Gabriela Montero’s visionary interpretations and unique improvisational gifts have won her a devoted following around the world. Anthony Tommasini remarked in The New York Times, "Montero's playing has everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power in climactic moments, soulful lyricism in the ruminative passages and, best of all, unsentimental expressivity.
Highlights from recent seasons include recitals at Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Cologne Philharmonie, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Herkulessaal, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum, Tokyo Orchard Hall, and at the Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lucerne, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Saint-Denis, Dresden, Ruhr, Bergen, Istanbul, and Lugano festivals.
Gabriela has also been invited to perform with many of the world’s most respected orchestras, including the Los Angeles, New York, Liverpool, Rotterdam, and Dresden philharmonic orchestras; Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Atlanta, and Toronto symphony orchestras; the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, and Zürcher Kammerorchester; the Cleveland, City of Birmingham Symphony, Philharmonia, and Komische Oper Berlin orchestras; and the Vienna Symphony, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Residentie, and Sydney Symphony orchestras.
Recent collaborators include conductors Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Roger Norrington, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Vassily Petrenko, Marin Alsop, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, James Gaffigan, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Mario Venzago, Peter Oundjian, Mikko Franck, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Jaime Martín, Kristjan Järvi, Pietari Inkinen, and Patrick Lange.
Gabriela has recently given debut performances at the BBC Proms, and with the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as debut recitals at the Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Antwerp deSingel, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Rheingau Musik Festival, and Cheltenham Music Festival.
In addition to her brilliant interpretations of the core piano repertoire, Gabriela is also celebrated for her ability to improvise, composing and playing new works in real time. She says, "I connect to my audience in a completely unique way – and they connect with me. Because improvisation is such a huge part of who I am, it is the most natural and spontaneous way I can express myself." Whether in recital or following a concerto performance, Gabriela regularly invites her audiences to choose themes and ideas on which she improvises.
Gabriela has long held a desire to apply her abilities in improvisation and composition to larger ensembles and contexts. In 2011, she embarked on this new phase of her career by composing a tone poem for piano and orchestra, entitled Ex Patria. Her piece had its world premiere tour in October of that year with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in London and in several German cities. In 2016, Gabriela performed the world premiere of her Piano Concerto No.1, the "Latin" Concerto, at the Gewandhaus Leipzig with the MDR Symphony Orchestra and Kristjan Järvi, to great critical acclaim.
Gabriela is also an award-winning and best-selling recording artist. Bronze medalist at the Chopin Competition, her debut disc, Bach and Beyond, featured her own improvisations on themes by Bach and held the top spot on the Billboard Classical Charts for several months. She has won two Echo Klassik Awards: the 2006 Keyboard Instrumentalist of the Year and 2007 Award for Classical Music without Borders. She received a Grammy® nomination for her Bach and Beyond follow-up, Baroque, in 2008. Solatino, inspired by her Venezuelan homeland, is devoted to works by Latin American composers and features her own interpretations on Latin themes. Gabriela's most recent album - an emphatic demonstration of the "total" artist as pianist, composer and improviser - features Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2, Montero's own "Ex Patria", and 3 freeform improvisations. It earned Gabriela her first Grammy® Award for "Best Classical Album" at the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards®.
Gabriela’s innovative perspectives have also been sought outside the sphere of classical music. In May 2015, she was appointed as the first "Honorary Consul" of Amnesty International, in recognition of her sustained efforts to advocate for human rights in Venezuela, both through music and public discourse. That commitment also garnered a nomination for Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights by the Human Rights Foundation. Gabriela was invited to participate in the 2013 Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre, and has spoken and performed twice at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters (Switzerland). She was awarded the 2012 Rockefeller Award for her contributions to the arts and played at Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inauguration.
Born in Venezuela, Gabriela gave her first public performance at the age of five. At age eight, she made her concerto debut in her hometown of Caracas, which led to a scholarship from the government to study privately in the USA. She continued her studies under Hamish Milne at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with the highest honours. She currently resides in Barcelona, with her husband and two daughters.
Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 500,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. Nipun has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Wavy Gravy's Humanitarian award, and Dalai Lama's Unsung Hero of Compassion. In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him to a council on poverty and inequality. Nipun is routinely invited to share his message of "giftivism" to wide ranging audiences, from inner city youth in Memphis to academics in London to international dignitaries at the United Nations; his speech at UPenn commencement in May 2012 was read by millions. He serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, the Dalai Lama Foundation, and Greater Good Science Center.
Nipun's high-school goal was to either become a tennis-pro or a Himalayan Yogi. Instead, by the third year of his Computer Science and Philosophy degree at UC Berkeley, he started his software career at Sun Microsystems. Dissatisfied by the dot-com greed of the late 90s, Nipun went to a homeless shelter with three friends to "give with absolutely no strings attached." They ended up creating a website, and also an organization named ServiceSpace. Over the years, they built thousands of websites for nonprofits but also started incubating a diverse set of projects that included online portals DailyGood and KarmaTube, offline movements like Smile Cards, a pay-it-forward rickshaw in India, and Karma Kitchen restaurants in three cities across the US. In 2001, at the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a "full time volunteer." He didn't have a plan of survival beyond six months, but so far, so good.
In January 2005, Nipun and Guri, his wife of six months, put everything aside to embark on an open-ended, unscripted walking pilgrimage in India, to "use our hands to do random acts of kindness, our heads to profile inspiring people, and our hearts to cultivate truth." Living on a dollar a day, eating wherever food was offered, sleeping wherever a flat surface was found, the couple walked 1000 kilometers before ending up at a retreat center, where they meditated for three months. Today, both Nipun and Guri live in Berkeley and stay rooted in a practice of small acts of service. The journey continues.
Nipun's mission statement in life now reads: "Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart."
Rudolf Wötzel, born in 1963 in Munich, studied at the university in Munich and further received a Master of Business Administration at the renowned INSEAD Institute before his career led him to positions as top management consultant and investment banker.
Today, he devotes his summer time to Gemsli, a traditional hut in the Alps near Klosters in Switzerland and moreover considers himself to be "entrepreneur of his life".
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress.
From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.
She studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman.
A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness, A Journey Through Buddhist Practice; Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America; Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; and her forthcoming, Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet.
Wolf Singer, M.D., Ph.D., studied medicine at the Universities of Munich and Paris, received his M.D. from Ludwig-Maximilian-University and his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Munich. Until the mid eighties his research interests were focussed on the experience-dependent development of the cerebral cortex and on mechanism of the use-dependent synaptic plasticity. Subsequently, his research concentrated on the binding problem that arises from the distributed organization of the cerebral cortex. The hypothesis forwarded by Professor Singer is that the numerous and widely distributed subprocesses which constitute the basis of cognitive and executive functions are coordinated and bound together by the prcises temporal coordination of oscillatory neuronal activity. His work was honored with many scientific prizes and two Drs. Honoris causa.
He is member of numerous national and international academies, including the Pontifical Academy of Science. He served as President of the European Neuroscience Association, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Max Planck Society, and as member of numerous Advisory Boards of scientific organizations and editorial boards of journals.
David Steindl-Rast was born Franz Kuno Steindl-Rast on July 12, 1926, in Vienna, Austria, and spent his early years there and in a small village in the Alps. He spent all of his teen years under the Nazi occupation, was drafted into the army, but never went to the front lines. He eventually escaped and was hidden by his mother until the occupation ended. After the war, Franz studied art, anthropology, and psychology, receiving an MA from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and a PhD from the University of Vienna. In 1952 he followed his family who had emigrated to the United States. In 1953 he joined a newly founded Benedictine community in Elmira, NY, Mount Saviour Monastery, where he became “Brother David.” In 1958/59 Brother David was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University, where he also became the first Roman Catholic to hold the Thorpe Lectureship, following Bishop J.D.R. Robinson and Paul Tillich.
