Diversity and equality pre-conference workshops


The following pre-conference workshops offer a unique opportunity for in-depth investigation of 'diversity and equality - leaving no one behind'. Workshop leaders represent a diverse group of mindfulness teachers, researchers and activists - and we are proud to welcome them to Aarhus. Workshops will be held at the main conference venue, at Aarhus University, from 9-16 on Monday, July 5, 2021. Please register for workshops separately, as they are not included in the main conference fee*. 


Workshop 1: 
Mindfulness, Race, and Equality - The Path Forward to Creating Embodied Peace


In this dynamic workshop, we will explore the historical and cultural context of race and the science behind the impact of racism on our biology, psychology, as well as our interpersonal relationships. We will engage in mindful dialogue and community building exercises that will open us up to a compassionate and grounded embodied exploration of our personal histories with race through story-telling and art. Participants will also explore what diversity and equality look and feel like by harnessing the power of trauma-informed and social justice-based mindfulness practices, such as the ground-breaking meditation practices from Justin Michael Williams new book “Stay Woke: A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us” and the “Science of Social Justice” - Dr. Sará King’s contemplative and evidence-based framework for healing the dis-ease of othering.


In the era of #MeToo, The Resistance, Environmental ruin, and #BlackLivesMatter, one has to ask: How do we meditate and calm our minds in the midst of chaos? What does mindfulness have to offer those who encounter injustice daily? How do we actually create a better world for ourselves and the future generations?

Together, we will explore these questions, merging science, mindfulness, movement, music, and art, and begin to chart a new path forward towards beloved community and the embodiment of peace.


“Race” is a social constructed term used to describe human physical differences that can bring up a great deal of painful emotions, especially at this point in human history when we are collectively being called to a greater understanding of how to treat people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds than our own with empathy, acceptance, and love. The word race is often associated with divisiveness, violence, the history of acts of hatred and institutionalized discrimination against entire groups of people. How can mindfulness possibly be a part of the path forward to creating peace inside of ourselves and in our relationships when issues around race can create such powerful suffering? If we belong to a group of marginalized people, how can we practice mindfulness in a way that honors the complexities of our racialized personal experiences? If we do not have an identity as marginalized, how can we use mindfulness to develop our skills as peaceful allies?


We look forward to exploring the heart of the beautiful and creative responses that will emerge from this compassionate inquiry, together.


Workshop holders:


Justin Michael Williams
Author, speaker, and top 20 recording artist who is using music and meditation to wake up the world. By working at the intersection of music, mindfulness, and social justice, Justin has become a pioneering millennial voice for diversity and inclusion. In February 2020, he published his first book titled STAY WOKE: A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us (Sounds True)—the first title of its kind by a queer, black, millennial author. With practices like “Meditating While Black,” “Stop Porn from F*cking You,” and “I Am Beyoncé”.


STAY WOKE applies meditation to a totally new context. Justin is committed to using his voice for change, and his greatest wish is to empower people from all walks of life to wake up to their life’s purpose and accomplish the dreams they once thought were impossible. To learn more, visit StayWokeGiveBack.com and @wejustwill on social media.


Dr. Sará King

Dr. Sará King is a UCLA-trained political and learning scientist, social-entrepreneur, public speaker, and yoga and mindfulness meditation instructor. She specializes in the study of the relationship between mindfulness, complementary alternative medicine, and social justice. She is currently training as a neuroscientist during her post-doc in Neurology at OHSU, studying the relationship between perceived discrimination, chronic pain and mindfulness among adolescent populations.

She is also the founder of MindHeart Consulting, offering up seminars and evidence-based research projects based on the framework she developed called the "Science of Social Justice" - a way of both studying (researching), teaching (facilitating), and healing individuals and communities from the dis-ease of othering - informed by an interdisciplinary framework that merges medical and cultural anthropology, political science, ethnic studies, feminist and queer studies, interpersonal neurobiology, cognitive and affective neuroscience, psychology, socio-linguistics, and public health. Visit: www.mindheartconsulting.com




Workshop 2:

Mindfulness in War-zones


Acknowledging the suffering and trauma so many fellow human beings are going through in different parts of the world, this workshop aims to give room to a few of their voices, from Internally Displaced People in South Sudan, landmine survivors in Colombia and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.


The workshop will explore ways in which trauma-sensitive mindfulness, based on somatic body work, can be introduced into the MBSR program when implementing it in war zones. It will also offer perspectives on how mindfulness can be a valuable tool for self-care, emotional- and mutual regulation, and fostering compassion towards oneself and others. As key to being humane, sensitive and vulnerable in challenging humanitarian and emergency contexts.


The workshop will be fundamentally experiential. Participants will learn stories from the field and will have the chance to connect and feel our common humanity, addressing questions such as: is mindfulness enough? What is mindfulness in the eyes of those who belong to diverse cultures? How can mindfulness practice be a bridge to connecting with individual and cultural resources?

There will be an immersion around the impacts of war and violence, and how they affect people physically, emotionally and spiritually and how mindfulness is a tool to help gain agency back, heal, embody and re-connect to some of the aspects that are more precious to living: love, identity, belonging, the will to live, connection and integration. Mindfulness practice will not be exposed as a panacea, but actually as a possibility that allows insight of what we are as human beings, beyond the shape of the practice as such.


