Dr. Robert Enright, Ph.D., Co-founder, Int. Forgiveness Institute
Dr. Suzanne Freedman, Ph.D., Contributing Writer and Researcher
Amber Flesch, M.E.-P.D., Program Manager
Becki Fulmer, Director, N. Ireland Forgiveness Education Program
Margaret Rhody, Director, Milwaukee Forgiveness Educ. Program
Dennis Blang, Director, International Forgiveness Institute
Dr. Robert D. Enright, Ph.D.
Co-founder, International Forgiveness Institute
Dr. Enright is the unquestioned pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness. He has been called “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine and is often introduced as “the father of forgiveness research” because of his 25-year academic commitment to researching and implementing forgiveness programs.
Dr. Enright is the author or editor of five books, and over 100 publications centered on social development and the psychology of forgiveness. He published the first social scientific journal article on person-to-person forgiveness and the first cross-cultural studies of interpersonal forgiveness. He also pioneered forgiveness therapy and developed an early intervention to promote forgiveness–the 20-step “Process Model of Forgiving.” The Enright Forgiveness Inventory, now used by researchers around the world, is an objective measure of the degree to which one person forgives another who has hurt him or her deeply and unfairly.
A professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a position he has held since 1978, Dr. Enright previously taught at the University of Minnesota and the University of New Orleans. He is co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge about forgiveness and community renewal through forgiveness. He is also a licensed psychologist.
Dr. Enright has received funding from the John Templeton Foundation to conduct research into medical applications of forgiving. He also received funding from a variety of foundations, agencies and individuals for establishing and operating the International Forgiveness Institute. He currently has elementary school forgiveness education programs operating in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin; and has consulted for forgiveness education programs in Brazil, Colombia, Italy, Korea, Liberia, and Taiwan and in other countries around the world.
For his work in the peace movement, Dr. Enright was named a 2006 Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. In 2007, he received UW-Madison’s highest award–the Hilldale Award for “excellence in teaching, research, and service.” He also received the 2008-2009 Dick Ringler Distinguished Peace Educator Award from the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.
Dr. Suzanne Freedman, Ph.D.
Contributing Writer and Researcher
Dr. Freedman is a Professor in the Educational Psychology department at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware and both her Masters Degree and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied under and conducted research with Dr. Enright. Her dissertation was a landmark study that was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology on Forgiveness with Incest Survivors.
Dr. Freedman’s areas of expertise include the psychology of interpersonal forgiveness, forgiveness education and intervention, moral development, incest and sexual abuse, eating disorders, early adolescent development, and at-risk adolescents. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences on the psychology of interpersonal forgiveness. At the Univesity of Northern Iowa she has taught a variety of psychology courses including the Psychology of Interpersonal Forgiveness.
Amber Flesch, M.E.-P.D.
Amber Flesch earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from UW-Whitewater in 2001 and a Master of Education, Professional Development from UW-La Crosse in 2005. During her Master’s program, her Journal Article, Effects of Extrinsic Motivators Versus Intrinsic Motivation in an Elementary Art Class, was recognized as exemplar by UW-La Crosse. She has served as the Curriculum Developer/Program Manager for the IFI since 2009. Her background is in teaching, mainly elementary art classes.
Amber is also a member of the IFI Board of Directors.
Read Amber’s full bio.
Becki Fulmer, M.S.
Director of the Northern Ireland Forgiveness Education Program
Becki Fulmer heads up the Forgiveness Education work in Northern Ireland in cooperation with the Corrymeela Community. Originally from Indiana, Becki has lived in Belfast for 8 years and has been working with Forgiveness Education since 2006. Before moving to Northern Ireland, she worked as a Child, Adolescent and Family Therapist in both Indiana and Arizona.
Becki has a BA in Sociology and Religion from Ashland University in Ashland, OH and a MA in Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary. In her spare time she enjoys making jewelry, traveling to new places on the Island, catching up with friends over a good cup of coffee and relaxing on the beach in Ballycastle on the North Antrim Coast.
Contact Becki: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of the IFI Milwaukee Forgiveness Education Program
Margaret Rhody is Director of the IFI Milwaukee Forgiveness Education Program. She has a Master of Educational Psychology – School Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in Education – Youth Leadership, both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
During her studies she worked with Dr. Tom Baskin to evaluate the Great Families forgiveness/marriage strengthening intervention (2005-2010). As research assistant, she scheduled and facilitated all pre, post, and follow-up testing of 101 families in longitudinal study with a 75% response rate at 5-year follow-up.
Margaret’s professional positions include:
- Student Leadership Development Coordinator for the Newman Center Catholic Campus Ministry at UW-Milwaukee.
- Restorative Care Coordinator for Marian Franciscan Long Term Care Facility.
- Home Care Assistant for the elderly.
- School Counseling Intern who initiated and coordinated Restorative Justice and Forgiveness Education programs at Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning.
- Instructor of grade school Forgiveness Education Programs and Moderator of a Forgiveness Group for 10th grade girls.
Margaret first discovered (and fell in love with) the work of the IFI during an undergraduate semester abroad in Northern Ireland. There she met Anne Gallagher, a Belfast activist who helped Dr. Enright establish the forgiveness education program in Northern Ireland.
Director, International Forgiveness Institute
Dennis Blang is Director of the International Forgiveness Institute. He handles all the organization’s business and financial matters, fundraising, grant administration, and online Continuing Education courses.
Dennis is President of Dennis Blang Associates, a marketing, communications, and public relations firm he established in 2003. Some of his previous professional positions include:
- Lifelong Learning Manager at the Energy Center of Wisconsin, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving energy sustainability where he directed the 9-person team that provided energy-efficiency, building science and market transformation training programs for architects, engineers, builders and plant managers.
- Executive Vice President-Operations for NAI MLG Commercial, Wisconsin’s largest full-service commercial real estate firm, where he received the company’s 2000 Leadership Award.
- COO, Vice President-Development at Medical Media Associates, a medical communications firm specializing in nephrology/kidney dialysis where he directed a committee of healthcare professionals that formulated healthcare policy issues, analyzed legislative initiatives, and advocated on behalf of kidney patients at the state and national level.
- President of Forward Wisconsin, Inc., a public-private marketing organization that recruits new business to the state where he directed a national marketing program with 7 consecutive years of improved results and a 300% increase in the number of new companies recruited to the state.
Dennis has a B.A. in Journalism/Sociology from UW-Eau Claire. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma where his thesis received a national award and was featured in The Wall Street Journal. He is a Purple Heart Vietnam Veteran.