New President

Arthur Zajonc Appointed as the New President of the Mind & Life Institute


 Chris O’Brien, Development and Communications Officer // // (303) 530-1940 x106

Boulder, CO (December 1, 2011) – On 28 November, 2011, the Mind and Life Board of Directors confirmed the selection of Professor Arthur Zajonc as the new president of the Mind & Life Institute. Professor Zajonc, who will formally take up his appointment in January, 2012, succeeds Mr. R. Adam Engle, a Mind and Life Co-Founder who served as the president and chair of the Institute for more than two decades. This appointment represents the culmination of a successful presidential succession search facilitated by Rusher-Loscavio Executive Search for which the Mind & Life Institute especially thanks President Robert M. Fisher, PhD, JD.

Arthur Zajonc PhD (U. Michigan) is professor of physics at Amherst College, where he has taught since 1978. He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. His research has included studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between science, the humanities, and the contemplative traditions. He is author or editor of eight books including: Catching the Light (Oxford UP, 1995), The Quantum Challenge (Jones & Bartlettt, 2nd ed. 2006), Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love (Lindisfarne Press, 2009), and with Parker Palmer,The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

In 1997 Professor Zajonc served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Oxford UP, 2004). He organized the 2002 dialogue with the Dalai Lama, “The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life,” and co-organized the 2007 dialogue on “The Universe in a Single Atom.” Zajonc acted as moderator at MIT for the “Investigating the Mind” Mind and Life public dialogue in 2003, and again in 2010 at Stanford’s CCARE public dialogue with the Dalai Lama on research concerning the cultivation of compassion and altruism. The proceedings of the Mind and Life-MIT meeting were published under the title The Dalai Lama at MIT (Harvard UP, 2003, 2006) which he co-edited. He currently directs the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, which supports appropriate inclusion of contemplative methods in higher education. He has also been General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society, president/chair of the Lindisfarne Association, and was a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute. For more information see

In celebrating the Board’s appointment of Professor Zajonc as the new president of the Mind & Life Institute, the Chairman Dr. Thupten Jinpa comments:

“I am extremely happy to note that the Mind and Life board’s election of Arthur was resounding and unanimous. We, the entire board, feel confident that Arthur is the ideal leader to take the Mind & Life Institute to its next stage of development. As a noted scientist held in the highest esteem both in North America and Europe, as someone widely respected for his critical role in bringing the contemplative dimension into higher education, and as a leader with long experience of guiding various non-profit initiatives, Professor Zajonc brings a unique combination of experience and expertise to his new position. Our previous president and co-founder Mr. R. Adam Engle, whose dedication and outstanding service during more than two decades is deeply appreciated by the board, leaves the organization in good health and strength.

Professor Zajonc is no stranger to the Mind and Life family. In addition to serving on the board of Mind and Life between 1998 and 2006, he has also played an active role in several important Mind and Life dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, including one on the new physics and cosmology in 1997, on the mind at MIT in 2003, and on “Universe in a Single Atom” in Dharamsala in 2007, editing two volumes from these dialogues for publication.

With Professor Zajonc as our new president, I strongly believe that today Mind and Life is well-placed to move forward in its unique mission and be more effective in making its contribution to the betterment of the world we live in. My colleague Rip Gellein, Mind and Life Vice Chair, and I are honored to work with Professor Zajonc as the new Mind and Life leadership team.”

The President-elect Arthur Zajonc comments:

    “It is an honor and privilege to take on the leadership of the Mind & Life Institute as its President. For over 20 years the work of the Mind & Life Institute has enriched our understanding of the mind by bringing together the remarkable achievements of modern research in neuroscience with the equally profound traditions of contemplative inquiry. Together they have the possibility not only of illuminating the nature of mind, but also of addressing many of the sources of suffering that are rooted there. I look forward to continuing the good work of the Institute and to collaborating with the Institute’s many friends and colleagues in the years ahead.”

About the Mind & Life Institute

The Mind & Life Institute is a Boulder, CO-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building a scientific understanding of the mind through the investigation of contemplative practices in order to reduce suffering and promote well being. The Mind & Life Institute implements this mission and vision through a strategy of integrated initiatives including Dialogues and Publications, the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute and accompanying Varela Awards, the Mind and Life Humanities and Social Sciences Initiative, and as a co-sponsor and coordinator of the International Symposia for Contemplative Studies (Denver ? April, For more information, visit, or contact Chris O’Brien, Development and Communications Officer // // (303) 530-1940 x 106.