The Institute for Human Rights & Responsibilities, Inc. (IHRR) is a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation that promotes adult leadership education for nonviolent democratic social change programs and projects. Located in Galena, Ohio, the IHRR publishes nonviolence and democracy educational materials, and conducts residential adult education leadership programs and nonviolence conflict reconciliation projects. Emphasis is placed on the institutionalization of nonviolence and democracy skills and information programs.

Established in 1978, the IHRR is a non-traditional organization, designed to be led by volunteers and to conduct projects and activities that would not ordinarily get the attention of more mainstream agencies and non-governmental organizations. One hundred percent of funds raised for special projects directly support the cost of those projects.

The IHRR expanded access to peace and nonviolent approaches to democratic social change in 1995 when it published The Leaders Manual series of Kingian nonviolence conflict reconciliation education and training resources. In 1990, David Jehnsen and Bernard Lafayette, Jr. published The Leaders Manual – A Structured Guide and Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence: The Philosophy and Methodology. It has been recognized nationally and internationally as the most authentic education and training text about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy and strategies of nonviolence.

A second series, Coming of Democratic Social Age: Tools for Learning and Unlearning, is still in production. This comprehensive text, designed to build upon the nonviolence conflict reconciliation foundation, is an advanced program of leadership education intended to institutionalize democratic social, cultural, educational, economic, and political systems for emerging democracies. The Democratic Social Age Handbook and short- and long-term training programs are planned.

The Churches Supporting Churches (CSC) purpose is to help restore thirty-six congregations in twelve of the most devastated New Orleans neighborhoods. It is a comprehensive strategy to assist these predominantly African American congregations to “Restart, Reopen, Repair or Rebuild the Churches in order for them to be Agents for Community Development and to Recreate their Communities”. CSC, concerned about the total devastation, sees this New Orleans strategy as the model for beginning similar work throughout the Gulf Coast.

The strategy is to go beyond food and shelter issues and focus on expanding the capacity of these congregations to rebuild their communities. This three-fold strategy is first, to strengthen the health and unity of the pastors, spouses, and members as they try to return to New Orleans. The pastors have met monthly since October 2005 for worship, fellowship, and monthly training institutes around the goals of Theological Reflection, Advocacy, Capacity Building, Community Re-Development, and Kingian Nonviolence Social Change. Second, the strategy is to rebuild the bricks and mortar and spiritual life of these congregations and to make the pastors and their members socially active agents for meeting present and returning peoples’ human needs in each community. Third, the strategy extends and expands the capacity of the historical role of the African American Church as the key agent for community change. To get immediate financial assistance for the first thirty-six congregations we are asking each of the three hundred sixty national congregations to cluster ten each with a New Orleans congregation for three years. This will escalate the survival rate of the NOLA congregations until the longer-term support for the rebuilding emerges.

For more information contact Rev. Dwight Webster, CSC President, and National Project Director [email protected] or David Jehnsen [email protected] and view DVD and materials at www.cscneworleans.org

Other projects include:cuban deligation

  • Promote the Cuba/US Kingian Nonviolence Exchange of religious and civic leadership with the Centro Memorial Martin Luther King, Jr. in Havana, Cuba
  • Promote Churches Supporting Churches Response to Katrina and for economic and racial justice in the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast as a new front in the Kingian Nonviolence War on Poverty www.cscneworleans.org for video and more information.
  • Institutionalize peace and nonviolence research and education capacity through an endowed peace chair and peace program at the Ohio State University Mershon Center, a public land grant university

The IHRR philosophy is to assist groups, organizations, and programs for the shared goals of a reconciled democratic society for today and for future generations. The IHRR actively participates in progressive programs and projects that share this vision and also helps to initiate new projects where significant needs are identified.

David C. Jehnsen, Chair and Founding Trustee (1978-Present)

David C. Jehnsen’s Mission is to develop and institutionalize programs and leadership education opportunities including research, training & education, and public information regarding propositions of the democratic way of life, Kingian Nonviolence conflict reconciliation and the values and practice of democratic social change. Forty-eight years in long-range strategic planning and implementation of practical programs with fundamental social systems has been the core of his experience and success from 1962 to the present.

