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2012 Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge

directors and collaborators

Annual Report
ISHK History: 1969- present
Directors, Advisors & Staff

About ISHK

The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK) is an educational institution dedicated to bringing important research on human nature to the general public.

ISHK takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the questions of who we are, where we came from, and what we might become. ISHK programs highlight contributions from contemporary psychology, education, anthropology, medicine, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and ecology — as well as from traditional systems of knowledge and learning with ancient roots.

ISHK directors and collaborators have included many leading thinkers of our time and pioneers in their fields: Doris Lessing, Jonas Salk, Robert Ornstein, Idries Shah, Rene Dubos, Paul Ehrlich, James Burke, Edward T. Hall, Hans Selye, William Dement, Philip Zimbardo, and many others.

For more than 40 years, ISHK's publishing, book distribution, and educational programs have been reaching thousands of professional and lay persons, contributing to important shifts in public attitudes and policies. Aided by ISHK programs, the role of the mind in health is now an integral part of medical education and health care. Many educators and public policy makers now recognize the need to train more flexible ways of thinking and responding if mankind is to adapt successfully to the challenges of the modern world.

In the aftermath of tragedies such as Columbine, educators and child psychologists emphasize that such training needs to be part of early education. ISHK is now focusing on publishing and educational programs for teachers and children at the elementary and middle school levels.

ISHK was incorporated in 1969 as a 501c(3) charitable educational organization.

ISHK Highlights:

Books for Afghanistan Program: We provide bilingual Dari and Pashto Hoopoe titles, audio readings of them and classroom Teacher Guides to schools, orphanages and libraries throughout Afghanistan.

New World New Mind: Are humanity's crises products of a mind evolved for a world long gone? The landmark book by biologist Paul Ehrlich and psychologist Robert Ornstein is now available for download in Adobe PDF.

Focus on 9/11 and Beyond: ISHK stresses the need for greater understanding of the psychological impact of this and subsequent events, and a need for better understanding of other cultures and religions, and how these came about. Our cross-cultural studies include the rich cultural heritage of Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Human Journey: Our new Human Journey website explores some of humanity's most crucial questions: How did our myths about ourselves arise? What tendencies made us select and cling to the stories we chose to represent our "history"? Are there patterns running through these histories that we can learn to recognize from exposure to psychology, both traditional and contemporary?

We are updating the site regularly in the light of new, exciting research. Please visit the site for new updates:

The California Learning Resource Network ( has accepted the Human Journey website as an Electronic Learning Resource during the summer of 2011.

Teaching Storiestm and the Brain: A form of literature little-known in the West but common in Afghanistan can help develop thinking skills and perceptions. Read highlights from a Library of Congress lecture by ISHK President, Robert Ornstein.

Children's Literacy: Responding to deep cuts in education budgets, ISHK partners with corporate and other co-funders to donate books to literacy programs nationwide.

All About Me: A new series, now in development, will teach middle-school students about their human nature. Through reading, activities and discussions they will learn to understand and appreciate the power of unconscious mechanisms in their thoughts, emotions and behavior and, as a result, develop more flexibility, confidence and control.

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