• Joanna Sterkowicz

GWI collaborates with Vatican on wellness initiative


Vatican City

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a non-profit organisation with a mission to empower wellness worldwide, has announced a collaboration with the Vatican on its ambitious new initiative to create a better, healthier and less unjust world in the aftermath of the coronavirus epidemic.

In early April, Pope Francis announced a new COVID-19 commission focused not only on confronting the current crisis, but also to visualise the world we need to build post-virus. The future of health and wellness is a key pillar of the Vatican initiative (in addition to ecology, economics and public security), and the GWI is producing a series of eight white papers proposing how a holistic concept of wellness could transform human life, including our workplaces, our built environment and our mental wellbeing.

The series is called, ‘Resetting the World with Wellness’.

“We are deeply honored by the opportunity to collaborate on this important Vatican initiative. Wellness is a vital concept to reset the world after COVID-19. Not only does wellness link mind, body, and spirit, it connects our individual self with community and planetary wellbeing and to our personal search for meaning, purpose and transcendence,” said Katherine Johnson and Ophelia Yeung, GWI’s senior researchers and directors of the Vatican project.


The Vatican’s COVID-19 Commission

Pope Francis created the Vatican’s COVID-19 commission to ‘express the Church’s love for the entire human family during the pandemic’ and because he’s convinced that we’re living through ‘a time of epochal change’ and have an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on how to solve the socioeconomic, environmental and health challenges looming in our future.

The commission is led by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) and divided into five working groups, each addressing a different aspect of the pandemic. GWI is part of Working Group 2, which brings together public and private institutions, universities, the pontifical academies, social movements, and leading economists and entrepreneurs to create new research and thinking about a post-COVID future.

As Cardinal Turkson put it: “Group 2 has the task of night watch, like the sentry, to perceive the dawn. To do this, it is necessary to connect the best minds in the areas of ecology, the economy, health and public security. We need the concreteness of science…and prophecy and creativity.” On top of supporting medical providers, the health taskforce has a mission of addressing the flaws in modern healthcare systems and promoting ‘integral health’ (or wellness) and all its components: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social and environmental wellbeing.

The new resources will reach church leaders and the Vatican network, as well as global leaders and ordinary people, bringing GWI’s research to a vast audience.


GWI’s Vatican papers

GWI’s white papers for the Vatican integrate facts, data, and best practices; employ interdisciplinary thinking; and are a call to action, recommending strategies that could help ‘reset’ the world post-pandemic – with a new focus on prevention and a proactive wellness-based mindset.


The papers are: A New Vision for a Post COVID-19; Healthy Built Environments for Healthy People; Work, Health and Dignity; Mental Wellness; Physical Movement; Social Wellness and Community (May 27), Food and Nourishment; and Travel And Wonder.

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