Since 2007 Mr. Jehnsen agreed to join the Every Church a Peace Church Board (ECAPC) and accepted the position of 2008 Board Chair. The ECAPC was a national organization in Atlanta, Georgia with a mission to develop the nonviolence justice and peacemaking capacities of local congregations and strengthen the peace and justice capacities of denominations. In 2012 it passed its resources and materials to ON Earth Peace as part of their new Living Peace Church Program with a related mission. Since 2005 He has served Churches Supporting Churches (CSC) as Vice Chair of its National Working Group in New Orleans and served on the CSC Board of Directors. His service continued until October 2012. He is a founding member of Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio. David Jehnsen has been a social change activist, organizer and educator in adult education for democracy with an emphasis on special projects and systems related to nonviolence and social responsibility. His experience with nonviolence began at an early age in the Church of the Brethren and was stimulated by exposure to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the nonviolent human rights campaigns.

In 1962, his participation in the Albany, Georgia Movement, part of a national delegation of interfaith leaders that provided an opportunity for direct ongoing involvement in Dr. King’s campaigns through 1968. He combines the experience and skills of organizing social movements with innovative ideas about the philosophy of learning and leadership education. His focus has been on institutionalizing the capacity to provide training, research, education and public information about nonviolent approaches to reconciling unjust social conflicts and violent conditions.
Mr. Jehnsen’s experience with schools has been nontraditional. He was awarded his Ed.M. degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1977 and completed his course work and qualifying paper for an Ed. D. at Harvard. His dissertation topic is “The Cultural Transferability of N.F.S. Grundtvig’s Conception of Adult Education.”

He is retained by public and private organizations to design institutional programs in leadership education about nonviolence conflict reconciliation and social change for democracy. He conducts seminars and programs that educate people at many levels of society about the philosophy and methodology of nonviolence. In 1980-81, he served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Congressional Commission charged with the design of the United States Institute of Peace. He drafted the Commission’s first proposal and supporting legislation for Chair Senator Spark M. Matsunaga.

Mr. Jehnsen has worked closely with Bernard LaFayette, Jr., another leader in the Kingian human rights movement, as a multidisciplinary team since 1964 to promote Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation strategies and programs in the United States and internationally.  In 1978, they formed the Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities. He is Chair and Founding Trustee of the Institute which he continues to serve in an important range of programs related to social change and development in the United States and internationally. He and Bernard LaFayette co-authored The Leaders Manual: A Structured Guide and Introduction to Kingian Nonviolence- The Philosophy and Methodology.

David Jehnsen is a native of north-central Michigan and lives in Galena, Ohio with his wife Deborah. They have been active in local politics including a term David spent as his party’s county chair, and  have relationships to progressive religious and social change movements throughout the nation and internationally.

Kingian Nonviolence Seminar Programcuba

The IHRR, in cooperation with the Centro Memorial Martin Luther King, Jr. in Havana, Cuba, has created a dynamic Kingian Nonviolence Seminar Program to develop and activate religious and community leadership with a combination of socio-theological and popular education training.  The purpose is to expand the capacity of these groups and leaders to address the issues of conflict Cuba faces in its transition into new forms of economic and political life. Since 1998, the IHRR and CMMLK have conducted seminars in all Cuban provinces with leadership from fifty satellite programs. The CMMLK maintains 74 regional libraries of Spanish language Kinginan Nonviolence Educational materials for use by local Church and community leaders to conduct training seminars.  These resource centers include copies of Dr. King’s books and key papers for training sessions. Seminars are available in the United States on an ongoing basis. The Kingian Nonviolence Seminar Program provides a context for diverse religious and community groups to establish community development programs and gain skills in nonviolence philosophy.

