The Meditating President: Joachim Chissano of Mozambique In 1992, after decades of devastating civil war, Joachim Chissan, head of the victorious side, assumed the office of President of Mozambique. He then surprised the world by forgiving the opposing forces, promising not to retaliate and giving them a place in the political system. Within a short time he helped to overcome staggering poverty, increase education, and allowed free elections for the first time in the country’s history. Mr. Chissano was elected again, and continued to build peace and stability within his borders. After a second term he elected not to run again and stepped aside, instead becoming a respected elder statesman for the country.
The spiritual philosopher, Ken Wilber, once remarked, “The best way to stop famine in the world is to meditate.” This shocks many but there could be some truth to it. President Joachim Chissano learned to meditate in 1992 and realized immediately how powerful it could be. He taught it to his family and insisted that all of his cabinet minsters and military and police leaders practice twice a day for twenty minutes.
Chissano himself is in no doubt that this collective meditation was responsible for the peace and increasing prosperity of the country. As he said, “The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country … The culture of war has to be replaced by the culture of peace. For that purpose, something deeper has to be changed in our mind and in our consciousness to prevent the recurrence of war.”
Since stepping down in 2004, Chissano has campaigned for peace around the world, and worked as an envoy and negotiator for the United Nations. In 2007, he was awarded Africa’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the $5 million prize for Achievement in African Leadership.