His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is a man of peace. He has consistently advocated policies of nonviolence, even in the face of extreme aggression. He also became the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems. He has traveled to 67 countries and received more than 150 awards and honorary doctorates in recognition of his message of peace, nonviolence, interreligious understanding, universal responsibility, and compassion. He has also authored or coauthored more than 110 books, including the “Book of Joy” with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on 6 July 1935 to a farming family in a small hamlet of Tibet. He is now the spiritual leader of Tibet, yet describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. At the age of 23 he passed a rigorous examination with honors and was awarded the Geshe Lharampa degree, equivalent to the highest doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. In 1950, after China’s invasion of Tibet, he was called upon to assume full political power. Therefore, in 1954, he went to Beijing and met with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders. Five years later, following the brutal suppression of the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa by Chinese troops, the Dalai Lama was forced to escape into exile. Since then he has been living in Dharamsala, northern India.
In 1963, His Holiness presented a draft democratic constitution for Tibet. The charter enshrines freedom of speech, belief, assembly and movement. It also provides detailed guidelines on the functioning of the Tibetan Administration with respect to Tibetans living in exile. In 1992, the Central Tibetan Administration published guidelines for the constitution of a future, free Tibet.
In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent struggle for the liberation of Tibet. His Holiness is co-founder and Honorary Chairman of the Mind & Life Institute.
Susan Bauer-Wu is the president of the Mind & Life Institute. She is an accomplished scholar and researcher who has studied and applied contemplative practices in health care and higher education, building on her clinical experience as a nurse and her mind mindfulness meditation practice and teaching.
Bauer-Wu has a long history with Mind & Life as a fellow, a grant reviewer, a presenter, and a Research Advisory Council member. Before becoming president, she was the director of the Compassionate Care Initiative and the Tussi and John Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care at the University of Virginia (UVa) School of Nursing, associate faculty in the UVa Department of Religious Studies, and on the executive committee of the pan-university UVa Contemplative Sciences Center. She was formerly the Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar and associate professor of nursing at Emory University, where she co-created the Emory Collaborative for Contemplative Studies.
Michel Boivin, PhD
Michel Boivin, PhD, is the Canada Research Chair in Child Development, professor of Psychology, Director of the Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment at the School of Psychology of Université Laval, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He leads a program of research on the bio-psycho-social determinants of child development, with a special emphasis on early childhood. This research is anchored to large population-based longitudinal studies, including the Quebec Newborn Twin Study and the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development.
Boivin has extensively published in leading international journals in psychology, psychiatry and pediatrics, including three books, 44 book chapters, and 226 articles. He co-leads the Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Development and the web-based and multilingual Encyclopaedia on Early Childhood Development, two international initiatives aimed at knowledge dissemination. He has trained more than 50 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.
Richard Davidson, PhD
Richard Davidson, PhD, is the William James and Vilas research professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and Director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davidson’s research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing, including meditation and related contemplative practices.
Davidson has published over 375 articles, numerous chapters and reviews, and has edited 14 books. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2006. He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of “The Emotional Life of Your Brain,” published in 2012, and co-author with Daniel Goleman of the book “Altered Traits,” published in 2017. Davidson was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2003 and the National Academy of Medicine in 2017, and is the Chief Scientific Advisor and a Founding Steward of the Mind & Life Institute.
Sona Dimidjian, PhD
Sona Dimidjian, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on cultivating enduring well-being for women, children, and families. She is a leading expert in the treatment and prevention of depression, with a focus on the mental health of pregnant and postpartum women. Her work examines the clinical application of contemplative practices, including mindfulness meditation, and behavioral approaches in healthcare settings, as well as social emotional learning in schools. She also has a longstanding interest in the dissemination of evidence-based practice, using digital technology and community based strategies, such as training peers and lay counselors, to increase access to effective treatments.
Dimidjian is the recipient of numerous awards acknowledging her teaching and clinical research. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Chicago and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington. Dimidjian currently serves on the board of the Mind & Life Institute.