After twelve years of monastic training and studies in philosophy and theology, Brother David was sent by his abbot to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, for which he received Vatican approval in 1967. His Zen teachers were Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, Soen Nakagawa Roshi, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and Eido Shimano Roshi. He co-founded the Center for Spiritual Studies in 1968 and received the 1975 Martin Buber Award for his achievements in building bridges between religious traditions. Together with Thomas Merton, Brother David helped launch a renewal of religious life. From 1970 on, he became a leading figure in the House of Prayer movement, which affected some 200,000 members of religious orders in the United States and Canada. Since the 1970s Brother David has been a member of cultural historian William Irwin Thompson‘s Lindisfarne Association.”
For decades, Brother David divided his time between periods of hermit’s life and extensive lecture tours on five continents. On a two-month lecture tour in Australia, for example, he gave 140 lectures and traveled 12,000 miles within Australia without backtracking. His wide spectrum of audiences has included starving students in Zaire and faculty at Harvard and Columbia Universities, Buddhist monks and Sufi retreatants, Papago Indians and German intellectuals, New Age communes and Naval Cadets at Annapolis, missionaries on Polynesian islands and gatherings at the United Nations, Green Berets and participants at international peace conferences. Brother David has brought spiritual depth into the lives of countless people whom he touches through his lectures, his workshops, and his writings.
He has contributed to a wide range of books and periodicals from the Encyclopedia Americana and The New Catholic Encyclopedia, to the New Age Journal and Parabola Magazine. His books have been translated into many languages. Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer and A Listening Heart have been reprinted and anthologized for more than two decades. Brother David co-authored Belonging to the Universe (winner of the 1992 American Book Award), a dialogue on new paradigm thinking in science and theology with physicist, Fritjof Capra. His dialogue with Buddhists produced The Ground We Share: Buddhist and Christian Practice, co-authored with Robert Aitken Roshi. His most recent books are Words of Common Sense for MInd, Body and Soul; Deeper than Words: Living the Apostles’ Creed; 99 Blessings: An Invitation to Life; The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life; Faith beyond Belief: Spirituality for our Times; and his autobiography, i am through you so i.
Tania Singer, Ph.D., is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. After receiving her Ph.D. in Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, she became a Post-doctoral Fellow at the same institution. In 2006, she became an Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich and later became Inaugural Chair of Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics and Co-Director of the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research.
Her research focuses on the foundations of human social behavior and on the neuronal, developmental, and hormonal mechanisms underlying social cognition and emotions. She investigates the psychological and neuroscientific effects of compassion and mental training on the brain, the mind, health, and cooperation, in longitudinal studies (The ReSource Project).
Nicolas Gausserès is Nutrition Director at Danone Research. His job is to anticipate the public health concerns, understand local nutrition and eating contexts, and monitor the nutritional quality of Danone’s products and their contribution to a healthy diet. A meticulous, scientific job that calls for co-creation, and the constant invention of new tools. Nicolas Gausserès tells us all about it.
Jamie Bristow is director of the world's first policy institute about mindfulness, which grew out of a programme of mindfulness teaching for politicians in the British Parliament. The Mindfulness Initiative provides the secretariat to the UK Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group and helped politicians to publish the seminal Mindful Nation UK policy report. Jamie now works with politicians around the world to help them make capacities of mind and heart serious considerations of public policy. He was formerly Business Development Director for the meditation app, Headspace.
