• Dan Siegel
    Dan Siegel Author, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry - UCLA School of Medicine, USA
    Dan Siegel

    Daniel J. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry.  He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.

    Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several honorary fellowships. Dr. Siegel is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization, which offers online learning and in-person seminars that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. His psychotherapy practice includes children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. He serves as the Medical Director of the LifeSpan Learning Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Blue School in New York City, which has built its curriculum around Dr. Siegel’s Mindsight approach.

    Dr. Siegel has published extensively for the professional audience.  He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (2nd. Ed., Guilford, 2012).  This book introduces the field of interpersonal neurobiology, and has been utilized by a number of clinical and research organizations worldwide. Dr. Siegel serves as the Founding Editor for the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which contains over sixty textbooks.  The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being (Norton, 2007) explores the nature of mindful awareness as a process that harnesses the social circuitry of the brain as it promotes mental, physical, and relational health. The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician's Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration (Norton, 2010), explores the application of focusing techniques for the clinician’s own development, as well as their clients' development of mindsight and neural integration. Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind (Norton, 2012), explores how to apply the interpersonal neurobiology approach to developing a healthy mind, an integrated brain, and empathic relationships. The New York Times bestseller Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human (Norton, 2016) offers a deep exploration of our mental lives as they emerge from the body and our relations to each other and the world around us. His New York Times bestseller Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence (Tarcher/Perigee, 2018) provides practical instruction for mastering the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence, and peace in one's day-to-day life. Dr. Siegel's publications for professionals and the public have been translated into over 40 forty languages.

    Dr. Siegel’s book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (Bantam, 2010), offers the general reader an in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to integrate the brain and promote well-being. He has written five parenting books, including the three New York Times bestsellers Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain (Tarcher/Penguin, 2014); The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (Random House, 2011) and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (Bantam, 2014), both with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child (Bantam, 2018) also with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., and Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive (Tarcher/Penguin, 2003) with Mary Hartzell, M.Ed. 

    Dr. Siegel's unique ability to make complicated scientific concepts exciting and accessible has led him to be invited to address diverse local, national and international groups including mental health professionals, neuroscientists, corporate leaders, educators, parents, public administrators, healthcare providers, policy-makers, mediators, judges, and clergy. He has lectured for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Google University, and London's Royal Society of Arts (RSA). He lives in Southern California with his family.

  • Gabriela Montero
    Gabriela Montero Pianist, composer, improviser - Barcelona, Spain
    Gabriela Montero

    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
    Nipun Mehta Founder - ServiceSpace, USA
    Nipun Mehta

    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
    Rudolf Wötzel Former Investment Banker, Founder - mindyourstep, Switzerland
    Rudolf Wötzel

    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".

  • Heather Grabbe
    Heather Grabbe Director - Open Society European Policy Institute, Belgium
    Heather Grabbe

    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.

  • Wolf Singer
    Wolf Singer Founding Director - Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI), Germany
    Wolf Singer

    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.

  • Roshi Joan Halifax
    Roshi Joan Halifax Abbot - Upaya Zen Center, USA
    Roshi Joan Halifax

    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.

  • Emeran Mayer
    Emeran Mayer Professor - David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, USA
    Emeran Mayer

    Emeran A. Mayer is a Gastroenterologist, Neuroscientist and Professor in the Departments of MedicinePhysiology and Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  He is the Executive Director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience at UCLA, and co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center. As one of the pioneers and leading researchers in the role of mind-brain-body interactions in health and chronic disease, his scientific contributions to U.S. national and international communities in the broad area of basic and translational enteric neurobiology with wide-ranging applications in clinical GI diseases and disorders is unparalleled. He has published more than 350 scientific papers, and co edited 3 books.  He is the recipient of the 2016 David McLean award from the American Psychosomatic Society and the 2017 Ismar Boas Medal from the German Society of Gastroenterology and Metabolic Disease.  His most recent work has focused on the bidirectional interactions within the brain gut microbiome axis and its role in ingestive behavior, obesity, and chronic inflammatory and functional diseases of the gut.