Daniel Goleman, best known for his worldwide bestseller “Emotional Intelligence,” is most recently co-author of “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body.” A meditation practitioner since his college days, Goleman spent two years in India, first as a Harvard Predoctoral Traveling Fellow and then on a postdoctoral fellowship. Goleman’s first book, “The Meditative Mind: The Varieties of Meditative Experience,” is written on the basis of that research, offering an overview of various meditation paths. Goleman has moderated several Mind & Life Dialogues between the Dalai Lama and scientists, ranging from topics such as “Emotions and Health” to “Environment, Ethics and Interdependence.” Goleman’s 2014 book, “A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for Our World,” combines the Dalai Lama’s key teachings, empirical evidence, and true accounts of people putting his lessons into practice, offering readers guidance for making the world a better place. Having worked with leaders, teachers, and groups around the globe, Goleman has transformed the way the world educates children, relates to family and friends, and conducts business. He is a Founding Steward of the Mind & Life Institute.
Patricia Jennings, PhD
Patricia Jennings, PhD, is an associate professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. An internationally recognized leader in the fields of social and emotional learning and mindfulness in education, Jennings led the teams that developed and studied “CARE for Teachers,” a mindfulness-based professional development program shown to significantly improve teacher well-being, classroom interactions, and student engagement in a federally funded study.
Jennings is the principal author of the Compassionate Schools Project curriculum, a health and physical education curriculum for elementary students that integrates social and emotional learning, mindful awareness, compassion practices, mindful movement, and healthy eating skills. She is also the co-principal investigator of a large, randomized, controlled trial to examine the curriculum’s efficacy in promoting positive youth outcomes. Jennings is author of “Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom.”
Amishi Jha, PhD
Amishi Jha, PhD, is a neuroscientist and associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Miami, and Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the UMindfulness Initiative, prior to which she was an assistant professor at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD from the University of California-Davis in 1998, and received her postdoctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University in functional neuroimaging. She studies the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based training programs on cognition, emotion, and resilience. With grants from the Department of Defense, and several private foundations, she has been systematically investigating the potential applications of mindfulness training in education, sports, business, and the military.
Jha’s work has been featured in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Emotion, and PLOS ONE, and she serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Frontiers in Cognitive Science, and Frontiers in Cognition. She has received several awards for teaching and innovation in science, including selection as a Poptech Science and Public Leadership Fellow in 2010. She is an internationally recognized speaker who has lectured at the World Economic Forum, Aspen Institute, Pentagon, and NY Academy of Sciences as well as many other forums on topics such as optimizing attention, building brain fitness, mindfulness and other forms of contemplative training, and how to protect the brain from stress and aging. She has been interviewed on NPR, CBS, and NBC, as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, GQ, Newsweek, and Scientific American.
Jennifer Knox is an educator with over 18 years experience in the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a member of the core Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning (SEE) team at Emory University, she has been central to the development of the curriculum since its first steps in 2015. She serves as a SEE Learning education consultant, curriculum designer, teacher training facilitator, and liaison with partner schools.
As a certified Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) instructor, Jen has worked to incorporate CBCT into educational settings, including formal research studies at an International Baccalaureate charter school and at the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also taught CBCT to students at Emory University and to faculty in Atlanta Public Schools. For 12 years, she has taught visual art at Woodward Academy where she teaches a SEE Learning Course and coordinates with senior administrators, counselors, and faculty to align SEE Learning initiatives academy-wide.
Sophie Langri, MA
Sophie Langri, MA, holds a BA in East Asian Studies and Anthropology from Montréal University and an MA in Sociology and Politics of Development from the University of Cambridge, England. She has been the project manager for the Institute of Tibetan Classics since 1999. Since 2003, Langri has been a regular attendee at the Mind & Life Dialogues with the Dalai Lama. Her participation in these conferences has enabled her to interact with neuroscientists, psychologists, and educators who are passionate about translating important scientific insights into the domain of education.
