Plenary Faculty and Discussants

Plenary faculty deliver lectures and are available to answer attendee questions throughout the week, often leading breakout sessions and participating in panel discussions. Their lectures expand on the week’s theme, deepening and broadening our shared knowledge from a variety of experiences, backgrounds, and disciplines. The faculty includes scientists, researchers, contemplative practitioners, scholars, changemakers and teachers from a variety of disciplines. ( More to be updated as we confirm faculty soon! )

Natalie Avalos

Convening Faculty

Natalie Avalos is as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and Affiliate Faculty in the Religious Studies and Women and Gender Studies Departments at the University of … MORE

sujatha baliga

Restorative Justice Facilitator

Convening Faculty

sujatha baliga’s work is characterized by an equal dedication to people who’ve experienced and caused harm and violence. A former victim advocate and public defender, sujatha is a frequent guest … MORE

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD

University of Massachusetts

Fellow, Founding Steward

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (in 1995), … MORE

Ann S. Masten, Professor

Convening Faculty

Ann Masten, Ph.D., is a Regents Professor, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development and Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the Institute of Child Development in the College of Education … MORE

Contemplative Faculty

Contemplative faculty guide participants through practices that integrate their first-person experience with themes being explored, interspersing contemplative art and practice sessions with free time for personal reflection. In addition to daily practice, the contemplative faculty lead the retreat time.

Willa Blythe Baker, PhD

Natural Dharma Fellowship

Convening Faculty

Willa Blythe Baker, PhD, is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. She was authorized … MORE

Kelley Nicole Palmer

Convening Faculty

Kelley Nicole Palmer is a black, queer creative and community advocate based in Charlotte NC.  Kelley uses the practices and philosophy of yoga to guide her work in creating equitable … MORE

Peter Wayne, PhD

Harvard Medical School

Convening Faculty, Fellow

Peter Wayne, PhD, is a researcher and practitioner in the field of mind-body and integrative medicine.  Dr. Wayne is the Bernard Osher Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School … MORE

Kritee Kanko

Convening Faculty

Kritee (dharma name Kanko) is a climate scientist, Zen priest, Educator & founding spiritual teacher of Boundless in Motion. She is an ordained teacher in the Rinzai Zen lineage of Cold … MORE

Program Planning Committee

The Program Planning Committee (PPC) is a committee of invited specialists from diverse disciplines and perspectives who bring their expertise to curate and produce the content of the conference. In addition to developing the overall theme and narrative arc of the program, the members of the PPC actively participate and serve in leadership and plenary roles throughout the conference.

Amit Bernstein, Ph.D.

University of Haifa

Convening Faculty, Grantee, Planning Committee Member, Reviewer

Amit Bernstein  (Co-Chair), PhD, is a Professor of Psychology, Director of the Observing Minds Lab at the University of Haifa, and member of the Israel Young Academy. Amit is interested … MORE

Fadel Zeidan, PhD

University of California San Diego

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Grantee, Planning Committee Member, Reviewer, Steering Council Member

Fadel Zeidan (2023 SRI PPC Co-Chair)  is an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. He currently holds leadership positions in the UCSD Center for Integrative Health, UCSD Psychedelic Research … MORE

Gaelle Desbordes, PhD

Grants & Science Manager, Mind & Life Institute

Fellow, Grantee, Planning Committee Member, Reviewer

Gaelle is the Grants & Science Manager of the Mind & Life Institute, where she oversees the grants programs. A trained neuroscientist, she was previously on the research faculty at … MORE

Ed Taylor, PhD

University of Washington

Planning Committee Member, Steering Council Chair, Steering Council Member

Dr. Ed Taylor is vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs at the University of Washington where he oversees educational opportunities that advance and deepen the undergraduate academic experience. … MORE

Erin McCarthy, PhD

St. Lawrence University

Convening Faculty, Fellow, Planning Committee Member

Erin McCarthy (she/her) is a professor, speaker, author, mindfulness coach, philosophical counselor, and parent of twins. After completing her undergraduate degree in French and Philosophy at Trent University, she went … MORE