement of our world society. The project is being carried out in Nepal by World Without Anger (WWA).

WWA’s initial program is presented as a  ‘Life Without Anger Emotional Training’ program, offered in schools at the higher secondary level. This program is being expanded to all levels of our society beginning with the home and community. The goal is to provide emotional training to transform negative emotions into positive emotions for all aspects of our society.

WWA is now in the process of introducing the Emotional Literacy program in all schools in Nepal after completing pilot projects in six different schools. So that everyone will be able to learn from this training, WWA is working closely with the Ministry of Education and other government agencies, and also private school associations to carry out its mission. WWA plans to expand its programs so that Emotional Literacy training will be available and can be utilized by every individual in Nepal.

WWA programs create emotional literacy by teaching individuals how their mind functions so that they are able to develop new ways of recognizing and resolving problems; and how to make different and more effective choices when they face the day to day problems that make their lives more difficult. Society evolves and life improves for individuals as they learn new skills. Emotional literacy helps us to advance personally and as a society just as the ability to read and do mathematics does. Nepal is the first country in the world to introduce this training on a national level.  Nepal will be a model for the world.

Examples of what students and teachers have to say about the Life Without Anger Educational Program
“This is to express my warm feelings about the classes introduced with the theme of ‘Life Without Anger’ in our institute. Anger is a very natural emotion of we human beings and to even spend a day without emoting anger may seem impossible. But when I see my pupils reacting positively to this class I definitely feel that there is a hope of Life Without Anger in near future. Old and Young should attend the classes and lectures on Life Without Anger.” (Manju Karki Lamichhane, Founder Principal, Future Stars High School)

“The anger and emotion in negative aspect has leaded an individual, a society, a nation and entire world to disrupt, upset mode. To overcome this, it is proper management and modification that may be a better fact to achieve peace, harmony in all the people. It may be a way of social transformation in a positive way. So that an individual becomes stress less, progressive and positive by eliminating negative emotions and angers. To implement this in Nepal, SEWA Nepal has through a visionary plan and with the wisdom of Dr Dean Van Leuven. I, myself a teacher on Kathmandu’s Don Bosco Higher Secondary School feel proud being a part of it, which has enabled me the modification and transformation of myself and transferring it to my young children at my school, Kathmanudu  Don Bosco.” (Khyam Nath Timsina, Kathmandu Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, New Baneshwor, Kathmandu)

“It is a matter of great pleasure to be a part of SEWA-Nepal exchanging the views among each other. We are achieving wonderful experiences through the interaction with learned personnel. Those ideas which we are gaining will be exchanged with classmates and society members to build up a prosperous nation with the peaceful and joyful life of every individual. Dr. Dean Van Leuven and the SEWA-Nepal family are the sources of inspiration for the elimination of fear and anger, who always aimed to convert anger, the enemy of peace, prosperity and development, into strength to balance the emotional and mental feelings. Hope we will be able to utilize this golden opportunity to the fullest.” (Chhabi Khadka, Student, Kathmandu Don Bosco Higher Secondary School New Baneshwor,  Kathmandu, Nepal)

Special Project: Drop-In Centers to bring Children out of Indentured Servitude
At the request of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, World Emotional Literacy League has developed curriculum to teach the concepts and emotional skills necessary for effective early childhood emotional development, including relationship and conflict resolution skills. This program will be conducted by the personnel of World Without Anger who will train and work with teachers and aides in the center to learn the skills necessary for effective teaching of these concepts to students in the five drop-in centers operated by KMC.  WWA will continue to work with teachers to evaluate and adapt the program in the most effective way.

The Peace Center at the Center for Spiritual Living in Eugene announces the City of Kathmandu Drop-in-Centers project. Due to poverty Nepal has a very high proportion of children involved in child labor. At this time there are about 2 million out of 4.9 million children working.  Educational development is a crucial strategy to reduce the problem of poverty and child labor in Nepal which is why the City of Kathmandu’s Drop-In Centers are needed. The purpose of each Drop-in Center is to provide the education that will allow children serving as indentured servants to become free of their servitude.

The Center keeps them a minimum of one year and then encourages the children to attend schools or skill development centers.  If the children are over aged, they motivate them to choose a skills development training course after getting some knowledge from the center. If the children are 8-13 years, the center motivates them to enter regular schooling at the expense of the Centers. The teachers and volunteers job is to make literate and promote the children’s educational career.

Special Project: Medical uses
Concerned about the role that anger and stress have in heart ailments the Nepal Heart Foundation, and the Heart Club Nepal of Lalitpur invited World Without Anger (WWA) to present a paper on Emotional Intelligence entitled ‘Welcome to a new life’.  More than 50 cardiologist doctors were present and discussed the subject matter in the program. Mr Shaligram Bhattarai, Advisor/Expert/Psychologist presented the paper in June 2009.

First Conference on Emotional Intelligence

The first Conference on Emotional Intelligence was held in August 2009, in Kathmandu. Papers were presented on emotional intelligence conducted in schools and the workplace in Nepal. The conference was attended by researchers, delegates from UNESCO Nepal, University Professors, guardians, students, teachers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and school administrators and teachers.

The objective of the conference was to establish a credible knowledge base that provides emotional intelligence for all students and people in the work situation, including banking and business. Emotional Intelligence (EI) widens student’s potential, guarantees independence and develops better character and personality. The recent conference provided a forum to propagate the results of the emotional awareness research performed by WWA. It emphasized the skills to apply our knowledge of emotions at work, at home, in school, in social ceremonies and in public.

The author, Dean Van Leuven, is founder of World Emotional Literacy League and founding patron of World Without Anger in Nepal. He can be contacted at The goal of WWA in Nepal is to provide teacher training enabling the city of Kathmandu to serve 250 children in five different centers. To learn more about the ‘World Without Anger Emotional Literacy Program visit or on the web. See also