Who We Are

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society is a 501-c(3) non-profit organization based in Northampton, Massachusetts. We work to transform higher education by supporting and encouraging the use of contemplative/introspective practices and perspectives to create active learning and research environments that look deeply into experience and meaning for all in service of a more just and compassionate society.

  • Rhonda V. Magee, President
    Professor of Law, The University of San Francisco School of Law
  • Jeff Genung, Treasurer
    Founder and President, Contemplative Life
  • Bradford C. Grant
    Professor of Architecture and Design, Howard University
  • Oliver Hill
    Professor of Experimental Psychology, Virginia State University
  • Carolyn Jacobs
    Former Dean and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor, Smith College School for Social Work
  • David Levy
    Professor, The Information School, University of Washington
  • Paula C. Sager
    Co-founder, The Mariposa Center
  • Linda L. Slakey
    Professor and Dean Emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Arthur Zajonc
    President, The Mind & Life Institute and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Physics Emeritus, Amherst College
  • James Autry
    Author of Real Power: Business Lessons from the Tao Te Ching
    Former President, Meredith Corporation Magazine Group
  • Rachel Bagby
    Author, Vibralingual Artist, Teacher
  • Anne Bartley
    President and Trustee, Rockefeller Family Fund
  • Leroy Little Bear
    Former Director of the American Indian Program, Harvard University and Professor Emeritus of Native Studies, University of Lethbridge
  • Robert Coles
    Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Humanities, Harvard University
  • Rabbi Rachel Cowan
    Director, Institute for Jewish Spirituality
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    Davidson Professor of Management, Claremont Graduate University
  • Rev. Harlon L. Dalton
    Professor Emeritus of Law, Yale Law School
  • Ram Dass
    Spiritual Teacher and Author of Be Here Now and Still Here
  • Marian R. David
    Director, Sustaining the Soul that Serves
  • Richard J. Davidson
    Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Michael Edwards
    Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action
    Senior Visiting Scholar, New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service
    Senior Visiting Fellow, Brooks World Poverty Institute at Manchester University
  • Howard Gardner
    Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Gelek Rimpoche
    Tibetan Lama and Spiritual Director of Jewel Heart
  • Daniel Goleman
    Journalist and author of Emotional Intelligence
  • Amy Gross
    Former Editor-in-Chief, O, the Oprah Magazine
  • Paul Hawken
    Founder, Smith & Hawken
    Author of The Ecology of Commerce
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn
    Founder and former Executive Director, The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of Full Catastrophe Living
  • Fr. Thomas Keating
    Cistercian Abbot and Founder of Contemplative Outreach Ltd.
  • Joan Konner 
    Professor and Dean Emerita, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
  • Michael Lerner
    President, Commonweal
  • Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man
    Founder, Metivta: A Center for Contemplative Judaism
  • Dr. Dean Ornish
    Founder, President, and Director, Preventive Medicine Research Institute
  • Charles Terry
    Philanthropic Advisor
  • Robert A. F. Thurman
    Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies, Columbia University
  • Dr. Andrew Weil
    Professor of Internal Medicine, Director and Founder, the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Founder, National Integrative Medicine Council


Biographies: Staff

Daniel P. Barbezat is Professor of Economics at Amherst College. He has been a visiting professor at Northwestern University and Yale University and has taught in the summer program at Harvard University. In 2004, he won the J. T. Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching Economic History from the Economic History Association.

Over the past decade, he has become interested in how self-awareness and introspection can be used in post-secondary education, economic decision-making and creating and sustaining well-being. With the support of a Contemplative Practice Fellowship in 2008, he has developed courses that integrate contemplative exercises designed to enable students to gain deeper understanding and insight. His approach to these economic classes has been featured in the Boston Globe, the U.S. News & World Report, as well as on the NPR program “Here & Now.”

Dr. Barbezat has worked with the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society–the national hub for contemplative teaching and learning, committed to the positive transformation of the higher education system by supporting the use of contemplative/introspective practices to create engaged learning environments–as a Board Member, Treasurer and Associate Director of the Academic Program since 2009. In 2012, he became the Executive Director of the Center. He has lectured and led workshops on contemplative learning and pedagogy throughout the United States and Canada and is actively working to expand and deepen the Center’s programs, making its work more accessible and transformative for all. His latest book, co-written with Mirabai Bush and published by Jossey-Bass, is Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning.

Mirabai Bush was a co-founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Executive Director until 2008. Under her direction, The Center developed its programs in education, law, business, and activism and its network of thousands of people integrating contemplative practice and perspective into their lives and work.

Mirabai holds a unique background of organizational management, teaching, and spiritual practice. A founding board member of the Seva Foundation, an international public health organization, she directed the Seva Guatemala Project, which supports sustainable agriculture and integrated community development. Also at Seva, she co-developed Sustaining Compassion, Sustaining the Earth, a series of retreats and events for grassroots environmental activists on the interconnection of spirit and action. She is co-author, with Ram Dass, of Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service, published by Random House, and with Daniel Barbezat, Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning, published by Jossey-Bass.