Website: The Mindfulness Initiative
Dr. Perla Kaliman holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), specializing in the relationships between protein structure and function. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Medicine-University of Nice (France), at the Faculty of Biology-University of Barcelona (Spain) and visiting fellow at the School of Medicine-University of California San Diego, where her works focused on cell signaling, differentiation and metabolism. Currently, she is a professor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and a research collaborator at the Center for Healthy Minds (University of Wisconsin Madison) exploring the epigenetic impact of meditation and in the Shamatha Project at the UCDavis Center for Mind and Brain. Her professional activity includes scientific research on epigenetics of healthy lifestyles (nutrition, physical exercise and meditation) and undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at the universities of Barcelona, Zaragoza, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Lyon. She also collaborates to a European research consortium, investigating the impact of meditation practices on cell ageing (Meditageing, H2020, 2016-2021).
She has published numerous scientific articles, chapters and reviews. She co-edited the book Epigenetics of Lifestyle (Bentham eBooks). She is the author of a neuroscience-cooking book on food for brain health with the cook Miguel Aguilar, published by Odile Jacob (Nourrissez votre cerveau; 2017). She is the author of "La ciencia de la meditación: de la mente a los genes" (The science of meditation: from mind to genes) published by Kairos in 2017.
Christian Felber was born in 1972, studied Spanish, Psychology, Sociology and Political Sciences in Madrid and Vienna, where he lives and works as a writer. He is co-founder of Attac Austria, an internationally renowned speaker, contemporary dancer, lecturer at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and author of several bestsellers including: 50 Suggestions for a Fairer World, New Values for the Economy, Let's save the Euro!, Change Everything: Creating an economy for the common good. and Money. The new rules of the game.
Christian is the initiator of the "Economy for the Common Good" and the project "Bank for the Common Good".
Born in 1954, Michel Bitbol was educated at several universities in Paris, where he received successively a M.D. in 1980, a Ph.D. in physics in 1985, and an “Habilitation”in philosophy in 1997. He first worked as a research scientist in biophysics from 1978 to 1990. From 1990 onwards, Bitbol turned to the philosophy of physics, where he developed a neo-Kantian approach. He edited texts by Erwin Schrödinger, and published books in French about quantum mechanics for which he received an award from the "Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques".
A few years ago, Bitbol focused on the relations between the philosophy of quantum mechanics and the philosophy of mind and consciousness, working in close collaboration with Francisco Varela. He also has a long-term interest for the philosophy of the Madhyamika school, and learned some Sanskrit to have access to it.
Website: Michel Bitbol
Joanna Cook is a Reader in Medical Anthropology at University College London. She is the author of Meditation in Modern Buddhism: Renunciation and change in Thai monastic life (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and the coeditor of The State We’re In: Reflecting on Democracy’s Troubles (Berghan Books, 2016), Detachment: Essays on the limits of relational thinking (Manchester University Press, 2015) and Southeast Asian Perspectives on Power (Routledge, 2012).
Dr. Cook’s current research focuses on mindfulness and mental health in the UK. Taking political and public interest in mindfulness as its ethnographic focus, this work analyses practices of ethics, well-being and self-cultivation that crosscut emerging forms of governance in contemporary British society.
Martijn van Beek is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Institute of Culture and Society, currently based at the Interacting Minds Centre and at the Department of Anthropology.
His current research explores the meeting ground between contemplative traditions, especially Buddhism, consciousness research and modernity. He studies how contemplative traditions negotiate the challenges and possibilites of modern society and how scientific research and normative secularism inform the emergence of new forms of contemplative life, community and practice.
One of the goals of his current research is to contribute to refine our understanding of the significance of the spread of mindfulness and related forms of modern contemplative practice for people and for society today Together with colleagues at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and at Rice University in Houston he is engaged in research on the phenomenology of contemplative experience. This work is funded in part by the Mind and Life Institute, of which he is a Fellow.
In addition, he is continuing my earlier research on the nexus between politics, development and religion, focusing on the Himalayan region and here especially Ladakh in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Victoria Lysenko, D.Sc. in Philosophy (Institute of Philosophy, RAS, 1998), chief researcher, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences. She runs the Institute’s Department of Oriental Philosophies since 2012. She graduated from the Philosophy department, Lomonosov Moscow State University (1976) and pursued her postgraduate studies at the Institute for History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences (1976-1979).