Workshop holders:


Paula Ramírez

Paula is a Colombian national. While studying Anthropology—and because of an illness—she became curious about the ways in which human beings can build peace from within, and how resilience and healing can be inspired and guided through the body. She began her humanitarian work in India, Nepal, Thailand and Burma working for the Tibetan Government in Exile among others. Paula has been Co-Directing RESPIRA in Colombia (now Breathe International) since 2013 where through mindfulness, somatic body work and anthropology she has worked with teachers in conflict affected areas, survivors of torture, Gender Based Violence and landmines in Colombia, South Sudan and with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). She has an MA in Conflict Transformation from Javeriana University, is an MBSR teacher from the University of San Diego California, and is a Trauma Sensitive Yoga facilitator through the Trauma Center in Boston.


Linda Kantor

Linda Kantor, PhD, is a counselling psychologist, hypnotherapist, and yoga teacher based in Cape Town. Since 1993. Linda runs a private psychotherapy practice at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. Linda completed her PhD in April 2019, looking at “The Application of Mindfulness in the Organizational Context.”
Linda is co-founder and partner of the Cape Town Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme, which has been running since 1999. Linda is a part-time lecturer at the University Of Cape Town Graduate School Of Business, where she teaches Mindful Leadership on the Executive MBA programme. She is also a lecturer on the University of Stellenbosch’s Certification in Mindfulness-Based Interventions. https://be-awake.co.za/about/


Workshop 3:

Mindfulness and compassion through an inclusive and intersectional lens of gender

Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since 1988, yet they have not moved up to positions of prominence and power at anywhere near the rate that should have followed. Even worse are the statistics for women of color. In fact, it has been estimated that, at the current rate of change, it will take more than 100 years to reach gender equality in the C-suite. Clearly something needs to change.

This workshop will explore how mindfulness and compassion can help us deal with difficult issues like individual, institutional and systemic injustice and discrimination through an inclusive and intersectional lens of gender. We will explore how practices of mindfulness and compassion can impact efforts to address and eliminate the causes of collective unconsciousness, implicit bias, systemic oppression, and inequity.

While a previous focus on mindfulness has been to attain personal peace and calm, it is increasingly acknowledged that mindfulness also can play a positive role at a more systematic level. Mindfulness connects us to a collective form of awareness and clarity that helps us embody the value of inclusion of all people and differences.
We will explore how mindfulness and compassion can be used as tools of empowerment, conscious action, and positive change within ourselves and as part of a larger whole.


While the workshop will cover relevant and groundbreaking research within the field as well as direct experiences from implementing mindfulness and compassion on an organizational- and personal level, it will also be an explorative and experimental space. Participants will do a variety of reflections and group discussions and be guided through different mindfulness & compassion-meditations specifically designed to help us face challenges and move through and beyond our suffering. This will help us rediscover our inner voices and resources, so we can start being the change that we hope to see in ourselves, in others, and for our society and planet.

We will address questions like: How do mindfulness and compassion affect the objectives and outcomes of our inner- and outer worlds, collectives, groups, and organizations? How can we use mindfulness and compassion to inspire positive change, equity, and pervasive leadership?


Workshop holders:


Selma A. Quist-Møller

Selma is a researcher, writer, speaker, and graduate student in psychology at UC Berkeley, Copenhagen University, and UCLA. She is passionate about findings ways to cultivate individual and collective well-being, as well as making the already existing knowledge accessible for everyone, which she does as a writer for UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center. She specializes in research within positive health psychology, compassion, mindfulness, and yoga. She has co-authored and been a part of various research projects, articles, and book chapters in this regard, including a project teaching leaders at Google in a mindfulness-based leadership program for sustainability development, as well as a research project on empathy at UC Berkeley with Dr. Dacher Keltner.

Selma is also the content expert on research at Mobius - a firm that bridges the top tech leaders and their teams with the world's leading experts on well-being to help develop technology that bring out the best in humanity. Selma recently moved to UCLA to continue her graduate school researching prosociality and well-being in the 'Mind & Body-lab.' Additionally, she is working with Dr. Dan Siegel, examining ways to encourage a more united and interconnected sense of self in the world.


Lynn Koerbel, MPH, Assistant Director, Mindfulness Center at Brown University


Lynn Koerbel has been training MBSR teachers since 2012. Before joining the Mindfulness Center at Brown, she was Director of MBSR Teacher Education and Curriculum Development at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness.


Prior to her MBSR teaching and training, Lynn spent over 25 years as an integrative bodywork therapist with a focus on supporting individuals who had experienced early trauma and assisting in the integration of the body in healing. This work influenced Lynn’s deep trust in the integrity of the body and its wisdom, the nature of resilience, the power of presence, and the inspiring human capacity to meet injury, trauma and stress with resources reflecting the inherent wholeness in each person.





*Please note that the full-day workshops will also be offered as in-conference half-day workshops. Please also note that workshops require a minumum number of participants.