Mirabai has organized, facilitated, and taught workshops, weekends, and courses on spirit and action for more than 20 years at institutions including Omega Institute, Naropa Institute, Findhorne, Zen Mountain Monastery, University of Massachusetts, San Francisco Zen Center, Buddhist Study Center at Barre, MA, Insight Meditation Society, and the Lama Foundation. She has a special interest in the uncovering and recovery of women’s spiritual wisdom to inform work for social change. She has taught women’s groups with Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Sharon Salzberg, Joan Halifax, Margo Adler, Starhawk, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Vicky Noble, and other leaders.

Her spiritual studies include meditation study at the Burmese Vihara in Bodh Gaya, India, with Shri S.N. Goenka and Anagarika Munindra; bhakti yoga with Hindu teacher Neemkaroli Baba; and studies with Tibetan lamas Kalu Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Kyabje Gehlek Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and others. She also did five years of intensive practice in Iyengar yoga and five years of Aikido with Kanai Sensei. Her earlier religious study included 20 years of Catholic schooling, ending with Georgetown University graduate study in medieval literature. She holds an ABD in American literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Before entering the foundation world, Mirabai was the first professional woman to work on the Saturn-Apollo moonflight at Cape Canaveral and later co-founded and directed Illuminations, Inc., from 1973 to 1985 in Cambridge, MA. Her innovative business approaches, based on mindfulness practice, were reported in Newsweek, Inc., Fortune, and the Boston Business Journal. She has also worked on educational programs with inner-city youth of color.

Mirabai has trekked, traveled, and lived in many countries, including Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Nepal, Morocco, Ireland, England, Scotland, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Germany, Austria, Italy, Pakistan, and the Caribbean. She is an organic gardener in Western Massachusetts and the mother of one adult son, Owen.

Carrie Bergman joined the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society in 2000 and, over the past 14 years, has supported numerous events, projects, and initiatives across all of the Center’s program areas.  Currently, her work focuses on resources and communications: creating publications, e-newsletters, websites, and other materials while serving as a sort of “technology facilitator” for the Center and providing support to all its initiatives. She manages The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by the Center. Carrie’s personal connection to contemplative methods as a powerful force for change is rooted in her experience of deeply engaging with introspective practices as an undergraduate. She graduated from Dickinson College with degrees in Studio Arts and Anthropology and worked for Dickinson’s museum and fine arts department before joining the Center’s staff. A multimedia artist and musician, she is particularly interested in facilitating creative expression and exploring art-making as a means of intra- and inter-personal inquiry and transformation.

Jennifer Palmer organizes conferences, workshops, and retreats for the Center, and manages the operation of the ACMHE. She holds an M.Ed. from Westfield State University and a BA in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College, where she was introduced to mindfulness practices. She previously served as Development Coordinator for the ACLU of Massachusetts and was a Program Coordinator for the National Council for Science and the Environment in Washington, DC. A licensed elementary (1-6) educator, her interest in metacognitive development and educational psychology was also deepened by her experience as a tutor and teaching assistant. In addition to her work at the Center, she enjoys hiking, drawing and painting, rock climbing, thinking about thinking, and exploring all the nooks and crannies of the Pioneer Valley with family and friends.

Biographies: Board of Directors

In his business and professional life, Jeff Genung has been both an entrepreneur as well as a senior executive. He co-founded America’s largest collectible art sculpture gallery as well as a technology start up. In addition to founding two companies, he has served as a senior executive for a leading IT asset recovery company and as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for a leading custom mobile solutions provider, developing partnerships with some of the largest companies in the world.

Jeff is an experienced contemplative practitioner. Additionally, he has developed programs to address the contemplative needs associated with those encountering death and loss, created a sacred rite of passage program for young adults, and also developed a contemplative youth programs for K-12.

Jeff received his B.A. from Cornell University and his M.S in theology from Sophia Divinity School. He is an experienced retreat facilitator and teacher of meditative practices. Jeff has also served many years as a hospice volunteer and also co-founded an organization devoted to providing meaningful options for individuals and families dealing with the grief and loss associated with death and dying.

Bradford C. Grant is the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Sciences, and the Director of the School of Architecture and Design at Howard University. He is the former Chairperson and Endowed University Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architecture at Hampton University, Hampton, VA. He received his Master’s degree in Architecture with a focus on social and cultural factors from the University of California at Berkeley. A registered architect, Mr. Grant has extensive experience in housing and community design through his research, teaching and architecture practice as principal of the architecture firm AGWA Architects, Hampton, VA. His research on cultural environmental design practice can be found in his work titled “Accommodation, Resistance and Appropriation in African American Building”, in Craig Barton’s Sites of Memory (Princeton Press, 2000) and in the Directory of African American Architects/Survey of African American Architects, co authored by Dennis Mann (University Cincinnati, 3rd edition released as web site).

Mr. Grant was the Director of Hampton University Department of Architecture Urban Institute, the community design center and a service learning arm of the University. As part of the Urban Institute, Mr. Grant had conducted many urban and community design studies including the North King Street Urban Corridor, Hampton, VA., the Monticello Street Corridor, Norfolk, VA, and the Poindexter Street Commercial Corridor in Chesapeake, VA. along with architecture design assistance work with the City of Virginia Beach’s office of Housing and Community Service. His community design work has earned him the Hampton Clean City Commission Award, a Proclamation of Appreciation from the City of Hampton, the Universal Design Education Award from Adaptive Environments, Boston and Award of Merit from the Virginia Downtown Development Association.

