European Summer Research Institute

The European Summer Research Institute (ESRI) is an event initiated by Mind & Life Europe bringing together around 120 scientists and practitioners in a unique retreat setting.

 

ESRI 2022 will take place from August 22nd to 26th at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute in Pomaia, Italy.  

 

The application deadline for ESRI 2022 and the MLE Retreat has now passed. Thank you for all of your applications - they were a joy to read. 

 

Contents 

What is ESRI?

Cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration

ESRI is a summer school that aims to promote, connect and build the community of contemplative science in Europe, with a focus on young researchers. The program features active contemplative practice (especially from the Buddhist traditions), interdisciplinary scholarly presentations and dialogue, networking opportunities, as well as inquiry through first-person experience. Scientists, educators, professionals, and researchers working in this field come together as a community to share ideas, experiences, and knowledge from their lives and work, and to collaborate with the intention of training a new generation of interdisciplinary scholars and researchers.

Attendees of the ESRI are eligible to apply for the European Varela Awards for Contemplative research. Click here for more information about the European Varela Awards (EVAs). The application period of the EVA 2022 cycle starts this fall and will be announced via our MLE website, newsletter and social media at time.

ESRI 2022: “Learning with Others: Living Connection and Transmission”

 

Since 2020, the European Summer Research Institute (ESRI) has embarked on a three-year exploration of the theme of knowledge – knowledge as understood as alive, emergent, embodied, and enactive; knowledge that is born of the “rubbing” between Western science and the Eastern wisdom traditions. The 2020 online ESRI, “Grounding Knowledge in Uncertainty,” responded to the challenge of the global pandemic by investigating our stance toward uncertainty and asking how we perceive and know in this emergent world, particularly as it is mediated through technology. The 2021 online ESRI, “Care for Life: Enacting Knowledge in an Interdependent and Uncertain World,” focused on how knowledge is transformed into action and why there has long been a disjuncture between knowing and effective action in response to global crises. Now in 2022, we are ready to reconvene in person and ask ourselves, appropriately enough, how live transmission and embodied connection at once mediate our relationship to learning and knowing and form a knowledge base unto themselves.

This year’s ESRI will offer a unique opportunity to enact the various ways of learning and knowing that we will investigate together: eros and human connection; embeddedness in the more-than-human world; listening and co-creation; and transmission, lineage, and expertise. Much as a pilgrimage asks – almost demands – of the pilgrim to abandon certainty and be willing to be transformed, this ESRI, which will take place at the Lama Tzong Khapa Tibetan Buddhist monastery (Pomaia, Italy), will invite participants to enter a space of “beginner’s mind” and cultivate the sensitivity and humility that allow researchers to ask truly alive and probing questions. It will be a space for scientists and educators, philosophers and psychologists, artists and contemplatives, who are interested in knowledge as a transformative and relational process and in participatory sense-making in the broadest possible sense. In addition to the more traditional theoretical exchanges, there will be ample space for practice, whether in the form of contemplation, activities in nature, dance and movement, or artistic co-creations.

We hope that you will consider applying this year and participating in the co-emergence of this unique exploration of learning and transmission.

Mind & Life Europe will be parterning with the  Institutio Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK) and the Italian Buddhist Union for the European Summer Research Institute 2022 and the MLE Retreat. We are pleased to announce this event partnership with ITLK and the Italian Buddhist Union, and we look forward to jointly hosting the two events later this summer. 

 

Alongside ESRI 2022, Mind & Life Europe is also arranging an in-person MLE Retreat at the same venue, from August 26th - 28th, 2022. You can find out more about the retreat here.

ESRI 2022 Narrative

 

ESRI 2022 will open with an immersion in the more-than-human. Focusing on the more-than-human as the space for learning with others means exploring our shared aliveness and our awareness of being at home in an interdependent network of living and dying. Instead of starting from the human perspective and achieving the more-than-human as a result, we will take the more-than-human as the opening and primary framework, as the whole that embraces and nurtures all living beings.