The seminars are a blend of the Kingian legacy from the United States, Biblical roots of the Anabaptist theology, Kingian Nonviolence and the African American Religious Experience. This synthesis enables church and community leadership to exercise skills and methods of nonviolent social change from a moral rather than a political foundation and vision. Activities continue outside of the seminars and range from local community development and health programs to the training of leadership in social responsibility seminars conducted across Cuba by CMMLK associates.

The Residential Kingian Nonviolence Leadership Seminar is a four- or five-day (Spanish) group learning experience with a focus on democratic learning processes guided by a conduction team. The group also makes a collective analysis of the myths and facts associated with violence and nonviolence and shares incidents of violence they have experienced or personally observed. The week’s program is presented as an overview and handout materials are distributed. The emphasis is on the group as a learning community, not on the conduction team as experts. The seminar curriculum has five categories:


  • the historical context of Dr. King’s legacy;
  • methods for the analysis of conflict and violence and nonviolence leadership;
  • Six Principles of Kingian Nonviolence (philosophy);
  • Six Steps of Kingian Nonviolence (strategies & methodologies); and
  • nonviolence leadership organization and mobilization tools.

Videos, small group assignments, overnight readings, social drama, and role-plays provide opportunities for all the participants to lead the group in the learning process. In the United States, the four-day Leadership Seminars are ongoing in Ohio, with activities parallel to those taking place in Cuba with the CMMLK.

Socio-Theological Seminars: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Hope for the Third Millennium


The Socio-Theological Seminar evolved from the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the campaigns he helped lead from 1954-1968. The intellectual and theological roots go back hundreds of years to the founding of the Historic Peace Churches starting in the 16th century and the 19th century works of Leo Tolstoy in Russia and of Daniel O’Connell in Ireland. O’Connell and Tolstoy had a great influence on Gandhi’s concepts of nonviolence, especially in the areas of mobilization of public opinion (O’Connell) and nonviolent civil disobedience (Tolstoy). All of these influences stimulated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s concept of nonviolence. Another strong influence on Dr. King’s conception of nonviolence was the Black theology of liberation, the history of African descent people imprinting Catholic and Protestant Christianity in Cuba and the Western Hemisphere. It is the synthesis of these intellectual and theological ideas that has such meaning for addressing the problems of violence and conflict in society today.

This one-day seminar, geared toward civic and religious leaders, began as part of the Cuba/US Kingian Nonviolence Exchange component of the IHRR and CMMLK partnership But is now available in the US on a case by case basis. Participants examine the realities facing relations between the United States and Cuba, based on a synthesis of philosophies of Kingian nonviolence conflict reconciliation, African American religious experience, and Anabaptist roots of nonviolence and conflict transformation.

Note: Since 2013 the IHRR has offered an annual 11 month Advanced Kingian Nonviolence Leadership Seminar consisting of two phases of 90 minute Conference Call Seminars covering eleven books with a five-day residential phase after each phase synthesizing these writings with Richard & Hepzibah Hausers’ New Society. It is now sponsored by On Earth Peace and IHRR for the 2015-2016 program. Contact [email protected] for further information.


IHRR-CMMLK Faculty Development Program (Training of Trainers)

With the goal of preparing seventy-five candidates who have completed the foundation Kingian Nonviolence Leadership Seminars to become Certified Kingian Nonviolence Faculty, the Faculty Development Program (Training of Trainers) was implemented in Cuba in the late fall of 2004 and 2005. An annual program is anticipated in the US in Central Ohio.

There are four phases:

  • Phase I: Five-day course for individuals who have completed the Kingian Nonviolence Leadership Training Seminar who wish to begin the Faculty Development Program
  • Phase II: Two-month practicum designed faculty candidates to practice lesson plans that were devised during Phase I in their own groups and communities
  • Phase III: Five-day course for faculty candidates that have successfully completed the two-month practicum, giving them the opportunity to refine their knowledge and skills before becoming Certified Kingian Nonviolence Faculty
  • Phase IV: Certified Kingian Nonviolence Faculty will participate in the Annual Continuing Education Program in order to advance the institutionalization of the Kingian Nonviolence Leadership Training Seminar program.

For more information about IHRR seminars, please click here or contact IHRR.