Professor Grant has served as President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA 2001-2004) and was a member of the Board of the Hermitage Foundation, Museum and Slone Collections, Norfolk, VA. He is involved in research, practice and teaching of architecture accessibility and Universal Design, Fair Housing and cultural issues in architecture. He is currently working on or has completed several commissioned projects and planning assignments including the addition the Guiding Light Church, Portsmouth, VA, the Blair Middle School addition, Norfolk, VA and Arbor Music, a site specific environmental sculpture for the Botanical Gardens, Norfolk, VA.

Oliver W. Hill, Jr. is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at Virginia State University specializing in the study of cognition. In addition to his research interests in mindfulness and contemplative practices, he is currently principal investigator on two projects funded by the National Science Foundation studying the efficacy of cognitive training as an intervention to enhance mathematical performance. He is also particularly interested in fostering the concept of quality education as a civil right. Hill has been practicing meditation since 1970, and teaching meditation since 1972.

Since 1981 he has been on the path of Siddha Yoga under the guidance of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. He has designed and taught meditation courses and workshops both nationally and internationally. Hill received his undergraduate training in History at Howard University in Washington, DC, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Carolyn Jacobs is the former Dean and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor of the Smith College School for Social Work; she is also the Director of the Contemplative Clinical Practice Advanced Certificate Program. She has taught primarily within the research and practice sequences of the School. Her areas of professional interest include religion and spirituality in social work practice and organizational behavior. She has written and presented extensively on the topic of spirituality in social work. In 2001 she was elected to the National Academies of Practice as a distinguished social work practitioner.

Dr. Jacobs received her B.A. from Sacramento State University, her M.S.W. from San Diego State University, her doctorate from the Heller School of Brandeis University and her training as a spiritual director from the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. She maintains a spiritual direction practice.

Recent publications include: Jacobs, C. (2007) “Race, ethnicity, and class: A conversation with Hilda Ryūmon Gutiérrez Baldoquín, Sharon Suh, and Arinna Weisman, moderated by Carolyn Jacobs” in (Eds.) Gregory, P. N. and Mrozik, S., Women practicing Buddhism: American experiences. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications; Jacobs, C. (2007) “Spiritual Development” in Lesser, J. G. and Pope, D. S. (Eds.) Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Chapter 8, 188-203. VT: Allyn and Bacon; Jacobs, C. (2006) “Transformation and Kaleidoscope Memories” Smith College Studies in Social Work, 76 (4); and Jacobs, C. (2004) “Spirituality and end-of-life care practice for social workers” in Berzoff, J. & Silverman, P. R. (Eds.) Living with dying: A handbook for end-of-life healthcare practitioners. (pp. 188-205) NY: Columbia University Press.

David Levy holds a PhD from Stanford University in computer science (1979) and a Diploma in calligraphy and bookbinding from the Roehampton Institute, London (1982). For fifteen years (until December, 1999), he was a member of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) where his research focused on the nature of documents and on the tools and practices through which they are created and used. His current research focuses on information and the quality of life. He is the author of “Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age” (Arcade, 2001).

Rhonda V. Magee is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. She earned her J.D. M.A. (Sociology) and B.A. (with Distinction) from the University of Virginia, and was promoted to full tenure at USF in February, 2003. She teaches Torts; Insurance Law and Policy; Racism and Justice in American Legal History; Contemporary Issues of Race and Law and Evolving Notions of (In)equality; Immigration Law and Policy, and, beginning in Spring 2010, Contemplative Lawyering. She has served on the Board of Directors of a number of organizations, including the Center for Youth Development Through Law, the National Coalition Against Crime and Delinquency, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, and the Humanizing Legal Education Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Professor Magee was raised in the South, and was a first-generation college student in her family. Her interests in learning how society “really worked” led her to the study of sociology, where she focused on conflict management, inequality, and qualitative research methods. These studies led to her interest in law school. While in law school, Professor Magee’s interest in restorative justice, reconciliation and the contemporary effects of unredressed historical wrongs led her to publish an article in the Virginia Law Review on the subject of the African American reparations, “The Master’s Tools, From the Bottom Up: African American Reparations Theory in Mainstream and Outsider Remedies Discourse,” 79 Va. L. Rev. 864 (1993), one of the earliest treatments of the topic in a mainstream legal scholarly journal. Though written by Professor Magee while she was a law student, her essay is considered a classic in the field of reparations scholarship. Professor Magee’s current projects in legal education, which include an effort to reorient the study of U.S. Immigration law to underscore its origins in slavery and working to include mindfulness in traditional legal education and law practice, represent the latest iterations of her longstanding commitment to reforming education for the full, completely inclusive and holistic needs of democratic humanity in the 21st century.