On the second day, we will explore another feature of this wider perspective, namely, the temporal dimension of transmission, lineage, and expertise. The extended temporality of learning through the transmission of expertise will help us to dive into the roots of knowledge and to imagine the future arc  of our learning experiences in the here and now. Taking place in a Buddhist center, ESRI 2022 will navigate the temporality of transmission as embedded in a place and enacted by a community of practitioners. This situated perspective on transmission and lineage will be the starting point for exploring other learning traditions as well, making room for multiple forms of practice.

From this wider perspective of the embracing whole and extended temporality in the first two days, we will move into the inner space of contemplative practice on the third day. As in a pilgrimage, we stop in some places to restore ourselves, and so on the third day, we have set aside ample time and space to come back to ourselves. This grounding of our embodied first-person experience will be the springboard for opening ourselves to our connections with others and learning from, with, and through others in the two days that follow.

On the fourth and fifth days, we will do an in-depth exploration of two specific modalities of learning with others by opening to others. On the fourth day, focusing on Eros and human connection, we will explore in its affective dimension the energy that creates learning communities. We will investigate human connection in its felt quality, as the erotic power that allows self and other to undergo positive transformations.

To close the program on the fifth day, we will explore listening as a genuine means of opening to ourselves, to others, and to our situated relationships. As the living source of the co-creation of knowledge, listening will be our companion for bringing the insights that we gain from ESRI 2022 into our daily life.

 

Giovanna Colombetti

Giovanna Colombetti is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology of the University of Exeter (UK). She was educated in Italy and the UK, and after getting a DPhil from Sussex in 2004, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the universities of York (Canada), Trento (Italy), and Harvard. Since 2007 she has worked and lived in Exeter, temporarily visiting various research centers in Europe, Australia, and Asia. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of philosophy of cognitive science (especially embodied and situated cognition), philosophy of emotion, phenomenology, and material culture studies. She has worked in particular on the notions of emotion and affectivity, and on their relation to theories of embodiment, enaction, and extended mind.

Perla Kaliman

Perla Kaliman holds a PhD in Biochemistry. She is a honorary fellow at the Center for Healthy Minds (University of Wisconsin Madison), exploring the gene expression and epigenetic impact of meditation practice. She is an associate professor in Nutrition and Public Health at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, where she teaches nutrigenomics. She collaborates with the NGO "Innocence in Danger Colombia" (IIDC), exploring the psychological and epigenetic benefits of a program to heal trauma in adolescents with a history of multiple adverse childhood experiences. She has published numerous scientific articles, 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 chef Miguel Aguilar (Cocina para tu Mente, 2014, Ed. Blume, Barcelona) and "La ciencia de la meditación: de la mente a los genes" (2017, ed. Kairos, Barcelona).

Etain Addey

Etain Addey (Salisbury UK, 1948) moved from Rome to a small hill farm in the Italian Apennines in 1980 after experiencing the amazing lack of ethics in the pharmaceutical multinational where she worked. With her partner she has looked after twenty hectares of woods, pasture, vines and olives. Raising milk sheep, donkeys and horses, bringing up a family and hosting. Over the last forty years, around ten thousand visitors came to share the fun, take part in the work, and help figure out how to do without a lot of the things that consumer society finds necessary.

Etain is the author of three books of country stories and meditations on the nature of reality, which appeared first in Italian (Una gioia silenziosa, Ellin Selae, 2003; Acque profonde, FioriGialli 2009; La vita della giumenta bianca, Magi Edizioni 2015) and then in English (A Silent Joy, 2010; From the Deep Well, 2016; The Life of the White Mare, 2020, all by Eyebright Books). She ran the local farmer’s market for twenty years and is a founding member of Sentiero Bioregionale, a group whose vision sees human beings as part of the natural world and the home place as the subject with whom to seek a dialogue.

Story-telling is her way of interacting with place and she is a collector of good tales.

