June 6, 2022 • ISSUE 626
Alumni Featured in Documentary
on PTSD Recovery
Rouzanna Vardanyan (MBA) and David Shapiro (MA SCI) appear in the documentary Ending the War Within about bringing relief from war trauma in Armenia through the Transcendental Meditation® program.
David, president of the Alliance for PTSD Recovery, and Rouzanna, director of the MIU Library and an Armenian teacher of the TM® technique, have been working since the spring of 2021 to help thousands of Armenians suffering from the trauma of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
The documentary was created by Tigran Nersisian, an award-winning young filmmaker in Los Angeles who was born in Yerevan, Armenia. Tigran learned the TM technique in 2020 after reading David Lynch’s book Catching the Big Fish.
David and Rouzanna have been part of the ArmeniaRecoveryNowteam focused on bringing the TM program to veterans, displaced persons, children, healthcare workers, and the general public in Armenia, all deeply affected by the war. The humanitarian program was developed by non-profit organizations including the Alliance for PTSD Recovery, MIU’s Center for Social-Emotional Health and Consciousness, and David Lynch Foundation Caucasus.
Rouzanna came to MIU from Armenia 10 years ago after serving as a lawyer with the International Red Cross in Armenia. Seeing the suffering in Armenia, she felt compelled to help. She took a two-month leave from MIU and flew to Armenia to teach the TM technique.
“Armenia is a small country in the Caucasus region,” said Rouzanna. “Many of its 10 provinces have borders where there was still conflict. Teaching there was a big challenge, but also a great delight. People frightened by air attacks and political unrest experienced inner peace.”
David Shapiro has contributed to the ArmeniaRecoveryNow project by creating proposals to government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and raising funds to support teachers, teaching facilities, courses, and travel to bring Transcendental Meditation not just to the capital but to every area of the country. He is also the co-author of several studies on the effectiveness of the TM technique for PTSD.