Prior to entering academia, Professor Magee practiced law in San Francisco, representing a variety of corporate clients in multi-state complex litigation. Her leadership background includes training as a U.S. Army Officer and serving as a Public Affairs Officer for the Virginia National Guard–where she experienced first hand a sense of common humanity “broad enough to include military soldiers from the South.” Her articles and essays have appeared in publications such as the Law Reviews of the University of Virginia, University of Alabama, Temple Law School, and in the San Francisco Chronicle. Her expansive interests range from a deeper consideration of the history of race and law in America (and the implications of “race” for what it means to be a human being under American law) to working with others to teach law and reform law practice to more bring about more self-reflective, compassionate advocates and community-builders. Her work challenges the limits of the possible regarding “race relations” and coalition-building, pushing for a dismantling altogether of the politics of “Othering” and remaking the world with a commitment to justice for all. She is dedicated to exploring the inter-relationships between law, philosophy and notions of justice and humanity, with a commitment to listening to and re-telling the stories of the impact of law on the lives of traditionally marginalized and subordinated people. She aspires to create her version of what Dr. Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community”–a fully-inclusive world community, capable of managing its conflicts and distributing its resources compassionately, equitably and sustainability through contemplative practice and the power of love.

Paula C. Sager has a BA degree in dance from Bennington College, is a certified Alexander Technique teacher and has practiced Authentic Movement for 20 years. In 1993, she co-founded and served, until 2006, as editor and writer for A Moving Journal, an international publication featuring articles, stories, poetry, and art. Her long-time teaching practice focuses on the role of movement and kinesthetic awareness in supporting cognition, creativity, and presence.

In 2008, she received a degree from the Barfield School at Sunbridge College for Witness Consciousness and the Development of the Individual. Paula is co-author with Lizbeth Hamlin of Red Thread, Two Women, (2006) published by Pacific Editions in a limited and handcrafted edition by book artist, Charles Hobson.

Her interest in the applications of movement-based and contemplative learning led to co-founding The Mariposa Center of which she is board president. Mariposa, a non-profit education and social justice initiative, is one of only seven state-wide program providers for the Rhode Island Department of Education’s PreK Demonstration Project. Mariposa’s goal is to create a nurturing learning environment that supports creativity, growth, and friendship among children in partnership with families and community.

Linda Slakey is a graduate of Siena Heights College (B.S. in Chemistry), and the University of Michigan (Ph.D. in Biochemistry.) She did postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Slakey was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1973. Her scientific work focused on lipid metabolism and vascular biology, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the National Science Foundation.

She was Head of the Department of Biochemistry from 1986 until 1991, and Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) from 1993 until 2000. From September of 2000 through August of 2006, she was Dean of Commonwealth College, the honors college of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As Dean of NSM and of Commonwealth College she was active in supporting teaching and learning initiatives throughout the University, with particular attention to engaging undergraduate students in research, to faculty development activities that promote the transition from lecturing to more engaged pedagogies, and to the support of research on how students learn. She served at the National Science Foundation from 2006 through 2011, as the Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education, and as a Senior Staff Associate in the Office of the Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources. At present she has a consulting practice in Washington, DC, focused on bringing about a shift in the culture of undergraduate teaching from one in which lecture is an acceptable norm toward one characterized by personal and institutional expectations of more student-centered teaching practices.

Dr. Slakey was a Dominican Sister, a member of the congregation whose motherhouse is in Adrian, Michigan, from 1956 to 1969. She has been a student of Zen, under the direction of Richard Clarke, since the mid-1980’s. Her work as a leader and consultant has been informed by Zen practice, and also by a long standing commitment to the practice of listening with full and open attention.

Arthur Zajonc is president of the Mind & Life Institute, former director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, and a professor emeritus of physics at Amherst College, where he taught beginning in 1978. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan. He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and the Universities of Rochester and Hannover. He has been Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics he researched electron-atoms collision physics and radiative transfer in dense vapors. His research has included studies in parity violation in atoms, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between sciences, the humanities and contemplation. He has written extensively on Goethe’s science. He is author of the books Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry, Catching the Light, co-author of The Quantum Challenge, and co-editor of Goethe’s Way of Science. In 1997 he served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue with H.H. the Dalai Lama published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Oxford 2004). He again organized the 2002 dialogue with the Dalai Lama, “The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life,” and acted as moderator at MIT for the “Investigating the Mind” dialogue in 2003 (see www.mindandlife.org). He has also been General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America (1994-2002), president of the Lindisfarne Association, and a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute.

Biographies: Advisory Council

James Autry is former Senior Vice President of Meredith Corporation and past President of its Magazine Group, a 500 million dollar operation with over 900 employees. He directed the operation of 22 special interest publications and 14 magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal and Metropolitan Home. Mr. Autry has also been active in many civic and charitable organizations and most notably has worked with disability rights groups for 25 years. He served as chairman of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of America. Other involvement has included his work with the White House Conference on Families, and the Des Moines Symphony. He is a founder of the Des Moines National Poetry Festival. He fulfilled his military service as a jet fighter pilot in Europe during the cold war. He holds three honorary degrees and in 1991, the University of Missouri-Columbia awarded him the Missouri Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service in Journalism, an award given for a long track record of excellence. Jim is the author of six published books, the most recent (Spring 1998) of which is Real Power: Business Lessons from the Tao Te Ching. In this unusual and exciting collaboration, Mr. Autry has worked with well-known poet and translator Stephen Mitchell in a business leadership interpretation of Mr. Mitchell’s best-selling translation of the Tao Te Ching of Lao-tzu.