    Mayer has a longstanding interest in ancient healing traditions and affords them a level of respect rarely found in Western Medicine.  He has been involved in documentary film productions about the Yanomami people in the Orinoco region of Venezuela, and the Asmat people in Irian Jaya.  He has recently co produced the award winning documentary “In Search of Balance” and is working on a new documentary “Interconnected Planet”. He is a strong believer in Buddhist philosophy, was a member of the UCLA Zen Center for several years, and got married in a Tibetan monastery by Choekyi Nyima Rinpoche  in Kathmandu.  He regularly pursues meditative practices.


    Dr. Mayer has been interviewed on National Public Radio, PBS and by many national and international media outlets including the Los AngelesTimes, Atlantic magazine and Stern and Spiegel Online. He has spoken at UCLA TEDx on the Mysterious Origins of Gut Feelings in 2015, and his bestselling book The Mind Gut Connection was published by Harper&Collins in July of 2016 and has been translated into twelve languages.

  • David Steindl-Rast
    David Steindl-Rast Author and Benedictine monk, Austria
    David Steindl-Rast

    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
    Tania Singer Scientific Head - Social Neuroscience Lab at the Max Planck Society, Germany
    Tania Singer

    Tania Singer is the scientific head of the Social Neuroscience Lab of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. After doing her PhD in Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, she became a Post-doctoral Fellow at the same institution, at the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, and at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London. In 2006, she first became Assistant Professor and later Inaugural Chair of Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics as well as Co-Director of the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research at the University of Zurich. Between 2010 and 2018 Tania Singer was the director of the department of Social Neurosciences at the Max Planck Institute of Cognitive and Human Development in Leipzig.

    Her research focus is on the foundations of human social behavior and the neuronal, developmental, and hormonal mechanisms underlying social cognition and emotions, such as empathy and compassion. Moreover, she investigates the psychological and neuroscientific effects of mental training, mindfulness, and compassion on brain, mind, health, and cooperation.

    Prof. Singer is the Principal Investigator of the ReSource Project, a large-scale one year longitudinal mental training study, co-funded by the European Research Council. She holds a cooperation with the economist Prof. Snower on the topic of Caring Economics. They investigate how biology and psychology can inform new economic models and decision-making. Tania Singer is author of more than 150 scientific articles and book chapters. She has published her findings in many high-impact peer-reviewed journals and edited together with Mathieu Ricard the two books Caring Economics (2015) and Power and Care (2019).

  • Nicolas Gausserès
    Nicolas Gausserès Chief Alimentation Science Officer - Danone, France
    Nicolas Gausserès

    Nicolas Gausserès is Chief Alimentation Officer 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
    Jamie Bristow Director - Mindfulness Initiative, UK
    Jamie Bristow

    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

  • Perla Kaliman
    Perla Kaliman Professor - Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
    Perla Kaliman

    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
    Christian Felber Author, Initiator - Economy for the Common Good, Austria
    Christian Felber

    Christian Felber was born in 1972, he studied Spanish, Psychology, Sociology and Political Sciences in Madrid and Vienna, where he lives and works as an independent writer. He is the initiator of the „Economy for the Common Good“ and the project „Bank for the Common Good“. He is an internationally renowned speaker, university lecturer and a contemporary dancer.

    Christian has authored several bestsellers: „Change everything. Creating an Economy for the Common Good“,  „Money. The new rules of the game“, which was awarded the getAbstract International Book Award 2014, and the recent German original version of the soon-to-be-published in English "Ethical World Trade". The Economy for the Common Good received the Zeit-Wissen Award in 2017.

  • Michel Bitbol
    Michel Bitbol Director - Research at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), France
    Michel Bitbol

    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

  • Amy Cohen Varela
    Amy Cohen Varela Chairperson - Mind & Life Europe, France
    Amy Cohen Varela

    Amy Cohen Varela is Chairperson of the Mind & Life Europe Board and involved with Mind and Life since its inception. She is also a clinical psychologist specialized in psychodynamic therapy and philosophy.

