The Presenters

Sharon Salzberg

mindfulness teacher, author of
Real Happiness and Real Change

Sharon Salzberg is a well-known teacher of Insight Meditation and mindfulness. She is one of the founders of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the author of several books including Faith, A Heart as Wide as the World, and most recently, Real Change.

Deepak Chopra MD

Founder of The Chopra Foundation; author, Total Meditation

DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his next book, Total Meditation (Harmony Book, September 22, 2020) will help to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron

author, founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey

Ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun in 1977, Venerable Thubten Chodron is an author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey. Sravasti Abbey is one of the first Tibetan Buddhist training monasteries for Westerners in the U.S., and holds gender equality, social engagement, and care for the environment amongst its core values. Ven. Chodron teaches worldwide and is known for her practical (and humorous!) explanations of how to apply Buddhist teachings in daily life. She is also involved in prison outreach and interfaith dialogue. She has published many books on Buddhist philosophy and meditation, and is co-authoring The Library of Wisdom and Compassion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she has studied for nearly forty years. The fifth volume, In Praise of Great Compassion, was published in August 2020. Visit for a media library of her teachings, and to learn more about the Abbey.

Richard J. Davidson

Director, Center for Healthy Minds, UW-Madison

Richard J. Davidson, PhD is a William James and Vilas Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Founder & Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

His research is broadly focused on the neural bases of emotion and emotional style and methods to promote human flourishing including meditation and related contemplative practices. 

He is the author (with Sharon Begley) of The Emotional Life of Your Brain, and the co-author with Daniel Goleman of Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body.

He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research including the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society.  In 2017 he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and in 2018 appointed to the Governing Board of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).

Daniel Goleman

Psychologist and science journalist

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist who lectures to professional groups, business audiences, and on college campuses. As a science journalist Goleman reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times for many years. His 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half, with more than 5,000,000 copies in print worldwide in 40 languages. Apart from his books on emotional intelligence, Goleman has written books on topics including self-deception, creativity, transparency, meditation, social and emotional learning, ecoliteracy and the ecological crisis. His most recent book is Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence.

Goleman’s work as a science journalist has been recognized with many awards, including the Washburn Award for science journalism, a Lifetime Career Award from the American Psychological Association, and he was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his communicating science to the general public.

Lama Tsultrim Allione

Spiritual Director, Tara Mandala

Lama Tsultrim Allione is a best-selling author and an internationally known Buddhist teacher. She is the author of Women of Wisdom, Feeding Your Demons, and Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine. She is the founder and resident teacher at the 700-acre retreat center, Tara Mandala, in Pagosa Springs, Colorado with satellite groups around the world. She was the first American to be ordained by the HH 16th Karmapa at the age of 22 in 1970 and then after studying and practicing in the Himalayas for several years, she disrobed, married and had three children.

 In 2007, Lama Tsultrim was recognized as an emanation of the 11th century Tibetan woman teacher Machig Labdrön at her monastery in Tibet by the resident Lama there and then shortly afterwards she was again officially recognized by the great Chöd master, Tshering Wangdu Rinpoche in Nepal. In 2009, Lama Tsultrim was selected as “Outstanding Woman in Buddhism'' by a panel of distinguished Buddhist scholars and practitioners in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2012 she was given the Machig Labdrön empowerment by HH 17th Karmapa and she has worked extensively to establish Machig’s lineage. She has always maintained an interest in western psychology, Women’s Studies and indigenous spiritual practice. She currently guides thousands of students around the world, seeks to make Buddhism both accessible in the Western context and to keep the authentic traditional lineage intact.

Richard Gere

Founder, The Gere Foundation

Humanitarian, actor, and Golden Globe winner Richard Gere is known for his roles in such films as Chicago, Days of Heaven, An Officer and a Gentleman, The Cotton Club, American Gigolo, Pretty Woman, Primal Fear, Arbitrage, Time Out of Mind, and Norman

For more than thirty years, he has served as a rights advocate whose humanitarian efforts have taken him to Tibet, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Bhutan, Kosovo, Central America and the Middle East. He has used his popularity to amplify the voice of the nonviolent struggle for Tibet. He was Co-Founder and Chairman of Tibet House U.S. in 1987. In 1991, he founded the Gere Foundation, a private foundation focused on advocacy, education, human rights, and cultural preservation. 