Dr. Caroline Barratt

Dr. Caroline Barratt is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Essex. She is interested in qualitative research, particularly narrative methods and phenomenological approaches. In 2014 Caroline first came across the idea of contemplative pedagogy and in response established the Contemplative Pedagogy Network. This connected her interest in meditation and contemplation with her role as educator. She is particularly interested in the potential of contemplative pedagogy in higher education to support and enhance the learning of students and teachers.

Tracy Poelzer

Tracy Poelzer is an Educational Specialist and Trainer at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Education degree from the University of Alberta (both in her native home of Canada). She has a diverse educational background, including experience in both public and indigenous education systems, and from primary school to academic university level. Tracy has worked extensively with new and experienced educational instructors and leaders to provide training and coaching, promote educational innovation, and to model and inspire best practice pedagogy and powerful integration of technology into teaching and learning activities. She has presented keynote addresses, workshops, and presentations to educators across North America, throughout Europe, and in the Philippines. 

 

 

Ven. Gendun Losang

Ven. Losang Gendun is a Dutch buddhist monk, resident teacher of the Maitreya Institute, Amsterdam and visiting teacher of Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, UK, Garuda, Monaco and One-Dharma, Portugal. Having been ordained in 2006, he studied Buddhist philosophy and psychology at the Nalanda Monastery France, after which he spent over four years in solitary retreat in both Tibetan Gelug and Theravada monasteries in France, Nepal, and Burma.

He is currently developing a program for the long-term support of Western meditators, that combines traditional methods and contemporary theory, in collaboration with Nicolas Pellerin, a researcher from Toulouse University, aiming to investigate perceptional and semiotic evolution in long-term meditators.

He is active in interreligious dialogue and practice, working together with Benedictine monastic communities and a Turkish Mevlevi Dargah.

Dr. Joanna Cook

Dr. Joanna Cook is a Reader in Medical Anthropology and former Head of Medical Anthropology at UCL. Her research in Thailand and the UK focuses on meditation practice and why it matters to people. She is the author of Meditation in Modern Buddhism: Renunciation and change in Thai monastic life (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Making a Mindful Nation: Mental health, metacognition and governance in the 21st century (Princeton University Press, Forthcoming). She is also the co-editor of Unsettling Anthropologies of Care (Anthropology & Humanism Special Issue, 2020), The State We’re In: Reflecting on democracy’s troubles (Berghan Books, 2016), Detachment: Essays on the limits of relational thinking (Manchester University Press, 2015) and Southeast Asian Perspectives on Power (Routledge, 2012).

Dr. Andreas Weber

Dr. Andreas Weber is a biologist, philosopher and writer. His work 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 teaches at Berlin University of the Arts, is Visiting Professor at the UNISG, Pollenzo, Italy, and holds an Adjunct Professorship at the IIT, Guwahati, India. He contributes to major German newspapers and magazines and has published more than a dozen books, most recently Enlivenment. A Poetics for the Anthropocene, MIT Press, 2019 and Sharing Life. The Ecopolitics of Reciprocity, Boell Foundation, 2020.

Photo credit: Florian Büttner

Ven Dr. Barry Kerzin

Ven. Dr. Barry Kerzin is medical doctor, Buddhist monk, Adjunct Professor at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, Adjunct Prof. at HKU, and Honorary Prof. at the Mongolian National Univ. of Medical Sciences. He is the founder and president of the Altruism in Medicine Institute (AIMI) and founder and chairman of the Human Values Institute (HVI) in Japan. For 33 years he has been providing free medical care to the poor up to high lamas including HH Dalai Lama. He trains compassion for 18,000 nurses at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Pittsburgh Police, and Pittsburgh Parks and Recreation department. He lectures around the world. Barry has completed a 3-year retreat, and his brain has been studied at Princeton University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has authored four books.