Rachel Bagby, J.D., author of Divine Daughters, is a vocal artist, poet, composer, ecological activist, and mountain’s daughter. Bagby studied the nexus of belief and value systems, societal behavioral codes, and social change at Stanford Law School, from which she graduated in 1983. Her works articulate the challenges and joys of cultivating “homefulness:” restorative relationships between nature and culture. She’s contributed articles to several anthologies, including “Nature and the Human Spirit: Toward an Expanded Land Management Ethic” (Venture Publishing, State College, PA, 1995); “Circles of Strength: Community Alternatives to Alienation” (New Society Publishing, Phila., PA 1993); “Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism” (Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, CA 1990); and “Healing the Wounds” (New Society Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA: 1989).

Anne Bartley is President and Trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund and a founding Board Member of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

Leroy Little Bear is a member of the Small Robes Band of the Blood Indian Tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy, born and raised on the Blood Indian Reserve. From 1975 to the end of 1996, Dr. Little Bear was a professor in the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge. In January of 1998 Dr. Little Bear became the Director of the Harvard University Native American Program. Dr. Little Bear has served in a legal and consultant capacity to many Indian Tribes, and organizations including the Blood Tribe, Indian Association of Alberta, and the Assembly of First Nations of Canada. His research interests include the study and comparison of Indigenous and Western sciences as pathways to knowledge.

Robert Coles is a child psychiatrist, professor at Harvard University, and author of more than fifty books. He is best known for his explorations of children’s lives and books that explore their moral, political, and spiritual sensibilities. He is also known as an eloquent spokesman for voluntary and community service–the subject of his recent book, A Call to Service. In addition, he has written literary criticism, numerous biographies, reviews, poetry, social commentary, several children’s books, and regular columns for the New Republic, New Oxford Review, and American Poetry Review.

Rachel Cowan grew up in a Unitarian family in Boston. Her New England Roots trace back to the Mayflower . She received her BA in Sociology from Bryn Mawr, and her M.S.S. from the University of Chicago. After 16 years of marriage to the late writer, Paul Cowan, she converted to Judaism. She was ordained at HUC-JIR in New York in 1989.

Rachel and Paul are the co-authors of the books, Mixed Blessings: Untangling The Knots In an Interfaith Marriage and A Torah is Written.

Rabbi Cowan has spent many years leading workshops for interfaith couples and speaking out on the need for Jewish communities to be more open to non-Jewish spouses and to encourage their commitment to Judaism. She has worked for a number of years to support religious pluralism, social justice and environmental protection in Israel. Rabbi Cowan has previously served as the Director of the Jewish Life and Values Program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York. Her interests also include Jewish healing and Jewish contemplative practice. She completed the two-year Mindfulness Leaders Training Program at Elat Chayyim with Sylvia Boorstein. She leads classes and weekend retreats on Jewish contemplative practice. She was twice named to the Forward’s Top Fifty list of Jewish leaders.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chick-SENT-me high”), a Hungarian-born polymath and the Davidson Professor of Management at the Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California has been thinking about the meaning of happiness since a child in wartime Europe.

His research and theories in the psychology of optimal experience have revolutionized psychology, and have been adopted in practice by national leaders such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair as well as top members of the global executive elite who run the world’s major corporations. Csikszentmihalyi is the author of several popular books about his theories, the bestselling Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience; The Evolving Self: A Psychology For The Third Millennium; Creativity; and Finding Flow. The Wall Street Journal has listed Flow among the six books “every well-stocked business library should have.”

Rev. Harlon Dalton is Emeritus Professor of Law at Yale Law School where he taught courses in Aids Law, law and theology, Civil procedure, law and psychology and critical race theory. He is also Assistant Rector of the Episcopal Church of Saint Paul and Saint James in New Haven, Connecticut where he is postulant for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church and Vice President of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company.

After receiving his A.B., from Harvard University (1969) and J.D., from Yale University (1973) Harlon’s professional commitment to combating discrimination began while serving as Law Clerk to U.S. District Judge Robert L. Carter. Judge Carter is known for having provided council for the NAACP in the Brown vs. Board of Education trial. Harlon then worked for the Legal Action Center, a law and policy organization that fights discrimination against people with histories of addiction, AIDS, and criminal records (1973-79). Then, as Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States he helped to supervise and conduct government litigation in the United States Supreme Court (1979-1981). He has also worked for the Center for Legal Ed. And Urban Policy at CUNY (1979).

Harlon is a member of the Board of Directors of American Civil Liberties Union, Legal Action Center, and Legal Affairs. He is author of Racial Healing: Confronting the Fear between Blacks and Whites, 1995; AIDS Law Today: A New Guide for the Public (ed. With S. Burris and J.Mill), 1993; and AIDS and the Law (ed. with S. Burris), 1987.

Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) taught and conducted research at the Department of Social Relations and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University from 1958 to 1963. While at Harvard, his explorations of human consciousness led him to conduct intensive research with LSD and other psychedelic elements in collaboration with Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, and others. Because of the controversial nature of this research, Ram Dass and Leary were dismissed from Harvard in 1963. Nonplused, he traveled to India’s Himalayas in 1967, studied yoga and meditation with guru Neem Karoli Baba, and transformed into Baba Ram Dass, or servant of God.