    Amy studied comparative literature at Brown and Columbia Universities before moving to Paris in the early ‘80’s, where she received her degree in clinical psychology at the University of Paris 7, with a specialty in psychodynamic theory and practice, and in parallel, completed psychoanalytic training.

  • Viktoria Lysenko
    Viktoria Lysenko Professor - Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
    Viktoria Lysenko

    Viktoria 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).

    Viktoria 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
    Amber Carpenter Associate Professor - Yale-NUS, Singapore
    Amber Carpenter

    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
    James Morley Professor - Ramapo College of New Jersey, USA
    James Morley

    James Morley is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Ramapo College of New Jersey where he has served as Faculty President and teaches Psychopathology, Phenomenological Psychology, and Social Theory.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, founding Director of the Krame Institute of Contemplative Studies and Mindful Living at Ramapo College and is currently the President of the Interdisciplinary Coalition of North American Phenomenologists (ICNAP). Morley did his graduate training at Duquesne University in the 1980’s and has held teaching positions in Connecticut, India, and England before returning to his native New York region in 2003.

    Morley’s publications and research interests are in the philosophical foundations of psychology as a human science and the application of phenomenological thought to research methodology and topics such as imagination, mental health, and meditation practice. He co-edited the text “Merleau-Ponty: Interiority and Exteriority” (SUNY Press, 1999) and, with James Phillips, a collection of essays titled “Imagination and its Pathologies” (MIT Press, 2003).

    Several published chapters and articles can be found in the following link:

    Link for the Journal of Phenomenological Psychology:

  • Katherine Weare
    Katherine Weare Professor - University of Exeter and University of Southampton, UK
    Katherine Weare

    Katherine Weare is known internationally for her work on cultivating well-being, mental health 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 has recently been appointed as co-lead for Educational Policy for the UK government’s Mindfulness Initiative, guiding national policy and practice surrounding mindfulness and wellbeing. 

    She is an associate member for Mind & Life Europe and principle investigator on an ambitious 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 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 lives with her family and various animals in Devon in the UK, where she is nourished by regular contact with wilderness and nature. She is supported by a somewhat eclectic personal practice, inspired particularly by vipassana, secular Buddhism and the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and gives regular Dharma talks at Sharpham Barn retreat centre. She can be contacted at

  • Chris Ruane
    Chris Ruane Member of Parliament, UK
    Chris Ruane

    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
    Mary Helen Immordino-Yang Professor - University of Southern California, USA
    Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

    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.

  • Leslie de Galbert
    Leslie de Galbert Clinical Psychologist - Paris, France
    Leslie de Galbert

    Leslie de Galbert, B.A. in Philosophy, Hollins University; D.E.S.S. in Clinical Psychology, University of Paris. Member of the International Association of Analytical Psychology and of the Association of Graduate Analytical Psychologists, Zürich.

    Born and raised in the United States, she has lived in Paris, France since 1972. As a clinical psychologist, Leslie worked in the public hospital system in Paris, in geriatrics and palliative care. As a psychoanalyst in private practice in Paris, she was a member of the Société Française de Psychologie Analytique. For the IAAP, she supervised the training of psychoanalysts in Tbilisi, Georgia.

    She has published articles in the Cahiers jungiens de psychanalyse and the Revue de Psychologie Analytique, and enjoys translating articles on philosophy and psychoanalysis from French into English. Leslie has followed Mind and Life Institute dialogues since their beginnings in the 1980’s, and is an Association member of Mind & Life Europe.

  • John D. Dunne
    John D. Dunne Professor - University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
    John D. Dunne

    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.

  • Luisa Damiano
    Luisa Damiano Associate Professor - University of Messina, Italy
    Luisa Damiano

    Luisa Damiano (Ph.D. in Epistemology of Complex Systems) is Associate Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of Messina (Italy), where she co-established the Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial Research Group (ESARG).

    Her main research fields are:
    -Epistemology of the Sciences of Complex Systems;
    -Epistemology of the Cognitive Sciences and Philosophy of Mind, with a focus on Cognitive Extension, Minimal Cognition, Inter-subjective Cognition, Embodiment and Enaction;
    -Philosophy of Biology, with a focus on Self-organization, Autopoiesis, Minimal Life, Origins of Life;
    -Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial, with a focus on the Synthetic Modeling of Life and Cognition, in particular in Synthetic Biology and in Cognitive, Developmental and Social Robotics.