Marc-Henri Deroche (PhD)

Marc-Henri Deroche, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Kyoto University, Japan, where he teaches Buddhist and Tibetan studies. His doctoral dissertation (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, 2011) (forthcoming as Une quête tibétaine de la sagesse: Prajñ?ra?mi et les sources de l’attitude impartiale, Brepols) has shed new lights on the successive revivals of the Nyingma school and the emergence of the Rimé movement in Tibet. His recent and current research focuses on the faculty of mindfulness in close relationship with the development of wisdom, especially according the tradition of Dzogchen, and has appeared in journals such as Asian Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, Eidos, etc. He is the academic editor of the special issue of Religions, titled Study, Reflection, and Cultivation: Integrative Paths to Wisdom from Buddhist and Comparative Perspectives. He is a fellow of the Mind and Life Institute (USA) and leads in Kyoto University the interdisciplinary activities of the Mindful Living Research Group.

Donata Schoeller

Donata Schoeller is a philosopher that has initiated the international research project Embodied Critical Thinking in 2018, together with the philosopher Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir. She now is the Academic Director of TECT (Training in Embodied Critical Thinking), an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership in Higher Education in which five European Universities participate. In the last years, she has been a guest professor at De Paul University in Chicago, a fellow at the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt, and currently is a guest professor at the University of Iceland as well as a senior lecturer at the University of Koblenz.

Holger Yeshe

Holger Yeshe has been practising meditation since 1999. He has been a student of Mingyur Rinpoche since 2005. He was ordained as a monk in 2010 and has been primarily focusing on studying the Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy. He has been a co-leader of Tergar groups in Nepal, Germany, and Dharamsala, India. After living abroad for 17 years, Holger Yeshe is back in Germany to support the Tergar community there.

Julia Cassaniti

Julia Cassaniti is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Washington State University, with a PhD from the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago and postdoctoral research experience as a Culture and Mind Fellow at Stanford University. In her work Dr. Cassaniti explores how religious ideas about the self and the world are incorporated into bodies and minds in transnational Asia. She is the author of Living Buddhism: Mind, Self, and Emotion in a Thai Community (Cornell U. Press, 2015)and Remembering the Present: Mindfulness in Buddhist Asia (Cornell U. Press, 2018), and co-editor of a Special Issue on mindfulness and culture with Joanna Cook in Anthropology Today. Dr. Cassaniti has been increasingly engaged in comparative, collaborative research that connects local and global(izing) conceptions about the mind across cultural contexts, paying special attention to the implications that different views of reality have for living well.

Dr. Laura Candiotto

Dr. Laura Candiotto is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Centre for Ethics of the University of Pardubice, Czech Republic. She is also a Research Fellow of the Intercontinental Academia on “Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence” by UBIAS. Originally from Italy, she moved to Scotland, France, and Germany in the last seven years for carrying out different research projects. Her research focuses on the epistemic role of emotions as embedded in dialogical interactions and communities of inquiry. She has extensively worked on love, wonder, and shame bridging her expertise in the Socratic method of inquiry and the enactive approach to participatory sense-making. She also published on the ethics of knowing with a virtue theoretical approach to epistemic responsibility. She is now exploring the intertwining of the enactive and pragmatist approaches to affective habits and contributing to the development of an enactive ethics grounded on affects as what disclose existential concerns and values, especially regarding environmental issues. As a Tibetan Buddhism practitioner, she has a long standing interest in the transformation of negative emotions, the intertwining of compassion and wisdom, and the role of desire, aspiration, and devotion in contemplative practices. Websites: www.emotionsfirst.org; https://upce.academia.edu/LauraCandiotto

Fr. Francis Tiso

A New York native, Father Francis Tiso holds the A.B. in Medieval Studies from Cornell University.  He earned a Master of Divinity degree (cum laude) at Harvard University and holds a doctorate from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary where his specialization was Buddhist studies. His teaching interests include Christian theology, history of religions, spirituality, ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. Since 1988, Father Tiso is a priest of the Diocese of Isernia-Venafro, Italy, where he now serves as chaplain to the migrant communities in the Province of Isernia. He is President and Founder of the Association 'Archbishop Ettore Di Filippo', which serves migrant and vulnerable populations in the Province of Isernia.