Mr. Gere joined the International Campaign for Tibet’s Board of Directors where he has served as Chairman since 1995. He has sponsored numerous U.S. visits, teachings and publications by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dan Harris

ABC News; author, 10% Happier

Dan Harris is a fidgety, skeptical ABC News anchor who had a panic attack live on "Good Morning America," which led him to try something he always thought was ridiculous: meditation. He went on to write the bestselling book, 10% Happier, and launch the 10% Happier podcast. Guests include legendary meditation teachers — from the Dalai Lama to Western masters — as well as scientists, and even the odd celebrity. But the show also ventures beyond meditation, bringing on leading researchers in areas such as social anxiety, bias, creativity, productivity, and relationships.

Thupten Jinpa

Principal English translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama, and founder of the Institute of Tibetan Classics

Thupten Jinpa is a former Tibetan monk who holds a B.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in religious studies, both from Cambridge University. Since 1985, he has been the principal English translator to H.H. the Dalai Lama and has translated and edited numerous books by the Dalai Lama, including the New York Times Bestsellers Ethics for the New Millennium and The Art of Happiness. Jinpa’s own publications include works in Tibetan, English translations as well as books, including A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives and Tsongkhapa: A Buddha in the Land of Snows. Jinpa is the general editor of The Library of Tibetan Classics series, the main author of CCT (Compassion Cultivation Training), an eight-week formal program developed at Stanford University, and the founder and president of the Compassion Institute. He is the Chair of Mind and Life Institute, founder of the Institute of Tibetan Classics, and an adjunct professor at the School of Religious Studies at McGill University. Jinpa lives in Montreal and is married with two daughters.

Jan Willis

Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, Wesleyan University

Jan Willis (BA and MA in Philosophy, Cornell University; PhD in Indic and Buddhist Studies, Columbia University) is Professor Emerita of Religion at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and now Visiting Professor of Religion at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland, and the U.S. for five decades, and has taught courses in Buddhism for over forty-five years. She is the author of several books including The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation, Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition and the memoir, Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey. She has been profiled in Newsweek and in Ebony magazine, which named Willis one of its “Power 150” most influential African Americans. Her latest work is Dharma Matters: Women, Race and Tantra--Collected Essays by Jan Willis, published early in 2020.

The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi

Author, President of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT

The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi is an innovative thinker, philosopher and a polymath monk. He is President and CEO of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mark Epstein


Mark Epstein, M.D. is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Thoughts without a Thinker, Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, Going on Being, Open to Desire, Psychotherapy without the Self and The Trauma of Everyday Life.  His latest work is Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself (Penguin Press).  He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University.

Karenna Gore

Director, Center for Earth Ethics

Karenna Gore is the founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) at Union Theological Seminary. The Center for Earth Ethics bridges the worlds of religion, academia, policy and culture to discern and pursue the changes that are necessary to stop ecological destruction and create a society that values the long-term health of the whole. She is also an ex officio member of the faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Ms. Gore’s previous experience includes serving as director of Union Forum at Union Theological Seminary, legal work at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and in the legal center of Sanctuary for Families, and serving as director of Community Affairs for the Association to Benefit Children (ABC) . Currently she is serving on the board of ABC and Riverkeeper. She has also worked as a writer and is the author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America. Ms. Gore is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School and Union Theological Seminary. She lives in New York City with her three children.

Robert A.F Thurman

Padma Shri; Professor Emeritus; President, Tibet House US; Translator; Author.

Robert A.F. Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as co-founder and President of Tibet House US and it's Menla Retreat & Spa in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet. A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is a leading world-wide lecturer on Tibetan Buddhism, passionate activist for the plight of the Tibetan people, skilled translator of Buddhist texts, and inspiring writer of popular Buddhist books. His most recent book is the 300 page graphic novel, Man of Peace: the Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet. In partnership with Nena Thurman and dedicated contributors, he now focuses on making Tibet House US and its Menla Retreat & Spa a global center for the promotion, study and practice of Tibetan Buddhist healing arts and sciences of body, mind, and spirit, dedicated as a complement to the vast life work of its patron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Alberto Villoldo

Medical Director, The Four Winds Society, author of Grow a New Body

Medical anthropologist Alberto Villoldo has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and Andes for more than 25 years. He is the founder of the Four Winds Society, which trains modern shamans in the practice of energy medicine. He directs the Center for Energy Medicine in Chile, where he investigates and practices the neuroscience of enlightenment.

Dr. Villoldo is the author of numerous bestselling books, including The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power and Grace of the Earthkeepers; One Spirit Medicine: Ancient Ways to Ultimate Wellness; and Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment (with David Perlmutter, MD).