Since then, he has pursued a variety of spiritual practices and has written many books, including Be Here Now (1971) and Journey of Awakening (1990). In 1974, Ram Dass created the Hanuman Foundation, which has developed many projects, including the Prison-Ashram Project, designed to help inmates grow spiritually during incarceration. He also helped develop the “Living/Dying Project”, with Stephen Levine which provides support for the conscious dying. In 1978 Ram Dass co-founded and became a board member of the Seva Foundation, an international organization dedicated to relieving suffering in the world.

Ram Dass suffered a serious stroke in 1997 and is recovering. “The stroke made me aware of silence,” he said. “Of the vulnerability of my body…how fragile my faith is.” His latest book, Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying (2000), examines conscious aging. “The next message you need,” he advises, “is right where you are.”

Marian R. David is the director of Sustaining the Soul that Serves. She worked as a consultant with the Fetzer Institute from 1997 to 2000 to develop the project. Prior to this, she worked for six years with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) as director of Freedom Schools; director of the CDF-Bennettsville, South Carolina Educational and Youth Leadership Development Project, and curriculum writer for Freedom Schools. In 1996, Marian was selected as a Community Fellow in the Department of Urban Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There she worked to develop a project to incorporate spiritual renewal practices into youth programs, which subsequently became the foundation for her current work. Marian has had over 12 years of experience in the public schools as a teacher, guidance and career counselor.

Richard Davidson is Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Research in his laboratory is focused on cortical and subcortical substrates of emotion and affective disorders, including depression and anxiety. He studies normal adults and young children, and those with, or at risk for, affective and anxiety disorders. He uses quantitative electrophysiology, positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to make inferences about patterns of regional brain function. A major focus of his current work is on interactions between prefrontal cortex and the amygdala in the regulation of emotion in both normal subjects and patients with affective and anxiety disorders.

He has published more than 250 articles, chapters and reviews, and has edited 13 books. Dr. Davidson was the founding co-editor of the new American Psychological Association journal, EMOTION, and is also past-president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology and of the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

In 2000, he was recipient of the most distinguished award for science given by the American Psychological Association – the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award. In 2003 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2004 he was elected to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006. In 2006, he was also awarded the first Mani Bhaumik Award by UCLA for advancing the understanding of the brain and conscious mind in healing.

Michael Edwards is one of the world’s leading authorities on civil society and social change. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos: A Network for Ideas and Action in New York, a Senior Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at Manchester University in the UK. From 1999 to 2008 he was the Director of the Governance and Civil Society Program at the Ford Foundation in New York, and also co-founded the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation.

Prior to joining the Ford Foundation he was the World Bank’s Senior Adviser on Civil Society in Washington DC, where he led a program designed to improve the agency’s understanding of, and engagement with, a wide range of civic groups. Before moving to the World Bank, Michael spent 15 years as a senior manager in international relief and development NGOs, including periods with Oxfam-UK (as Regional Director for Southern Africa), and Save the Children-UK (as Director of Research, Evaluation and Advocacy). He has lived and worked in Colombia, Mexico, Zambia, Malawi, India, the UK and the USA.

Michael’s many books and articles have helped to shape our thinking about philanthropy, civil society, social transformation and international cooperation, and to break down barriers between researchers and activists across the world. He graduated from Oxford University with a congratulatory double-first and was awarded a PhD by the University of London for his work on low-income housing markets in Latin America. He lives with his wife Cora (a non-profit fundraising consultant) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and in Swan Lake in upstate New York, where they are renovating one of the first houses built by settlers in Sullivan County.

Howard Gardner is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments. During the past fifteen years, he and colleagues at Project Zero have been working on the design of performance-based assessments, education for understanding, and the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curricula, instruction, and assessment. Most recently, Gardner has been carrying out intensive case studies of exemplary creators and leaders; he and colleagues on the Good Work Project have launched an investigation of the relationship between cutting-edge work in different domains and a sense of social responsibility. Gardner is also chairman of the steering committee of Project Zero and adjunct professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. Gardner is the author of eighteen books and several hundred articles.

Rimpoche Ngawang Gehlek, a Tibetan refugee since 1959, gave up monastic life to better serve the lay community of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners. He has edited and printed over 170 volumes of rare Tibetan manuscripts that would have otherwise been lost to humanity, and continuously worked to preserve Tibetan culture during this time of communist persecution.

In the late 1970s, Gehlek Rimpoche was directed by both the Senior and Junior Tutors to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kyabje Ling Rimpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rimpoche, to begin teaching Western students. Since that time he has taught Buddhist practitioners throughout the world. He is an example of kindness, generosity, good humor and inspirational insight. He is particularly distinguished for his thorough knowledge of English, his familiarity with modern culture, and his special effectiveness as a teacher to Western practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism.

Daniel Goleman consults internationally and lectures frequently. He is founder of Emotional Intelligence Services, an affiliate of the Hay Group in Boston. A psychologist who for many years reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times, Dr. Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books), argues that human competencies like self-awareness, self-discipline, persistence and empathy are of greater consequence than IQ in much of life, that we ignore the decline in these competencies at our peril, and that children can–and should–be taught these abilities. Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half, with more than 5,000,000 copies in print and was translated into nearly 30 languages. Dr. Goleman is a co-founder of the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center (now at the University of Illinois at Chicago), with the mission to help schools introduce emotional literacy courses. Dr. Goleman is co-chairman of The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University. Dr. Goleman has received two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize for his articles in the Times, and a Career Achievement award for journalism from the American Psychological Association. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Goleman received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard in clinical psychology and personality development.

