As of June 1, 2015, Professor Arthur Zajonc will be stepping down from the presidency of the Mind & Life Institute, a transition he has been planning since the fall of 2014. Professor Zajonc is an emeritus professor of physics at Amherst College and the author of numerous books including Catching the Light. He has also been a key figure in contemplative education, serving as the Executive Director of Contemplative Mind in Society as well as authoring Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love and The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal (with Parker Palmer).
The Mind & Life Institute has been most fortunate to have the visionary leadership of Professor Zajonc at a critical phase of its history. Under Arthur’s presidency, Mind and Life expanded its traditional role as a global convener of contemplative studies and science dialogues. In addition to the on-going dialogues, the Summer Research Institute, and the Varela Awards, the Institute has been able to offer, through the 1440 Grants, pilot research awards specifically to study the effects of contemplative practices in the world. Our International Symposium of Contemplative Studies (ISCS) has reached a new height, the last one attracting more than 1700 participants, representing a wide range of disciplines from neuroscience, philosophy and psychology to education, contemplative scholarship, and diverse therapeutic traditions. One significant area of development has been the area of translational research, involving adaptations and study of contemplative-practice-based interventions in contemporary settings of health, education, and workplace – especially through Call to Care (education initiative) and Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership (ACEL), a summer leadership program.
The Mind and Life board has appointed an able interim Acting President, Professor Carolyn Jacobs, who is a member of the board, an emeritus professor of Social Work and was Dean of the School of Social Work at Smith College for many years. Recently retired, Carolyn has graciously accepted the position as the acting president until such time as our formal search process yields a new president. With Professor Jacobs’ able interim leadership, assisted by an executive committee of the board, all core activities of Mind and Life will proceed as planned.
We, the Mind and Life board and community, are deeply grateful to Arthur for his wise leadership and service to the Mind & Life Institute.
Thupten Jinpa, PhD
Mind & Life Institute, Board Chair