Victoria Lysenko’s philosophical concerns focus on topics of cross-cultural heuristic perspectives. She elaborated the concept of atomistic mode of thinking, as well as a linguistic hypothesis on the origins of atomism which she applied to the analysis of atomistic ideas in Indian and Western context. During the last 15 years, she has been studying methods and ideas developed in the Indian epistemology of perception (pratyaksha) as part of the controversies between Buddhist and Brahmanic philosophers, as well as in an intercultural perspective. She based this research on her translations into Russian of the original Sanskrit texts.
Her current academic activity is connected with her attempts to introduce Indian and Buddhist philosophy - through intercultural, or cross-cultural philosophical discourse - into the curriculum of the contemporary consciousness studies in Russian philosophy and neuroscience.
She was a visiting professor at UGC (Delhi, Benares, Pune), 2005; Jadavpur University, Kolkata, 2006; Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris, 2008, 2011; Vilnius 2011. She published seven books in Russian, one in English coauthored with Michel Hulin, and around 300 papers in Russian, English and French. For her bibliography see the The Institute of Philosophy website.
Amber Carpenter is Associate Professor at Yale-NUS College, and supervises doctoral students at the University of York. Dr. Carpenter specializes in Ancient Greek philosophy and Indian Buddhist philosophy. She is particularly concerned with the place of reason in a well-lived life— what might reason be that it could be ethically relevant, or even required? Addressing this question opens up lines of inquiry in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophical psychology.
Dr. Carpenter’s work considers the intersections of these areas of inquiry. In both Greece and India, metaphysics and epistemology mattered. Debates over them were parts of wider disputes about the nature and domain of the moral. Dr. Carpenter’s work in Ancient Greek philosophy focuses on Plato’s metaphysical ethics and related epistemological issues— including the intelligence of plants. Her book, Indian Buddhist Philosophy, appeared in 2014, and her study of the pudgalavādins can be found in The Moon Points Back (2015). In her current work, she creates a conversation between these two philosophical traditions, under the rubric ‘Metaphysics and Epistemology as Ethics’, as for instance in ‘Ethics of Substance’.
She currently holds a fellowship with the Beacon Project, exploring “Ethical Ambitions and Their Formation of Character”. Dr. Carpenter was Head of Philosophy at Yale-NUS (2015-17), where she initiated the Ancient Worlds Research Group; is a co-founder of the Yorkshire Ancient Philosophy Network; and collaborates with Rachael Wiseman on the Integrity Project.
James Morley received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Duquesne University in 1988. He has held teaching positions in Connecticut, India, and England before coming to Ramapo College in 2002 where he is teaching courses in Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology), Personality Theory, Phenomenology, and the Psychology of Yoga. Morley’s generalist interests are in the theoretical foundations of psychology as a science and the application of continental thought to topics such as imagination, human development, and contemplative practices. He is particularly interested in the thought of Husserl, Heidegger, and especially Merleau-Ponty’s ontology of embodied experience as a basis for a reappraisal of psychological theory and practice.
He has edited an edition of Phenomenology and Cognitive Science on ‘Imagination’ (2005), co-edited a text on Merleau-Ponty and social science (1999) and, with James Phillips, a collection of essays titled Imagination and its Pathologies released by MIT Press (2003). He publishes and consults in the field of phenomenological psychology and qualitative methodology. Currently he is Associate Editor for the Journal of Phenomenological Psychology.
Katherine Weare is known internationally for her work on cultivating well-being, mental health, social and emotional learning and mindfulness in education, and has published widely in the field, developing both theory and the evidence base and advising policy makers and governments such as the UK government, EU and WHO. She has developed and led programmes and practical strategies across most European countries including the UK’s Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme, and the European Network of Health Promoting Schools. She currently advises various mindfulness projects and initiatives such as the UK Mindfulness in Schools Project, the Plum Village mindfulness community and the UK government’s Mindfulness Initiative national network on policy and practice surrounding mindfulness and wellbeing.