In addition, Langri has received extensive training in Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as well as Restorative Justice methods. Combining her NVC background with what she has learned through years of interaction with scientists in the field of brain and learning, in 2008 Langri created and began Ma Classe Zone de Paix, a school program teaching social and emotional learning (SEL) for children ages 5–12. For this innovative school program, Langri was awarded the YMCA Québec Peace Medal in 2010.
She is currently working as an SEL consultant with the Ministry of Education Québec for the Grandes Rencontres project, which will give information to all school regions about SEL throughout Québec. She is currently also in the process of receiving her certification as a Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training instructor. Langri is the co-founder, along with Tara Wilkie, of the Institute of Social Emotional Education and the co-author of CS3, a K-8 curriculum. She lives in Montréal with her husband and two daughters.
Sonia Lupien is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress whose mission is to transfer scientifically validated knowledge on stress to the general public. Her studies have shown that children are as vulnerable as adults to stress and that children as young as age six can produce high levels of stress hormones. Her studies in adults have shown that stress can significantly impair memory performance.
In her new research projects, Lupien is working on differences between men and women in stress reactivity, and she is developing new educational programs on stress in adolescents and employees. Greatly involved in the transfer of scientific knowledge to the public, Lupien has published a book for the public entitled “Par amour du stress” now translated in English under the title “Well Stressed: Manage Stress Before It Turns Toxic,” which aims at helping the public better understand stress as it has been studied for the last 50 years by scientists across the world.
Anthony Phillips, PhD
Anthony Phillips, PhD, has expertise in brain function and behavior. He was Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (2009–2017), Founding Director of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Institute of Mental Health, and is currently professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Senior Investigator with the UBC Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.
Phillips’ research focuses on the neural bases of learning and memory and has contributed to better treatment of addiction and mental health. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Phillips has received numerous awards including the Heinz Lehmann Award from the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Bill and Marilynn Weber Lifetime Achievement Award from the UBC Faculty of Medicine. In 2015, he became a member of the Order of Canada.
Matthieu Ricard, PhD
Matthieu Ricard, PhD, is a Buddhist monk at Schechen Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. Born in France in 1946, he received his PhD in Cellular Genetics at the Institut Pasteur under Nobel Laureate Francois Jacob. As a hobby, he wrote “Animal Migrations” in 1969. He first traveled to the Himalayas in 1967 and has lived there since 1972, studying with Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, two of the most eminent Tibetan teachers of our times. Since 1989, he served as French interpreter for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is the author of “The Monk and the Philosopher,” with his father, the French thinker Jean-Francois Revel; “The Quantum and the Lotus,” with the astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan; “Happiness, A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill;” and “Why Meditate?” He has translated several books from Tibetan into English and French, including “The Life of Shabkar,” and “The Heart of Compassion.”
As a photographer, Ricard has published several albums, including “The Spirit of Tibet,” “Buddhist Himalayas,” “Tibet,” ““Motionless Journey,” and “Bhutan.” He devotes all of the proceeds from his books and much of his time to 120 humanitarian projects involving schools, clinics, orphanages, elderly people’s homes, and bridges in Tibet, Nepal, and India. He supports these projects through his charitable association, Karuna-shechen. Ricard is devoted to the preservation of Tibetan cultural heritage. He has been deeply involved in the work of the Mind & Life Institute for many years, and is a Founding Steward of the Mind & Life Institute.
Robert W. Roeser, PhD, MSW
Robert W. Roeser, PhD, MSW, is the Bennett Pierce Professor of Care, Compassion and Human Development at the College of Health and Human Development at Pennsylvania State University. He has a PhD from the combined program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan (1996) and holds master’s degrees in religion and psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical social work.