Dr. Hanne De Jaegher

Dr. Hanne De Jaegher is a philosopher, researcher, and writer from Belgium who, via research positions in the UK, Germany, the Basque Country, and the Netherlands, is currently living in Vancouver, CA. With Ezequiel Di Paolo, she developed the concept of participatory sense-making, a major theoretical and practical approach to social cognition and intersubjectivity in the embodied and enactive cognitive sciences. Participatory sense-making theory is being studied and applied across academic and practical disciplines including neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, sociology, the arts, various forms of therapy, education, and decolonial and social justice work. With Ezequiel Di Paolo and Elena Cuffari, she co-authored Linguistic Bodies: The Continuity Between Life and Language (MIT Press 2018). She is co-director of Dialogica UK, which provides dialogue facilitation, coaching, and mentoring with and for neurodivergent people. Dr. De Jaegher develops methods for understanding and curating participatory sense-making processes, and investigates, thinks, and writes about engaging epistemologies, autism, and the relations between loving, being, and thinking.  

Dr. Lior Noy

Dr. Lior Noy studies and practices collective creativity and improvisation. He holds a PhD in computer science from the Weizmann Institute, with a background in cognitive psychology, computational neuroscience, and robotics. He is a faculty member at the School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Ono Academic College (OAC), where he teaches courses in computer science, innovation and creativity. His current research interests include the development of simple paradigms for studying collective creative exploration; the emergence of moments of togetherness in dyadic exploration and the role of secure attachment in creative interactions. Lior is also a performer and teacher in Playback Theatre, an improvisation form based on real-life stories, and a facilitator of communication and creativity workshops in academia, with an emphasis on listening, improvisation and co-creativity. He was the co-founder of the Theatre Lab at the Weizmann Institute (together with Uri Alon), a hub of research at the meeting point of physics, behavioural science and the performing arts. 

Monica Gagliano

Monica Gagliano, PhD is a Research Associate Professor in evolutionary ecology at Southern Cross University where she directs the Biological Intelligence (BI) Lab as part of the Diverse Intelligences Initiative of the Templeton World Charity Foundation. She has pioneered the brand-new research field of plant bioacoustics, for the first time experimentally demonstrating that plants emit their own ‘voices’ and detect and respond to the sounds of their environments. Her work has extended the concept of cognition (including perception, learning processes, memory) in plants. By demonstrating experimentally that learning is not the exclusive province of animals, she has re-ignited the discourse on plant subjectivity and ethical and legal standing. Inspired by encounters with Nature and indigenous elders from around the world, she applies a progressive and holistic approach to science – one that is comfortable engaging at the interface between areas as diverse as ecology, physics, law, anthropology, philosophy, literature, music and the arts, and spirituality. By re-kindling a sense of wonder for this beautiful place we call home, she is helping to create a fresh imaginative ecology of mind that can inspire the emergence of truly innovative solutions to human relations with the world we co-inhabit. Her latest book is Thus Spoke the Plant (North Atlantic Books, 2018). Her new project, called Resonant Earth, is a long-term, global vision that provides an immersive environment for emerging transformative approaches toward scientific research, education and wellbeing.

Program Overview

Download the program overview here.

Please note: Arrivals to the area are expected on Sunday, August 21, but the program will start in the morning of Monday, August 22.

Who should attend

 

ESRI fosters interdisciplinary dialogue and potential project collaborations, and thus is limited to 120 participants. A selection process identifies those whose interests are best matched to the annual theme.

Applicants should self-categorize into three categories: Research Fellow, Senior Investigator and Professional.

 

Research Fellows

"Research Fellows" include undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows conducting research in neuroscience, biological and medical sciences, experimental and clinical psychology, the social sciences, or the humanities. Students and early-career researchers and contemplative scholars who work in the interdisciplinary field of contemplative sciences and scholarship are encouraged to apply in this category.

 

Senior Investigators

This category includes established academic researchers, contemplative scholars and educators who hold university or college faculty appointments (full-time, clinical or adjunct).

 

Professionals

Professionals (e.g. educators, clinicians, therapists, HR managers, change agents) who are independent practitioners or affiliated with non-academic institutions apply in this category. This includes people working in business and (social) entrepreneurship.

