INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

Discover who we are, how we evolved, & what we might becomre

aka ISHK   |   San Jose, CA   |  www.ishk.net

Mission

ISHK is dedicated to cross-cultural understanding and to bringing important research on human nature to the general public. ISHK takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the questions of who we are, where we came from, and what we might become. Our programs and publications highlight contributions from contemporary psychology, education, anthropology, medicine, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and ecology — & from traditional systems of knowledge & learning with ancient roots. ISHK’s publishing & educational programs have contributed to important shifts in public attitudes & policies. It is our hope that the development of these ideas will help secure a future where humanity can unite around a common higher perspective & provide the information we need to advance human potential.

Ruling year info

1970

Program Director

Sally Mallam

Main address

1702 L Meridian Ave 266

San Jose, CA 95125 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-1705600

NTEE code info

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

Printing, Publishing (A33)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Humanity now needs to adapt to a world that is far different from any time in the past. To do this we need to understand our human nature. If we know who we are, how human beings evolved, if we understand the history of our beliefs, the evolution of our different cultures, if we know what our possibilities and weaknesses are, we might correctly assess what we can change, adapt, and create, so that humanity and the planet thrive. It is the mission of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK) that people, young and old, should gain such insight. Through multicultural literacy programs for the young, online courses, and a website where the latest findings, research, and discoveries, written for the non-academic, are made available to anyone anywhere in the world, ISHK will communicate new understandings in the human sciences to both professionals and the culture at large.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Hoopoe Books

Hoopoe Books is an imprint of The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge - ISHK (www.ishk.net), an educational nonprofit founded in 1970. In 1998, Hoopoe Books began publishing traditional children’s stories from Afghanistan, collected by Afghan author Idries Shah. To date there are thirteen titles in this award-winning series, all of them richly illustrated. Told for centuries throughout Central Asia and the Middle East, these stories have universal themes such as overcoming difficulties, building self-esteem, and finding peaceful solutions. Called Teaching-Stories™ by Western psychologists and educators, they are commended for their unique ability to foster thinking skills and perception in young and old alike.

We are now in our twentieth year of providing books as gifts to children for the holiday season through the Share Literacy Holiday Book Donation Program. In 2019 we reprinted 24,800 books in two titles by Idries Shah, “Neem the Half-Boy” and “The Man with Bad Manners” (both English and Spanish-English bilingual editions). As usual, we are only able to do this thanks to volunteers who warehouse and distribute the books to various organizations serving underprivileged children in CA, MA, NY, CO, and DC areas. Through ISHK, again this year our affilate organization in Canada, The Institute for Cross-Cultural Exchange (ICEeducation.org), was able to order the printing of 13,000 copies of “Neem the Half-Boy” to distribute throughout the year to schools and other agencies inside Canada.

HOOPOE TRAINING AND SUPPORT FOR TEACHERS
Teachers learn best-practice strategies that encourage children to develop their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. In addition, teachers learn how to encourage higher-level thinking skills such as making analogies—skills that are critical for school success. Importantly, teachers learn how to develop positive home-school connections that encourage families to become the most vital part of their children's education and be able to inspire their children to achieve their potential. Starting in 2009, Hoopoe Books began to expand the range of our list of publications for children and young people, including our “All About Me” series. Our quality educational materials for this series and all our books are kept current with National and State Content Standards. As a way of bridging the gap between Hoopoe and Idries Shah’s published work for older readers, friends of ISHK have started a new series to introduce to kids ages 9 to 15 the idea of learning from traditional stories. Of course, our authors have also referenced Shah’s work whenever possible.

The Hoopoe Early Childhood Literacy Curriculum is a literature-based supplemental curriculum specifically designed to help teachers meet and measure mandated instructional goals and objectives. For each of the books introduced, our experienced educators provide professional development workshops and curricula for all participating teachers. In these workshops, teachers learn how best to use these stories in their classrooms. They learn best-practice strategies that encourage children to develop their reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. In addition, teachers learn how to encourage higher-level thinking skills, such as making analogies—skills that are critical for school success.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Since 2010 we have printed 60,000 English-Urdu editions of Hoopoe books and have distributed Urdu-Pashto editions for the Afghan-Pakistan border region. At the request of our partners, Alif Laila Book Bus Society, we are currently producing ? Shah’s ten titles in Urdu-Baluchi and Urdu-Sindhi bilingual editions. The province of Sindh has as its capital Karachi, which is also Pakistan’s largest city and the home of our current book printer. Sindh’s first known village settlements date as far back as 7,000 BCE and eventually blossomed into the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization also known as Harappa. To date, we have printed and will shortly have distributed 115,000 books in Pakistan and will print and distribute more just as soon as we have the funds to do so. In partnership with Alif Laila Book Bus Society, we are expanding the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) book box program to other remote areas where kids have no books; each one of these boxes of 100 books has a set of the ten Hoopoe Books by Idries Shah in the Urdu-English bilingual editions.
Our Books for Pakistan was initiated in 2010. Thanks to our partner, the Alif Laila Book Bus Society, our program has provided more than 150,000 copies of Idries Shah’s retelling for children of traditional tales from the region. These ten titles are now available in Pakistan in Urdu-English, Urdu-Pashto, and Urdu-Sindh and Urdu- Balochi editions.

An outreach to neglected schools: To celebrate IBBY and its mission of bringing children and books together, Alif Laila (which is the National Section of IBBY Pakistan) in collaboration with First Book and Hoopoe Books, sent out 1,200 box libraries, each containing one hundred books, to children’s schools throughout Pakistan. Each box this year included two sets of 10 Urdu-English Hoopoe Books by Idries Shah. Our primary focus will be on remote and neglected areas, where children do not know the joys of reading for pleasure. (Read more on our website about IBBY and BECS (Basic Education community schools) programs.)

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Share Literacy has donated over 750,000 Hoopoe books to disadvantaged children and their caregivers in the United States. For these children, many of whom have never owned a book, this can be a seminal experience that changes their lifelong attitude towards reading and literature. The books, most available in Spanish-English bilingual editions as well as English, are designed to help children develop analogical, contextual, and critical thinking. They foster perception and intuition, promote social-emotional development, and encourage empathy, negotiation, and cooperation. Some programs provide Home Literacy Kits for each child in the classroom to take home. These kits include audio CDs available with both English and Spanish readings of the story, read with and without page-turn signals, and are designed to encourage parents and children to read along together to help foster independent reading. A special Read Together newsletter is also included in English, Spanish, or both languages and provides helpful information for parents about the importance of reading at home and suggests fun activities that promote literacy and explore dimensions of the story in everyday life.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

For decades, this Continuing Education Program for Psychologists has provided information in areas that ISHK is concerned about to thousands of professional psychologists to help these ideas filter into the mainstream. We are in the process of developing more titles on happiness, empathy, and more work on religion, higher consciousness and spirituality. Under the leadership of Charles Swencionis, Ph.D., ratings for this program are very high, as confirmed by the APA, and serves to educate professionals on new ideas about human nature. Continuing education programs have allowed both psychologists and physicians to take over 40,000 courses.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge was founded to provide the general public with the basis of information available, primarily about what it means to be human -- our capacities, our weaknesses, our potential. The Human Journey project, under the founding vision of the late ISHK President Robert Ornstein, is an online compendium of knowledge of what we know and what we need to know. The future depends on our understanding who we are, and how the past has made us so: what is unchanging about human nature, and what we can and must change to face a world that is far different from our ancestors’ world. We are now ready to promote The Human Journey website to educational institutions, clubs, and communities. The site documents how humanity, our cultures, beliefs, and societies evolved. What were our priorities and why? How did this lead to the world of today, and what might we do to insure a viable future?

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of books distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of books distributed in Afghanistan during these three years out of 4,7 million books since 2007.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Humanity now needs to adapt to a world that is far different from any time in the past. To do this we need to understand our human nature. If we know who we are, how human beings evolved, if we understand the history of our beliefs, the evolution of our different cultures, if we know what our possibilities and weaknesses are, we might correctly assess what we can change, adapt, and create, so that humanity and the planet thrive.