B.Alan Wallace

Founder & President of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies

Alan Wallace is a prominent voice in the emerging discussion between contemporary Buddhist thinkers and scientists who question the materialist presumptions of their 20th-century paradigms. He left his college studies in 1971 and moved to Dharamsala, India to study Tibetan Buddhism, medicine and language. He was ordained by H.H. the Dalai Lama, and over fourteen years as a monk he studied with and translated for several of the generation’s greatest lamas. In 1984 he resumed his Western education at Amherst College where he studied physics and the philosophy of science. He then applied that background to his PhD research at Stanford on the interface between Buddhism and Western science and philosophy. Since 1987 he has been a frequent translator and contributor to meetings between the Dalai Lama and prominent scientists, and he has written and translated more than 40 books. Along with his scholarly work, Alan is regarded as one of the West’s preeminent meditation teachers and retreat guides. He is the founder and director of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and of the Center for Contemplative Research in Crestone, Colorado.

Serene Jones

President, Union Theological Seminary

A highly respected scholar and public intellectual, the Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the 16th President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 182-year-old institution, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy. She is a Past President of the American Academy of Religion, which annually hosts the world’s largest gathering of scholars of religion. Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and Chair of the University’s Program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of several books including Trauma and Grace and, most recently, her memoir Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World. Jones, a popular public speaker, is sought by media to comment on major issues impacting society because of her deep grounding in theology, politics, women’s studies, economics, race studies, history, and ethics.

Robert Wright

author of Why Buddhism Is True

Robert Wright is the New York Times bestselling author of The Evolution of God (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Nonzero, The Moral Animal (named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review), Three Scientists and their Gods (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), and, most recently, Why Buddhism Is True, which has been published in 20 languages. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the audio-video podcast networks and and has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Time, Slate, and The New Republic. He has taught in the psychology department at Penn and the religion department at Princeton, where he also created the popular online course “Buddhism and Modern Psychology.”

Amishi Jha

Neuroscientist and researcher, University of Miami

Amishi Jha studies how mindfulness meditation can help to keep the brain’s attention systems in peak shape over high-pressure intervals. In her laboratory at the University of Miami, she uses functional MRI, electrophysiological recordings and behavioral analysis techniques to understand why our attention sometimes fails us, and if it can be trained for greater focus and less distractibility. What she has discovered is that without intervention, attention is compromised, and attentional lapses increase over demanding intervals. Students, business professionals, emergency service and military professionals, as well as athletes show this pattern as well under high stress. The good news is that with mindfulness training, attention can be strengthened and protected. She has shared her research findings with the UK Parliament, NATO, World Economic Forum, and Pentagon.

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Editor, Tikkun; Rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue

Rabbi Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine, chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives, and Rabbi  of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in Berkeley California. Rabbi Lerner has a PhD in philosophy and  a second PhD in social and clinical psychology. He has received the Martin Luther King jr./Mohatma Gandhi Award from Morehouse College for his work promoting  reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and the Social Justice Award from the International Association of Sufism. He is the author of 12 books including Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World (2020); Jewish Renewal: A path to healing and transformation; Embracing Israel/Palestine; The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right; Spirit Matters; The Politics of Meaning; with Cornel West: Jews and Blacks--Let the Healing Begin;The Socialism of Fools: Anti-Semitism on the Left; Surplus Powerlessness: The Psychodynamics of Daily Life and Work; and more.

Sofia Stril-Revor

Author & creator of the Be the Love medit-action training program

A writer and speaker, Sofia Stril-Rever has published over 20 spirituality-oriented books, including 4 books co-authored with His Holiness the Dalai Lama translated into more than 20 languages. She also authored the internationally broadcast biopic, "Dalai Lama, one life after another "(Arte TV). In 2016, Sofia organized with the Paris Bar the Law, Universal Responsibility and Environment conference, bringing together 350 lawyers and world environmental experts in discussion with the Dalai Lama. In 2018 and 2019, she co-organized the Better We Better World seminars in Dharamsala, gathering with the Dalai Lama and Professor Samdhong Rinpoche international change makers such as Christiana Figueres, the architect of the Paris Agreement. She lectured at the United Nations, in Geneva, on Universal Responsibility, in November 2017 and February 2020. At the Garden of Peace, near Paris, she is developing the Be the Love medit-action seminars based on Buddhism, contemplative neuroscience and the 2030 UN Agenda.