Amy Gross is the former editor-in-chief of O, the Oprah Magazine. Before joining O, The Oprah Magazine, Gross was a writer for a wide variety of magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine, Talk, Mademoiselle and Modern Maturity, where she also served as an editorial consultant. From 1988-1993 she was a founding editor of Mirabella. She went on to serve as Mirabella‘s editor-in-chief from 1995-1997. She also concurrently served as editorial director of Elle magazine from 1993-1996, overseeing its redesign. Earlier, Gross was features editor and special projects editor of Vogue, where she worked for 10 years (1978-1988). With Dee Ito, she has co-authored two books: Women Talk about Breast Surgery: From Diagnosis to Recovery (1990) and Women Talk about Gynecological Surgery: From Diagnosis to Recovery (1991). Gross is also a student of meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg.

Paul Hawken is a business leader, environmentalist, and author. He is considered one of the leading architects and proponents of corporate reform with respect to ecological practices. Paul Hawken founded several natural foods companies in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He went on to co-found Smith & Hawken, the retail and catalog company in 1979, Metacode, a content management software company, in 1995, and in 2000, Groxis, a software company providing enterprises and individuals information navigation, visualization, and organization capabilities. He has written such bestselling books as The Ecology of Commerce and Growing a Business. The latter became the basis of a PBS series that has aired in 115 countries. Paul Hawken served as co-chair of The Natural Step-International, a non-profit educational foundation whose purpose is to develop and share a common framework comprised of easily understood, scientifically based principles that can serve as a basis to move society toward sustainability. The Natural Step assists business and government leaders throughout the world in establishing a long-term commitment to environmental sustainability as a core part of their overall policies. He has served on the board of many environmental and nonprofit organizations, including Point Foundation (publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog), the Center for Plant Conservation, Conservation International, the Trust for Public Land, and the National Audubon Society.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the nationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Since 1979, the clinic has served more than 11,000 patients in the form of an eight-week long course. Prominently featured in the Bill Moyers’ PBS special “Healing and the Mind” in 1993, the clinic and its research has continually demonstrated that most participants in its programs achieve long-lasting improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms, as well as major positive changes in health attitudes and behaviors. Kabat-Zinn is the author of the best-selling Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness and Wherever You Go, There You Are.

Fr. Thomas Keating is a Cistercian monk and former abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts. He is the former president of the Temple of Understanding, the founder of Contemplative Outreach and the Snowmass Interfaith Conference, and the former chair of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. Fr. Keating is the author of numerous books and articles on Christian contemplative practice and on dialogue with other religions.

Joan Konner is Professor and Dean Emerita of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She served as Dean from 1988-1997 and as Publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review from 1988-1999.

Before going to Columbia, Ms. Konner worked in both public and commercial television for 26 years. During that time she produced and wrote more than 50 documentaries and served as Executive Producer of several major public affairs series. Her work has been honored by almost every major award for broadcast journalism, including 16 Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Television and Radio. As President and Executive Producer of Public Affairs Television Inc., in partnership with Bill Moyers from 1986-1988, Ms. Konner produced Moyers: In Search Of The Constitution, God And Politics, and Joseph Campbell And The Power Of Myth.

During her 12 years as a writer, director and producer with NBC News from 1965-1977, she produced such documentaries as Danger! Radioactive Waste; Mary Jane Grows Up; Marijuana In The 70’s; Of Women And Men; The Search For Something Else and New World Hard Choices: American Foreign Policy In 1976. In recognition of her body of work, she was awarded the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s Alumni Award in 1975 and the New Jersey Press Women’s Association Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in 1990.

In 1977, Ms. Konner joined WNET/13, public television in New York, as Executive producer for National Public Affairs Programs. She served as Executive Producer of Bill Moyers Journal until 1981. From 1981 to 1984, she was Vice President, Director of Programming and Executive Producer for the Metropolitan Division of WNET/13. Among the programs she conceived and produced were New York & Co; Hizzoner; My New York; Walt Whitman And Friends; Innovation and Currents. Under her leadership, the station earned numerous honors, including 11 Emmy Awards.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Ms. Konner began her journalism career as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for The (Bergen) Record, Hackensack, NJ. For 10 years, she served as chairman of the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards, as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board and as a juror for the National Magazine Awards. She is currently chair of the John Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Reporting. She also served as an advisor to the Markle Commission on the Media and the Electorate and on several committees of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Ms. Konner has also been a Trustee of Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, the Rockland Center for the Arts, Radio and Television News Director’s Foundation and the Religion Newswriters Foundation. At present she is a Board member of the Providence Journal, Providence, RI. She is also a trustee of the Florence and John Schumann Foundation.

Michael Lerner is the president and founder of Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, California, near San Francisco. He is the co-founder with Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, a week-long residential support program for people with cancer, featured on Bill Moyers’ PBS series “Healing and the Mind.” He is also president and co-founder of Smith Farm, a center for the healing arts in Washington, D.C., which offers the Cancer Help Program on the East Coast.