In 2005 and 2016 Roeser was a United States Fulbright Scholar in India; from 1999 through 2004, he was a William T. Grant Faculty Scholar; and from 2006 to 2010, he served as the Senior Program Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute (Boulder, Colo.) and helped to coordinate the Mind & Life Education Research Network. He also served on the working group that designed the original Call to Care Curriculum for the Mind & Life Institute. He is a scientific advisor to the follow-on work of the Courage of Care Coalition and served on the planning committee for Mind & Life Institute’s 2018 Summer Research Institute.
Roeser’s scholarship and research is focused on schools as key cultural contexts of human development and the use of contemplative practices in educational settings for school administrators and leaders, teachers and staff, and students. His laboratory is devoted to the study of the effects of mindfulness and compassion in education with regard to improving health and well-being, teaching and learning, and an equitable and compassionate culture in education.
Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, PhD
Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, PhD, is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), an interdisciplinary research unit in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. Prior to her graduate work, Schonert-Reichl was a middle school teacher and then a teacher at an alternative high school for “at risk” adolescents.
As a renowned expert in social and emotional learning, Schonert-Reichl’s research focuses on identification of the processes that foster positive human qualities including empathy, compassion, and altruism in children and adolescents. She serves as an advisor to the British Columbia Ministry of Education on the redesign of the Curriculum and Assessment Framework that includes a focus on the promotion of students’ personal and social competencies. Additionally, she is an Advisor to Education 2030, a project of the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD); a board member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL); and an advisor to the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education.
Schonert-Reichl is the recipient of the 2015 Joseph E. Zins Distinguished Scholar Award for outstanding research on SEL. In 2009, she was awarded the Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia in recognition of her sustained outstanding contributions to the community beyond the academy through research over the major portion of her career.
Aaron Stern is a composer, educator, internationally recognized consultant on learning, and the founder of the Academy for the Love of Learning, a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based educational institution. He conceived the Academy with musician Leonard Bernstein, and serves as its President and educational leader.
The Academy was founded as a “think and do tank” to develop, practice, foster research on, and disseminate its transformative learning methods, which are designed to activate the natural love of learning as a transformative practice in people of all ages. To accomplish this, the Academy offers a comprehensive set of programs grounded in its learning model and innovative awareness-based practices through its various institutes, including the Institute for Teaching; Institute for Living Story; Institute for Foundation Studies, which offers the Academy’s pioneering leadership program; Leading by Being, Institute for Organizational Learning; and others. Stern currently serves on the board of the Mind & Life Institute.
Tara Wilkie, PhD
Tara Wilkie, PhD, holds a doctorate in cognitive psychology with a special focus on understanding different learning profiles. She has been a researcher, a classroom resource teacher, a special education consultant, a school psychologist, and a university lecturer. Wilkie’s research has focused on the use of computers as cognitive tools and the application of metacognitive learning strategies. Her clinical experience includes working with children and adolescents both in the classroom and in specialized settings.
Since 2015, Wilkie has been the Director of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) at the Peace Grantmakers Network (PGN), a group of philanthropic foundations, individual donors, and partner organizations working collaboratively in applied peace efforts and social harmony initiatives. As the director of SEL at PGN as well as its key resource facilitator, Wilkie has been actively involved in the development of such applied peace initiatives as “Les Grandes Rencontres.” She also helped organize two key symposia for educators: “Creating Caring School Communities: Social Emotional Learning & Bullying Prevention” (February 2014) and “Research Meets Practice: Effective Tools to Prevent Bullying” (November 2014). Wilkie’s current focus is in the area of SEL, bullying prevention, and creating caring school communities.
Wilkie co-developed “Ma Classe Zone de Paix,” a non-violent, communication-based SEL school program. Since 2009, she has been teaching this program in French two days a week at École Bussonière, a primary school in Montréal.
She also offers workshops and training on SEL for teachers, parents, and school boards and maintains a private practice. Wilkie is the co-founder, with Sophie Boyer Langri, of the Institute of Social Emotional Education and the co-author of CS3, a K–8 curriculum. She lives in Montréal with her husband and two daughters.