About the Venue

 

Lama Tzong Khapa Institute is a Tibetan Buddhist center located in the heart of Tuscany (near Pisa). They offer regular courses on Buddhism, meditation, and many other topics, all aimed at the development of the human qualities of kindness, compassion, and wisdom. The Institute community consists of a sangha of Buddhist monks and nuns, an international body of lay students and visitors, and a large group of staff and volunteers. They welcome everyone interested in following a course or just to spend some quiet time enjoying the beautiful, peaceful setting.

Since its founding in 1977, Lama Tzong Khapa Institute has grown into one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist centers in Europe. As an international school for Buddhist studies and practice, it attracts students from around the world who are interested in deepening their understanding of Buddhism and the mind through intensive study of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. These courses also include introspective meditation methods and an opportunity for active service.

Lama Tzong Khapa Institute has a range of clean and bright single and double guest rooms, wooden cabins and dormitories for anyone interested in staying – whether it be for one night or to live here while studying one of our long term residential study programs. Breakfast, bedding and towels are included in the price.

For more detailed information about how to access the venue, please visit the Institute's website

 

Types of Accommodation

Participants opting for the ESRI and MLE Retreat package are encouraged to stay at the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute so as to enter fully into the collective spirit of pilgrimage and retreat that is invoked by this year’s ESRI theme. They will need to indicate their boarding preferences in the online application form and indicate whether they intend to come with their partner: 

  • Shared or single room?
  • Shared bathroom (outside the room)?
  • Coming with partner?

Participants who are coming for the ESRI only may stay at a nearby lodge*** and will need to indicate their boarding preferences on the online application form and indicate whether they intend to come with their partner:

  • Shared or single room?
  • Shared bathroom (outside the room)?
  • Coming with partner? 

***Please note that some lodges are within walking distance from ILTK (500 m) and one is within shuttle distance (2 km).

Costs

 

 

ESRI               

MLE retreat

ESRI + retreat

ESRI + retreat in shared room

ESRI + retreat for partner

ESRI only in shared room

ESRI only for partner

Research Fellows

€ 590

€ 290

€ 790

€ 700

€ 660

€ 530

€ 440

Senior investigators

€ 790

€ 490

€ 1,150

€ 1,020

€ 960

€ 710

€ 590

Professionals

€ 990

€ 490

€ 1,330

€ 1,180

€ 1,110

€ 890

€ 740

 

These prices cover the whole program and full board at the venue (including food and drink).

 

Financial Support

Participants of ESRI (and the retreat) are expected to cover their own registration fee. Financial support is available for selected (PhD) students and early career scholars, with a particular priority given to scholars coming from Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries and Russia.

If you would like to be considered for financial support, please submit a written request in the application form with details of your financial situation (max. 300 words). Please note that MLE operates on a limited budget, and will only be able to provide grants to the selected recipients.

Annika Lübbert, Germany | Planning Committee co-chair

Annika Lübbert is about to complete her PhD at the department of neurophysiology, UKE, Hamburg. Her work investigates social cognition as an embodied and enacted phenomenon: in laboratory experiments, Annika generates rich, multi-channel observations of interactive behaviour and experience that she follows up with elaborate qualitative and quantitative analyses. Annika also co-founded the Mindful Researchers - a collaborative initiative to bring embodied and relational practice to our professional (research) environments. Annika is a passionate mover and colorful note-taker - learn more at www.wearethefuture.net.

Dr. Andreas Weber, Italy | Planning Committee co-chair

Dr. Andreas Weber is a biologist, philosopher and writer. His work 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 teaches at Berlin University of the Arts, is Visiting Professor at the UNISG, Pollenzo, Italy, and holds an Adjunct Professorship at the IIT, Guwahati, India. He contributes to major German newspapers and magazines and has published more than a dozen books, most recently Enlivenment. A Poetics for the Anthropocene, MIT Press, 2019 and Sharing Life. The Ecopolitics of Reciprocity, Boell Foundation, 2020.