Lerner is the author of Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches to Cancer, from MIT Press. He is also deeply engaged with environment and health issues. A former member of the Yale faculty, he received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship for contributions to public health in 1983. He also works with several foundations.

Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man is a writer, religious guide and spiritual counselor. He is founder and former president of Metivta: a center for contemplative Judaism, which is dedicated to the renewal of the Jewish wisdom tradition and to the deepening of personal religious quest. Metivta is a continuation of Jonathan Omer-Man’s life-long work as a guide and mentor to Jews who feel that their Judaic religious and spiritual needs have not been met within the traditional forms available to them.

He has lectured at universities, colleges, and seminaries throughout the United States. In 1990 he visited the Dalai Lama in India, a journey that was described in Rodger Kamenetz’ best-selling book, The Jew in the Lotus. His work and ideas are also described in some detail in Kamenetz’ most recent work, Stalking Elijah: Adventures with Today’s Jewish Mystical Masters. For more than 25 years Jonathan Omer-Man lived in Jerusalem, where he worked and studied with some of the greatest contemporary Jewish teachers–including Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and Professor Gershom Scholem–and was editor and publisher of Shefa Quarterly, a prestigious journal of Jewish thought and study. He was also revising editor of the Encyclopaedia Judaica. Among his published writings are numerous articles about spirituality and mysticism in the Jewish tradition, and some verse and fiction.

Dean Ornish, MD, is the founder, president, and director of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, where he holds the Safeway Chair. He is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Ornish received his medical training from the Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He received a B.A. in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.

For the past 28 years, Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. He is the author of five best-selling books, including New York Times’ bestsellers Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, Eat More, Weigh Less, and Love & Survival. He recently directed the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer.

The research that he and his colleagues conducted has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Circulation, The New England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Cardiology, and elsewhere. A one-hour documentary of their work was broadcast on NOVA, the PBS science series, and was featured on Bill Moyers’ PBS series, Healing & The Mind. Their work has been featured in virtually all major media, including cover stories in Newsweek, Time, and U.S. News & World Report.

Dr. Ornish is a member of the boards of directors of the U.S. United Nations High Commission on Refugees, the Quincy Jones We Are the Future Foundation, and the Wheelchair Foundation. He was appointed to The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and elected to the California Academy of Medicine.

He has received several awards, including the 1994 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the University of Texas, Austin, the Jan J. Kellermann Memorial Award for distinguished contribution in the field of cardiovascular disease prevention from the International Academy of Cardiology, the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement, a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association, the Beckmann Medal from the German Society for Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Diseases, and a U.S. Army Surgeon General Medal. Dr. Ornish has been a physician consultant to The White House and to several bipartisan members of the U.S. Congress. He is listed in Who’s Who in Healthcare and Medicine, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World.

Dr. Ornish was recognized as “one of the most interesting people of 1996” by People magazine, featured in the “TIME 100” issue on alternative medicine, and chosen by LIFE magazine as “one of the 50 most influential members of his generation.”

Charles Terry is currently President of Terry-MacGregor Associates, Vice Chairman of the Whidbey Institute and Director of the Project on Wealth and Philanthropy, and an Associate of Family Philanthropy Advisors. He was formerly Director of Philanthropy at the Rockefeller Family Office and Rockefeller Financial Services in New York City, and as President of The Philanthropic Collaborative, a public charity developed by the family office to promote and facilitate philanthropy for individuals and families. In these positions, he was responsible for advising and overseeing approximately $60 million of grantmaking annually.

Charles has had extensive experience in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, serves and has served as a trustee and advisor to a number of charitable trusts, foundations and nonprofit boards, has served as Chairman of the Council on Foundations Annual Family Foundations Conference, was a director of the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers, and has been a speaker, consultant, and facilitator at conferences, professional meetings, family and foundation meetings.

Prior to his work with the Rockefeller family, Mr. Terry was Vice President of the International Center for Integrative Studies, a nonprofit organization promoting greater communication and collaboration among leaders in diverse disciplines, and served as an ICIS delegate to the United Nations. Prior to that, he helped to found and served for 10 years as the Executive Director of The Door – A Center of Alternatives, an internationally recognized multi-service health, education and arts center for youth, serving 5,000 inner city teenagers annually.

Charles is an honors graduate of both Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. Following law school, he practiced law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison in New York City, and subsequently practiced urban, community and poverty law in New York. For eight years he was a Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, where he founded and directed the Urban Law Clinical Program.

Robert A. F. Thurman holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. After education at Philips Exeter and Harvard, he studied Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism for almost thirty years as a personal student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has written both scholarly and popular books, and has lectured widely all over the world. His special interest is the exploration of the Indo-Tibetan philosophical and psychological traditions, with a view to their relevance to parallel currents of contemporary thought and science.

Dr. Andrew Weil is a leader in the integration of Western medicine and the exploding field of alternative medicine. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he teaches at the University of Arizona in Tucson, specializing in alternative medicine, mind/body interactions and medical botany. He is the founder of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, where he is training a new generation of physicians. Dr. Weil is the author of seven books: The Natural Mind (1972), The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon (1980), From Chocolate to Morphine (with Winifred Rosen, 1983), Health and Healing (1984), Natural Health, Natural Medicine (1990), Spontaneous Healing (1995) and his most recent best-seller, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health.