She is an associate board member for Mind and Life Europe and principle investigator on an ambitous new initiative to develop a ‘Community of Contemplative Education’ Europe. She leads the postgraduate diploma/MSc course on Mindfulness Based Approaches at the University of Exeter and herself teaches MBCT/MBSR courses to a wide range of groups. Her recent book, co-written a book with Thich Nhat Hanh ‘Happy Teachers Change The World: a guide to cultivating mindfulness in education’ has proved to be a best seller, and is currently being translated into a wide range of languages and launched across the world. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Ruane was the MP for the Vale of Clwyd for 18 years, until May 2015. He was a deputy head in a large primary school for 15 years prior to being MP. He introduced mindfulness to Parliament with Prof Richard Layard, Prof Mark Williams and Chris Cullen. He was Labour Co Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness before the election and was made Honorary President after the election.
Chris currently serves as an Executive at The Mindfulness Initiative and as the International Parliamentary Officer. He has helped to establish mindfulness groups in the Dutch Parliament and Welsh Assembly and is currently advising advocates in the political systems of over 25 countries.
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD, studies the psychological and neurobiological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and culture and their implications for learning, development and schools. She is a Professor of Education at the Rossier School of Education, a Professor of Psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute, and a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program Faculty at the University of Southern California.
Immordino-Yang was elected 2016-2018 president of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society by the society’s membership. She is serving as a distinguished scientist on the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development, where she was selected to the sub-committee of six scientists and educators drafting a working definition of SEAD. She is appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on the Science and Practice of Learning (i.e., the committee writing, How People Learn II). In 2015-2016, Immordino-Yang was selected by the AERA leadership as one of thirty scholars to participate in the AERA Knowledge Forum centennial initiative. Immordino-Yang is associate Editor for the award-winning journal Mind, Brain and Education and for the new journal AERA Open. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Cogent Psychology and Culture and Brain.
Among other funded work, Immordino-Yang has a cross-cultural, longitudinal NSF CAREER study investigating adolescent brain and social-emotional development, and relations to school and life achievement in urban contexts. She is currently also PI for a school-based intervention study of the role of students’ social-emotional competencies in academic success, funded by the Templeton Foundation via the UPenn Imagination Institute. She is PI on a study of the neural and psychosocial correlates of mindsets in low-SES adolescents from two cultural groups, funded by the Raikes Foundation via the Stanford Mindsets Scholars Network. Immordino-Yang collaborates with ABC Unified School District, Manhattan Beach USD, Cerritos College, Rowland USD, and Los Angeles USD in her work. She serves as scientific adviser to several Los Angeles schools/districts.
John D. Dunne (PhD 1999, Harvard University) serves on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he holds the Distinguished Chair in Contemplative Humanities, a newly endowed position created through the Center for Healthy Minds. He also holds a co-appointment in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature and is participating in the creation of a new program in Asian Languages & Cultures. Previously he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Emory University, where he co-founded the Collaborative for Contemplative Studies.
John Dunne's work focuses on Buddhist philosophy and contemplative practice, especially in dialog with Cognitive Science and Psychology. His publications appear in venues ranging across both the Humanities and the Sciences, and they include works on Buddhist philosophy, contemplative practice and their interpretation within scientific contexts. His current research focuses especially on the varieties of mindfulness and the contemplative theories that inquire into its nature.