    She worked on these topics within scientific teams, with which she is still collaborating (University of Salento, Italy, and ELSI, Japan (SB-AI Project); Ritsumeikan University Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences, Kyoto, Japan, Artificial Empathy Project).

  • Antoine Lutz
    Antoine Lutz Associate Scientist - Waisman Lab for Brain Imaging & Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
    Antoine Lutz

    Antoine Lutz is interested in understanding the neural counterparts to subjective experience and, more generally, the mechanisms underlying mind-brain-body interactions. In the first part of his research, he is studying the role of large-scale neuronal integration (neural synchrony mechanisms) during various mental states (voluntary attention, emotion generation).

    The emphasis of his work is in the use of introspective, or first-person, data in order to understand the function of these large-scale dynamical processes (Neurophenomenology). In the second part of his research, he is studying the relationship between mental training, as cultivated in contemplative traditions, and neuroplasticity. More precisely, he is looking at the impact of standard meditation techniques on basic affective, cognitive and social functions and on the brain mechanisms that subserve these processes.

  • Esther Papies
    Esther Papies Senior Lecturer - University of Glasgow, UK
    Esther Papies

    Esther K. Papies (PhD) is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow. Esther received her PhD in 2008 from Utrecht University, and moved to Scotland with her family in 2015. She studies the psychological interplay of personal motivation and environmental factors in health behaviour.

    Her laboratory’s current research addresses questions like: How does our living environment trigger healthy and unhealthy desires, and what role does the body play in these processes? How can we shape these processes to foster healthy and sustainable behaviour? How do health inequalities arise, and how can we reduce them?

    Esther is passionate about combining fundamental laboratory work with field experiments, and about developing effective strategies to enhance people and planet health, including mindfulness-based strategies.

  • David Hykes
    David Hykes Composer-Singer, Contemplative Mentor, Founder - Harmonic Presence, France/USA
    David Hykes

    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

  • Rafael Ebner
    Rafael Ebner Yin Yoga teacher, Austria
    Rafael Ebner

    Rafael Ebner is a Yoga Teacher working independently in Vienna, Austria. He has previously worked as a lawyer and event-manager.

    Rafael has explored a wide range of disciplines of Yoga as practitioner and teacher since more than 25 years. His main interest is to find and integrate the essence of Yoga into his own life, practice and work with his students. He is currently teaching a discipline known as Yin-Yoga featuring a gentle, subtle and meditative approach to Yoga practice.

    In addition to teaching Yoga, Rafael is part of the NGO "Hands with Hands" supporting self-sustainable help projects in Nepal, and involved in several projects in the areas of meditation, self-exploration and alternative living.

  • Esther Ouwehand
    Esther Ouwehand Member of Parliament, The Netherlands
    Esther Ouwehand

    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).

  • Jamila Tressel
    Jamila Tressel Author and Coach - Berlin, Germany
    Jamila Tressel

    Jamila Tressel is a student at the ESBZ School since 2012 and a young author, speaker, trainer and coach as well, empowering young people to unfold their potential and make a change. After many negative experiences in the traditional school system the student is campaigning for a drastic change of the education system since she is 12 years old, speaking at national and international conferences (e.g. in Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Rumania, South Korea and Malaysia) and leading trainings for students, teachers and managers, often in collaboration with “Schule im Aufbruch”. In order to give children a voice in the education debate she wrote a book with two fellow schoolmates when she was 14 and they received the EduAction Award for their engagement this year.

    Her goal is to inspire other people to change the school system so that other students will get to experience a happy and sustainable time in school as well. To connect education, personal and potential development, leadership and entrepreneurship, she is developing an academy program to empower and train young people to actively create their future and become conscious leaders and trainers themselves.

  • Gerald Wirth
    Gerald Wirth Director - Vienna Boys’ Choir, Austria
    Gerald Wirth

    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