Invited Speakers

Olga Klimecki

Technische Universität Dresden

Olga Klimecki, PhD, is a neuroscientist and psychologist. She is privatdocent in Psychology at the University of Jena and will temporarily hold the chair of Biological Psychology at the Technische Universität Dresden from April 2024. Her research focuses on the promotion of mental and physical health, as well as the peaceful resolution of conflicts through meditation-based intervention. Olga (co-) authored over 80 publications and has received several grants and awards. She is co-prinicpal investigator of the longest meditation study to date – the Medit-Ageing / Silver Santé study. Olga also teaches mindfulness meditation in institutions and corporations around the world.

Bret Davis

Loyola University, Maryland

Bret W. Davis is Professor and Higgins Chair in Philosophy at Loyola University Maryland, USA. In addition to attaining a Ph.D. in philosophy at Vanderbilt University, he lived for more than a dozen years in Japan, where he studied Buddhism and modern Japanese philosophy while practicing Rinzai Zen. He was authorized to teach Zen by Kobayashi Gentoku Rōshi, abbot of Shōkokuji monastery in Kyoto. His recent publications include Real Zen for Real Life (Great Courses), The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Philosophy (Oxford University Press), and Zen Pathways: An Introduction to the Philosophy and Practice of Zen Buddhism (Oxford University Press).

Rhonda Magee

University of San Francisco School of Law

Professor Rhonda V. Magee is a teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction interventions for lawyers, law students, and for minimizing social-identity-based bias. A full-time faculty member at University of San Francisco since 1998, and a full professor since 2004, she has been named Dean’s Circle Research Scholar, served as co-director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, and co-facilitator of the Ignatian Faculty Forum faculty development program. She teaches Torts; Race, Law and Policy; and courses in Contemplative and Mindful Law and Law Practice. 

Anne Klein

Rice University

Anne Carolyn Klein/Rigzin Drolma, is Professor and a former Chair of the Department of Religion, Rice University, where she helped developed a contemplative studies concentration for graduate students. Co-founder of the Dawn Mountain Center for Tibetan Buddhism. She is a Lama in the Nyingma (ancient) Buddhist tradition. Her central thematic interest is the embodied interaction between head and heart across a spectrum of Buddhist theories of cognitive and somatic knowing. She participates also in the emerging field of micro-phenomenology where the juxtaposition of philosophical, scientific, and experiential research promises a fresh way of bridging traditional and contemporary cultures’ ways of knowing.

Sarah Shaw

Oxford University

Sarah Shaw is a Part-time lecturer for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education, and a Faculty Member of the Oriental Institute.

Her research interests include:

  • Early Buddhist (Pāli) suttas and Abhidhamma material on meditation
  • Early Buddhist narrative: literary features of Jātakas and Dhammapada stories
  • Indian and Asian influences on British nineteenth-century writers
  • Modern South and Southeast Asian Buddhist ritual, chant and meditation

    Franz Vollenweider

    University of Zürich

    Franz X. Vollenweider is Co-Director of the Center for Psychiatric Research, Director of the Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging Unit, and Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, University of Zurich. He is also the Director of the Heffter Research Center Zurich for Consciousness Studies (HRC-ZH), which he founded in 1998 and incorporated in his research group. His research interest is focused on the neuronal basis of affective and psychotic disorders as well as the foundations of psychedelic and non-psychedelic-induced altered mental states using concepts from cognitive neuroscience and systems biology (PET, fMRT/EE, MRS, ERP; TMS-EEG). 

    Claire Petitmengin

    Emeritus Professor Institut Mines-Telecom Business School, Paris

    Claire Petitmengin’s research focuses on the usually unrecognized dynamics of lived experience and “micro-phenomenological” methods enabling us to become aware of it and highlight its essential structures. She studies the epistemological conditions of these methods, as well as their educational, therapeutic, artistic and contemplative applications. She is currently especially interested in the links between the ecological crisis and our blindness to our lived experience. 

    Josipa Mihic

    University of Zagreb

    Josipa Mihić is an associate professor at the Department of Behavioral Disorders at the study programme of Social Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb. She is a co-founder of the Laboratory for Prevention Research (PrevLab – https://www.erf.unizg.hr/hr/about-us/organization/institute/prevlab) within which she researches risk behaviors, emotional and social competencies in children and youth, the effect of contemplative practices (mindfulness) on mental health and positive development, and the role of self-compassion and compassion in preventing behavioral problems and promoting mental health with the application of psychophysiological measures, passive mobile sensing and ecological momentary assessment. 

    Christian Suhr

    Aarhus University

    Christian Suhr is a filmmaker and professor of visual and multimodal anthropology at Aarhus University. He is the PI of the ERC project: “Heart Openings: The Experience and Cultivation of Love in Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam” (2021-26). His recent film Light upon light (Suhr and Lotfy 2022) explores religious experiences of luminosity and love in post-revolutionary Egypt. He is also the author of the award-winning film and book Descending with angels (Manchester University Press 2019) about jinn possession, Islamic exorcism, and psychiatry. Suhr’s edited work includes the books Transcultural montage (Berghahn 2013) and When the media sets the agenda (DJØF 2021).

    Andreas Weber

    Independent philosopher

    Dr. Andreas Weber is a biologist, philosopher and nature writer. He focuses on a re-evaluation of our understanding of the living. He proposes to view – and treat – all organisms as subjects and hence the biosphere as a meaning-creating and poetic reality. Andreas is Visiting Professor at the UNISG, Pollenzo, Italy and teaches at the University of the Arts, Berlin. He contributes to major German newspapers and magazines and has published more than fifteen books, in English language most recently Enlivenment. A Poetics for the Anthropocene, MIT Press, 2019 and Sharing Life. The Ecopolitics of Reciprocity, Boell Foundation, 2020.

    Shirley Telles

    Patanjali Research Foundation

    Shirley Telles, MBBS, PhD, is a research consultant at Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India, where she studies the physiological effects of yoga, especially yoga breathing, and higher states of consciousness induced by meditation.  She has over 200 research articles indexed in bibliographic databases and authored seven books. In the course of her career she has received awards from the Templeton Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation and the Indian Council of Medical Research.  Dr. Telles is an enthusiastic yoga practitioner.

    Marcello Ghilardi

    University of Padova

    Marcello Ghilardi, PhD, is Associate Professor of Aesthetics and of Philosophy of Interculturality at the University of Padova, where he is also vice-director of the Master program in Contemplative Studies and member of the research groups HermAes (Hermeneutics and Aesthetics) and Mushin’en (on Intercultural Philosophy). Among his books: Filosofia dell’interculturalità (2012); Il vuoto, le forme, l’altro (2014); The Line of the Arch. Intercultural Issues between Aesthetics and Ethics (2015); The Bloomsbury Research Book on Chinese Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art (with H.-G. Moeller, 2021).

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