John Dunne speaks in both academic and public contexts, and he occasionally teaches for Buddhist communities, most notably the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. In addition to serving as a faculty member for the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, he is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, where he has previously served on the Board of Directors. Dr. Dunne also serves an academic advisor for the Ranjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Esther Papies studied Social Sciences at University College Utrecht, The Netherlands, where she received a Bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in 2002. She completed her MSc in Social Psychology in 2003, and received her PhD in 2008 at Utrecht University, working with Prof. Wolfgang Stroebe and Prof. Henk Aarts. She received the Best Dissertation Award of the Dutch Association of Social Psychological Researchers, the Early Career Award (Jaspars Award) of the European Association for Social Psychology, and a VENI-grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Her research has been published in, for example, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Appetite, and the International Journal of Obesity.
Esther worked as an Assistant and then as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Utrecht University, before joining the University of Glasgow as a Senior Lecturer in September 2015.
David Hykes is a visionary composer, singer, musician, recording artist, visual artist and teacher of contemplative music and meditation. He is founder of a contemplative music called Harmonic Chant and of the Harmonic Presence work, which blends music, meditation training and healing harmonization practices. A pioneer in new music, contemplative chant and healing sounds, he founded Harmonic Chant in New York in 1975, the year he also founded his legendary group, The Harmonic Choir, considered to be one of the world’s pre-eminent overtone ensembles.
His 12 albums to date, including“Hearing Solar Winds,” one of the best-selling overtone albums of all time, are unique and subtle explorations of Harmonic Chant, Mantra, Sufi poetry and poetic texts, with instrumental accompaniment ranging from wind harp and Sufi nêy flute to tabla and zarb percussion, and even the gigantic bell in Boudhanath, Nepal.
Website: Harmonic Presence
Dr. Heather Grabbe is Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, Brussels. As an academic and think-tanker, she has researched the EU’s influence on societies and political systems during post-communist transition and through EU foreign policy. In policy, she worked on the Balkans and Turkey as political advisor to a European Commissioner.
She is now an advocate for democracy, justice, rights and the open society. Heather has written extensively about the EU and the interaction between politics and society, most recently on how populism and technology are affecting political behaviour. She spoke at TEDx Brussels 2018 about the importance of critical thinking and mindful engagement with information in the age of post-truth politics.
Rafael Ebner is a yoga teacher working independently in Vienna, Austria. He has previously worked as a lawyer and event-manager. He started out practicing Hatha Yoga in Vienna 1990, and explored the Ashtanga Yoga style as an avid practitioner for the next decade. In 1999, he received his first yoga teacher certification by David Swenson, and started teaching groups and individuals.
Rafael’s first contact with Yin Yoga happened in 2005 and marked a distinct change in his yoga practice, a transition from the dynamic and powerful Ashtanga style to the gentle and subtle approach characteristic to Yin Yoga. In 2011 and 2012 he received training and certification by Paul Grilley and Bernie Clark, both leading proponents of Yin Yoga and since then practices and teaches this approach to yoga.
In addition to teaching yoga, Rafael is part of the NGO "Hands with Hands" supporting self-sustainable help projects in Nepal, and is involved in several projects in the areas of meditation, self-exploration and alternative living.
Website: Rafael Ebner
Esther Ouwehand is a Dutch politician and former marketing manager. She is one of the five Members of Parliament for the Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren, PvdD).
Gerald Wirth got his first musical education at the Bruckner conservatory in Linz and with the Vienna Boys' Choir (Wiener Sängerknaben). He was band master of the Vienna Boys' Choir and choir director at the state theater Salzburg (Landestheater Salzburg). In 1991, he took over the direction of the Calgary Boys' Choir; further, he became musical director of the Calgary Civic Symphony and of the vocal ensemble Sangita. He was Associate Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. His main interest lies in the work with voices: in 1998, Wirth became deputy art director of the Vienna Boys' Choir and their art director in 2001; in 2013, he was further elected president of the association.
Wirth holds international workshops about performance practice, choir management and phonation. Most of his compositions are vocal works. In 2003, he founded the wirth music academy in order to educate choir directors according to the Wirth method which combines classical music theory, consciousness for sound, training in listening, rhythm training and singing within a holistic approach.
Website: Vienna Boys' Choir