Photo credit: Florian Büttner

Dr. Laura Candiotto, Czech Republic | Planning Committee co-chair

Laura Candiotto is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Centre for Ethics of the University of Pardubice, Czech Republic. She is also a Research Fellow of the Intercontinental Academia on “Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence” by UBIAS. Originally from Italy, she moved to Scotland, France, and Germany in the last seven years for carrying out different research projects. Her research focuses on the epistemic role of emotions as embedded in dialogical interactions and communities of inquiry. She has extensively worked on love, wonder, and shame bridging her expertise in the Socratic method of inquiry and the enactive approach to participatory sense-making. She also published on the ethics of knowing with a virtue theoretical approach to epistemic responsibility. She is now exploring the intertwining of the enactive and pragmatist approaches to affective habits and contributing to the development of an enactive ethics grounded on affects as what disclose existential concerns and values, especially regarding environmental issues. As a Tibetan Buddhism practitioner, she has a long standing interest in the transformation of negative emotions, the intertwining of compassion and wisdom, and the role of desire, aspiration, and devotion in contemplative practices. Websites: www.emotionsfirst.org; https://upce.academia.edu/LauraCandiotto

 

Wolfgang Lukas (PhD), Austria | Planning Committee Honorary co-chair

Wolfgang Lukas, PhD, has an academic background in nuclear and particle physics and computer simulations, and obtained a master’s degree in physics from the Graz University of Technology and a PhD degree in physics from the University of Innsbruck. He was also a member of the ATLAS collaboration at CERN from 2010-2017.  Wolfgang began exploring contemplative practices in 2005, with a focus on Theravada and Zen Buddhism, while remaining fascinated by the big picture of all contemplative traditions, sciences, arts and humanities. As an Independent Researcher, he is passionately building bridges to connect seemingly disjunct domains of human endeavor and experience. He believes in the vast potential and immense challenge of collaboration. His heart lights up for scientific collaboration, contemplative practices, community building, process facilitation, Art of Hosting, Council, Systemic Konsensing, holding space for the unknown / emergence / authentic inquiry / heartfelt communication / human connection, exploring the microscopic nuances of direct experience, poetry, storytelling, creative writing, filmmaking, deep ecology, embodied practices, contact improvisation, dancing, and walking barefoot.

 

Dr. Joanna Cook, UK

Joanna Cook is a Reader in Medical Anthropology and former Head of Medical Anthropology at UCL. Her research in Thailand and the UK focuses on meditation practice and why it matters to people. She is the author of Meditation in Modern Buddhism: Renunciation and change in Thai monastic life (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Making a Mindful Nation: Mental health, metacognition and governance in the 21st century (Princeton University Press, Forthcoming). She is also the co-editor of Unsettling Anthropologies of Care (Anthropology & Humanism Special Issue, 2020), The State We’re In: Reflecting on democracy’s troubles (Berghan Books, 2016), Detachment: Essays on the limits of relational thinking (Manchester University Press, 2015) and Southeast Asian Perspectives on Power (Routledge, 2012).

Hsuan-Hsiu Hung, Estonia

Hsuan-Hsiu Hung is a movement and dance artist from Taiwan. Her creative process weaves together QiGong, somatic practices, visual art, contemplative practices and contemporary dance. Her ongoing research has been to explore the unfolding personal experiences of movement and dance, and through this, inquire into the nature of one's self and the relations with others and the environment. This process informs her performative work as well as her collaborations with fellow artists and researchers in different fields. Currently, she holds regular QiGong lessons and facilitates contemplative movement and dance sessions in Tallinn. Learn more here: www.dancinginart.com

Holger Yeshe

Holger Yeshe has been practising meditation since 1999. He has been a student of Mingyur Rinpoche since 2005. He was ordained as a monk in 2010 and has been primarily focusing on studying the Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy. He has been a co-leader of Tergar groups in Nepal, Germany, and Dharamsala, India. After living abroad for 17 years, Holger Yeshe is back in Germany to support the Tergar community there.

