Dina Nayeri is the author of two novels and two books of creative nonfiction, Who Gets Believed? (2023) and The Ungrateful Refugee (2019), winner of the Geschwister Scholl Preis and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Kirkus Prize, and Elle Grand Prix des Lectrices, and called by The Guardian “a work of astonishing, insistent importance.” Her essay of the same name was one of The Guardian’s most widely read long reads in 2017, and is taught in schools and anthologized around the world. A 2019-2020 Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris, and winner of the 2018 UNESCO City of Literature Paul Engle Prize, Dina has won a National Endowment for the Arts literature grant, the O. Henry Prize, and Best American Short Stories, among other honors. Her work has been published in 20+ countries and in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Granta, and many other publications. Her short dramas have been produced by the English Touring Theatre and The Old Vic in London. She is a graduate of Princeton, Harvard, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. In autumn 2021, she was a Fellow at the American Library in Paris. She is currently working on plays, screenplays, and her upcoming publications include The Waiting Place, a nonfiction children’s book about refugee camp, Who Gets Believed, a creative nonfiction book, and Sitting Bird, a novel. She has recently joined the faculty at the University of St. Andrews.
Alicia Vasquez is a fifth-year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology program at Pacific University. With an academic emphasis in Latinx Psychology, Alicia has received extensive training in research, clinical, and outreach work that centers on the experience and needs of the Latinx community. As a first-generation Latinx student, she has unique insight into the importance of research that embraces the perspectives of the communities in which it is being conducted. As a post-doctoral student, Alicia plans to extend the current research to include the perspective of Latinx MBRP clients to work toward the development of a culturally-adapted MBRP model.
Kathy Trang (she/her), PhD, is a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. Her research has focused on elucidating how post-traumatic stress impacts mental health and developmental outcomes within and across generations and how we can best intervene in cross-cultural settings to improve wellbeing among high-risk populations in the United States, Vietnam, Peru, and Bangladesh. She is additionally interested in strengthening mental health research capacity in Southeast Asia and is one of the co-founders of the Southeast Asian Mental Heath Initiative, which brings together researchers, clinicians, and community leaders working in the field of mental health and psychosocial support.
Jonas Mago is a cognitive neuroscientist and wellbeing aficionado, interested in the cognitive mechanisms underlying human flourishing. His research investigates contemplative practices that aim to bring about wholesome states of mind – from meditation and prayer to collective cultural rituals and psychedelic therapies. Jonas works from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining cognitive, neurobiological, computational, and phenomenological approaches to shed light on mechanisms of self-regulation. Jonas is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in Neuroscience at McGill University, supervised by Dr. Michael Lifshitz and co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Karl Friston. Previously, he completed a master’s in Mind, Language, and Embodied Cognition at the University of Edinburgh (UK) and undergraduate studies in Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University College Maastricht (Netherlands).
Jenny Mascaro is an applied biological anthropologist whose research focuses on investigating the impact of mindfulness and compassion meditation practices on the well-being, compassion, and health of both hospitalized patients and their healthcare providers. Her research approach incorporates a mix of methods, such as ambulatory assessment of linguistic behavior, functional and structural neuroimaging, as well as clinical and psychosocial evaluations. Jenny’s work also delves into implementation science, aiming to systematically identify and assess innovative avenues for integrating well-being practices within hospital medicine. Beyond her professional pursuits, she finds joy in gardening alongside her dogs and chickens, cooking, hiking, and engaging in sports with her children. Jenny is a Mind & Life Fellow, has served as a reviewer for Mind & Life grants, and currently services as the Science and Grants Consultant for Mind & Life.
Zishan Jiwani is a is a Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology and a research assistant at the Center for Healthy Minds. His research broadly centers on issues related to health equity. His research foci include mindfulness and meditation, mental health in the Global South, and applied quantitative methods. Before beginning his career in Psychology, Zishan spent a decade working with low-income communities in India and East Africa supporting access to improved health, education, and financial well-being.
Peggy’s joyful spirit enables her students to discover and embody their most creative and authentic selves. She offers a path of deep insight through methods such as movement, writing, art and ritual.
Peggy has her EdD in Adult Education and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology and co-author with her husband, Larry, of Love’s Garden: A Guide To Mindful Relationships. She has taught in graduate schools of social work, psychology and counseling psychology. Her Doctoral research is in dreamwork. She has had a private therapy practice for many years and now offers consultations with a spiritual direction focus.
Dr. Larry Ward is the co-founder of The Lotus Institute, a senior teacher in Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village tradition of Engaged Buddhism, the author of America’s Racial Karma, and host of the Beyond the News podcast. Dr. Ward holds a PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Buddhism and the neuroscience of meditation. As a teacher, Larry interweaves insights with personal stories and resounding clarity that express his Dharma name, “True Great Sound.” He is the author of America’s Racial Karma and a senior Dharma teacher.
I have recently been promoted to associate professor (early tenure and promotion) at the College of Education, California State University Sacramento. My research interests fall within the intersection of cognition, critical literacy, social justice pedagogy, and contemplative practices in education. One of my research agendas is to understand the critical role of compassionate reading comprehension in developing critical thinking, literacy, and civic engagement in children and young adults. I argue that compassion is an act of social justice. My works have been published in Reading & Writing Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, and Journal of Social Studies Research, among others.
I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Amsterdam where I conduct research on the psychoneuroimmunology of mindfulness.
After completing a master’s programme in psychology at University of Zagreb (Croatia), I obtained two PhDs: one by Coventry University (UK) in 2018 and another by Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University (Netherlands) in 2020.
In 2020, I founded Mindfulness Centre Split where I teach mindfulness mainly in Croatian language.
In 2021, I was awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship.