International recognition for Acem Meditation and stress research
“His rigorous research and compassionate practice [have] transformed the lives of people across the world.” These words were pronounced when the founder of the Acem School of Meditation Professor Are Holen (pictured at the ceremony above) was appointed honorary doctor of The Open University (OU) outside London on 22 September 2018.
OU is one of Europe’s largest universities, with over 170,000 students and extensive research activities. The university was established by British authorities in 1969 to strengthen the modernization of Britain and contribute to increased equality in education.
More than 2,200 people were present at the event. They were informed that “Professor Holen is one of the world’s foremost experts on post-traumatic stress,” and that he “has brought the benefits of meditation to millions of people, helping them to calmer and healthier lives. … We increasingly recognise that mental wellbeing is as important as physical health, and huge numbers of people around the world have turned to meditation as a self-administered approach to offer a light in times of darkness. Their improved health and happiness is thanks, in no small part, to the pioneering work of Professor Holen.”
It was also emphasized that Professor Holen has “made a significant contribution to individual and social recovery after some of the most tragic events in recent memory, including the capsized oil rig in the North Sea in 1980, the 9/11 attacks, the Boxing Day tsunami, and the Oslo bombing and shootings.”
Furthermore, attention was drawn to the fact that the teaching of Acem Meditation is done by volunteers in a worldwide non-profit organization, and that the technique is based on “psychology and physiology, rather than religious and ideological beliefs.” The method “has been scientifically shown to reduce blood pressure, strengthen the immune system and improve concentration.” Its positive effects on stress and sleep quality were also mentioned, as were “personal awareness, reflection and growth.”
Are Holen, MD Phd, is Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. A physician who also holds a degree in psychology, he specializes in psychiatry and psychotherapy. He founded the Acem School of Meditation in 1966. For several years, he was head of the international organization, in which he still serves as chief lecturer and training supervisor. In 2014, His Majesty the King of Norway appointed Professor Holen an Officer of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav for his services to society and humanity, including his work in Acem.
Photos: Anders Nesvold
Copy editor: Ann Kunish