ESRI ARC Committee

  • Dr. Catherine Bastien-Ventura, France

  • Amy Cohen Varela, France

  • Prof. Michel Bitbol, France 

  • Prof. Andreas Roepstorff, Denmark 

  • Dr. Marieke van Vugt, Netherlands

  • Gábor Karsai, Hungary 

Dr. Catherine Bastien-Ventura, France

Trained as a biologist in toxicology and pharmacology, Catherine Bastien-Ventura worked as a research engineer at the national center for scientific research (CNRS) in Paris, France.  After 10 years of research in the field of cancerology (Institute Gustave Roussy, Villejuif), she has been teaching and managing research projects in the field of environment and sustainable development for public sector and private companies (Rhodia, Schneider Electric, Hutchinson).

Research project manager for the French Ministry of Environment, within the research and foresight department, she was in charge of programs dealing with different types of pollution and their consequences on ecosystems. After this position for almost ten years, at the interface of research and public policies, she joined the headquarter of CNRS, working for the Institute devoted to environment and sustainable development where she has been in charge of a cooperation program with China on environmental issues. Meanwhile, she also was the project manager for the Frontiers of Sciences programs with Japan and Taiwan.

During the last years she was the international cooperation officer for French research networks dealing with area studies throughout Asia, Africa, Middle East and Muslim World. 

She recently developed a strategy and development consulting activity for basic research and international cooperation.

Amy Cohen Varela, France

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 '80s, 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. 

Prof. Michel Bitbol, France

Michel Bitbol is researcher at CNRS/Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France. He received a M.D., a Ph.D. in physics and a 'Habilitation' in philosophy. After a start in scientific research, he turned to philosophy of science, editing texts by Erwin Schrödinger and formulating a neo-kantian philosophy of quantum mechanics.

He then studied the relations between physics and the philosophy of mind, in collaboration with Francisco Varela, and drew a parallel between Buddhist dependent arising and non-supervenient relations in quantum physics. He also developed a first-person conception of consciousness expressed from the standpoint of an experience of meditation. More recently, he engaged a debate with the philosophical movement called 'speculative realism', from the same standpoint.

Prof. Andreas Roepstorff, Denmark

Andreas Roepstorff is a professor in cognition, communication and culture at the department of Culture and Society and the department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark. He works at the interface between anthropology, cognitive science and neuroscience, and is equally interested in the workings of the mind and brain, and in how cognitive science and brain imaging, as fields of knowledge production, relate to other scientific and public fields. He has formal training in social anthropology and in neurobiology and has published both within these disciplines as well as in various collaborations across other fields. He is the director of the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University and is involved in a number of transdisciplinary collaborations, focusing on aspects of human interaction. He has a long-standing research interest in cognitive aspects of contemplative practices.

Dr. Marieke van Vugt, the Netherlands

Marieke van Vugt is an assistant professor at the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering (ALICE) of the University of Groningen (Netherlands). The research in Dr. van Vugt's lab focuses on how, when and why we mind-wander, and what the fundamental cognitive operations are that underlie meditation and mindfulness.

Most recently, she started to investigate how analytical meditation practiced by Tibetan monks and nuns affects cognition and emotion. She addresses these questions using a combination of computational modeling, neuroscience, and experimental psychology tools. She very much enjoys projects were science, art (particularly classical ballet), and contemplation meet. https://mindbrainmindfulness.wordpress.com/

Gábor Karsai, Hungary

Gábor Karsai, based near Budapest, Hungary, is a long-standing member of the MLE Association, and presently serves as Rector of the Dharma Gate Buddhist College in Budapest, as well as Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Gabor has undertaken Ph.D studies with a focus on process philosophy (A. N. Whitehead), phenomenology and Buddhism. Over the last 15 years, he has had extensive management engagements, including as a deputy CEO at Bankar Holding Plc. (Hungary), Director of the Spirit of Humanity Forum (Iceland), the Education for Peace Foundation (Switzerland) and as CEO at the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society (Taiwan). He combines practical experience in running a not for profit organisation together with a deep appreciation for contemplative practice and science as well as the values and vision which MLE embodies.