It is the mission of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK) that people, young and old, should gain such insight. Through multicultural literacy programs for the young, online courses, and a website where the latest findings, research and discoveries, written for the non-academic, are made available to anyone anywhere in the world, ISHK will communicate new understandings in the human sciences to both professionals and the culture at large .

Under the imprint Hoopoe Books we publish a unique set of ancient, universal children’s Teaching-Stories™ originating from Central Asia, and a series of books for adolescents enabling them to understand the biological, psychological, and emotional changes experienced during this challenging but important period of their lives. Our literacy programs, Share Literacy, Books for Afghanistan, and Books for Pakistan have provided over seven million books to disadvantaged primary school-age children, and training for hundreds of teachers in the U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Over the last decade, ISHK has taken advantage of internet technology allowing us to offer more extensive information about what it means to be human. Our website https://humanjourney.us/ provides a more complete view of humanity. We follow our biological and social evolution from our distant ancestors, to the history of our major cultural institutions, the disparities between rich and poor, the health of our planet, the evolution of our beliefs, and the education of the world’s children. Since 1969, we’ve sold books on these subjects, including the important works of Karen Armstrong, Idries Shah, Franz de Waal, Jonas Salk, Paul Ekman, Phil Zimbardo, Amos Tversky, Stephen Sanderson, our late President Robert Ornstein, and many others. Before the internet, ISHK organized symposia, attended by a few hundred thousand, and we currently maintain a continuing education program that has allowed psychologists and physicians to take over 40,000 courses. Now, in this new exciting phase, we’re seeking to publish bilingual editions of our Hoopoe books in some of the many minority languages spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan paired with the national language, enabling children to learn to read initially in their mother tongue and transfer those skills to the appropriate national language once they enter first grade.
We plan to enhance the Human Journey website so that the information is available online to anyone at any time; not only to a professional psychologist or academic, but to a student in China; not only to a parent who buys a book, but to a curious young girl in rural India. Anywhere there is a connection.

Over the last 45 years, under the leadership of the late Robert Ornstein, the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge has gathered knowledge from leading thinkers and authors in psychology, health, medicine, and sociology, to provide critical knowledge about the future of humanity. Managed by a small staff, with the efforts of a reliable volunteer base of professionals and the general public, and the support of grants and donations, the Institute has maintained its objectives over this time. With the support of select foundations, we will continue this work into the future.

Our literacy programs, Share Literacy, Books for Afghanistan and Books for Pakistan have provided over seven million books to disadvantaged primary school-age children, and training for hundreds of teachers in the U.S., Afghanistan Pakistan, and elsewhere. The number of requests from nonprofits, NGOs, and government schools for additional reprints, new editions and new titles increases daily. We currently have over 1.5 million books requested should funds become available. The Human Journey website now provides a comprehensive overview of our biological and cultural evolution based on up-to-date research. Most importantly, and unique to The Human Journey, we overlay this increased understanding of our human nature—our strengths and weaknesses—with an in-depth examination of key contemporary challenges to help us make better decisions, direct our own evolution, and create a sustainable human future. Originally under the direction of Robert Ornstein, a cadre of dedicated professionals and interested supporters contributed to the launch of The Human Journey web site, and continue to expand and update it with the latest research and information available. Over the coming three years, The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge will expand the reach of the Human Journey project by 1) growing the number of individuals who discover, read, and engage with, and share the site and 2) offering a suite of formalized resources suitable for all educational levels. To accomplish this next stage, we will expand our paid staff and consultants while continuing to leverage the services of our core of volunteer professionals. Building on a seed grant from a private foundation, we seek additional grants for specific components, take steps to enlarge our individual donor base, develop prototypes of products and services to generate cash flow, and test affiliate marketing. We will build on the track record of success of other established Institute projects: [email protected], providing licensed continuing education for psychologists and physicians; Hoopoe Books/Share Literacy providing developmental resources for children and adolescents; and Malor Books, publishing quality paperbacks of important works in the human sciences selected for the importance of their content to the culture as a whole.

Financials

INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

Board of directors
as of 8/31/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

David Sasseen

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/13/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data