Virginia Tech - Invent the Future
Contemplative Practices for a Technological Society - Cultivating Mind Body Practices to Invent Our Future - April 11-13, 2013 - The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center - Blacksburg, Virginia
About the Conference


We invite students, academics, professionals, contemplatives, practitioners, and researchers from Education, Arts, Health, Business, Science, and Technology to engage in a conversation about the role of contemplative mind body practices for advancing Service, Innovation, Creativity, and Reflection as a foundation for an enriched life experience. All of these fields are seeking solutions to today's increasing complex global, social, and environmental challenges. All these fields share the common goal to create a future that allows all members of the global community to achieve their full potential. In this conference we explore the possibility that contemplative mind body practices could provide a holistic approach to the challenges of the 21st century by integrating the many contributions and innovations from all of these fields while honoring the commonality of the human experience.

A starting point for this conversation can be found in a wide variety of contemplative mind body practices like contemplative and mindfulness meditation, movement practices like taiji and yoga, and creative practices using art, writing, deep listening, etc. In this conference we explore the possibility that contemplative practices can have a direct impact on the academic experience. We explore the possibility that contemplative practices can provide a foundation for health, wellness, and life-long learning which can be carried into the workplace experience as well as our personal lives. We offer participants this opportunity to engage in contemplative practice and conversation through keynote lectures, practice sessions, presentations, roundtable discussions, and community building. We propose a conversation seeking commonality and mutual understanding for a safer, saner, more compassionate world as we invent our future.

Conference Structure

The intention of this conference is to create a roadmap to sustainably integrate contemplative practices into our lives: in the classroom, in the research laboratory, in the office, in healthcare, in the arts, and in the workplace. The conference will be organized to examine the foundations of contemplative practice, to access the current practice, and to create a plan for the future development of contemplative practice. Woven throughout the conference will be opportunities for instruction in mind body disciplines as well as times for contemplation.

The conference will open with remarks from the Virginia Tech Provost, Mark MacNamee. In the first section of the conference the keynote speaker is Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche, who represents the tradition of contemplative practice. In addition we will offer training sessions in mind body practices.

In the second section of the conference, we will discuss the current state of contemplative practice. The keynote speakers are Rich Fernandez and Linda Lantieri, who represent contemplative practice as it is being integrated into business and education. Author and business consultant Michael Carroll, who has years of experience in mindfulness training, will be our banquet speaker. In this section of the conference we will engage with the process of Appreciative Practice. Friday morning all participants will discuss the following question within the context of facilitated conversations:

What have we as individuals learned from our own experiences with contemplative mind body practices and how can we extend this learning further in promoting physical, emotional and spiritual well-being in our institutions?

We will build on the relationships formed and the topics discussed in these initial conversations throughout the rest of the conference. In addition, there will be a few invited speakers or panels in selected areas discussing the current practices. We will open this section of the conference to submitted papers, sessions, and presentations. This section of the conference will close with a panel discussion "Why Contemplative Practice Matters." This panel will include Ali and Atman Smith, and Andre Gonzalez along with others.

The last section of the conference on Saturday afternoon will be devoted to working groups to identify challenges for further development, integration, and sustainability of the contemplative practice. We will build on the relationships and dialog of the previous day as a foundation for addressing the question:

How can institutions like universities, business enterprises, schools, government agencies and others incorporate contemplative disciplines in promoting excellence and innovation as this century unfolds?

We will seek to put forward concrete proposals for the creation of appropriate infrastructure to support the long-term growth of contemplative practice. Rick Bowles will summarize the conversation.

We are left with the question:

How can contemplative mind body practices build a foundation for a safer, saner, more compassionate society in this technological age?


The students at the university represent our future; indeed they will shape it. So we will provide the students with a voice by inviting students to participate and offering parallel sessions directly specifically to student concerns. To work with the students we have invited Ali and Atman Smith and Andres Gonzales from the Holistic Life Foundation in Baltimore, MD. All participants will be together for some events while at other times the students will have separate sessions that serve their interests.


This conference is targeted to (but not limited to) regional professionals interested in contemplative practice. Individuals who are currently involved in contemplative practice as well as individuals who are interested in becoming involved in contemplative practice are invited to attend. The conference is intended to provide an incubator for long-term working partnerships leading to growth in related professional activities. The intention is to provide an intimate atmosphere for the development sustainable interactions (including future conferences) as well as idea generation.

Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT)

About ICAT

From smart phones to automobiles, understanding the human genome to exploring social networks, scientific and technological innovation is the result of the work of not just scientists and engineers, but artists and designers as well. The challenges of the 21st century demand creative processes that stem from the realization that design, aesthetic, and technological development have become symbiotic.

ICAT is one of the Seven Research Institutes at Virginia Tech. We are uniquely partnered with the Center for the Arts and in 2013, will join them in the state of the art facility at the corner of Main St. and Alumni Mall. ICAT is an organization of individuals, teams, and communities that create, innovate, and inspire without regard for discipline boundaries or limitations. We are a collection of artists, designers, engineers, and scientists coming together in a living laboratory that fosters creativity and promotes critical reflection.

ICAT's Integrative Mind and Performance Through the Arts, Creativity, and Technology (IMPACT) Studio

About IMPACT Studio

The newfound Integrative Mind and Performance through the Arts, Creativity, and Technology Studio aims to change our understanding of human mind and body through the exploration of emerging interactive technologies, creativity, integrative health, and their synergistic impact on human well-being. We seek seamless integration of artistic creativity into everyday living and explore its quantifiable impact on the society's overall quality of life.

Organizing Committee


  • Prof Douglas K Lindner (Electrical and Computer Eng) Chair
  • Prof Ivica Ico Bukvic (Music)
  • Prof Eileen Crist (Science and Technologies Studies)
  • Prof Ed Fox (Computer Science)
  • Prof Angela Huebner (MFT - NCR)
  • Prof Susan Hutson (Head, Human Nutrition Food, and Exercise)
  • Prof Roop Mahajan (Mechanical Eng, Director, ICTAS)
  • Prof Eric McCollum (MFT - NCR)
  • Prof Anisa Zvonkovic (Head, Human Development),


  • Mr. Michael Carroll (AAW Associates, Philadelphia, PA)
  • Prof Alan Forrest (Counselor Education, Radford U)
  • Patton Hyman, Esq, (Tail of the Tiger, Barnet, VT)
  • Mr. Rob Patzig (Third Security, Radford)
  • Prof Pat Shoemaker, (Dean, College of Education and Human Development, Radford U)

  • Diwas Thapa (Aerospace)
  • Nisha Gnawali (Biological Sciences)
  • Santhip Krishnan Kanholy (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Michael Calve (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Rohan Cobb-Ozanne (Department of Psychology)
  • Christina Williams (Chemical Engineering)
  • Eric Diogun (Biological Sciences)
  • Katie Hastings (Sociology and Psychology)

Prof Douglas K Lindner
Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
MS 0111
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Contact: Prof Douglas K Lindner -


Continuing and Professional Education @ Virginia Tech