Building Just Communities

The 7th Annual ACMHE Conference

October 8-11, 2015
Blackburn University Center, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
Start time: 5pm, Thursday, Oct. 8th (registration and plenary)
End time: 1pm, Sunday, Oct. 11th

View/download the conference program (.pdf)

2015 ACMHE Conference Program

Registration is now closed!



Conference Theme

The 7th Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference will explore contemplative approaches to creating and sustaining just communities: approaches that foster connection while recognizing and honoring difference, with a commitment to the common flourishing of all. These approaches should examine the profound ways in which our social locations within higher education–based on age, gender, sexual orientation, discipline, ability, religion, race, social/economic class, nationality, contemplative tradition–affect and are affected by differing levels of advantage or disadvantage. As we recognize our interdependence and our responsibilities to one another, we can cultivate more ethical, compassionate, and more socially just communities.

We often see contemplative approaches as practices focused inward, as forms of self-inquiry and reflection for fostering intrapersonal development. However, we also know that they arise out of and influence broader human relations, developing and sustaining greater interpersonal connection. What is this connection? How can interpersonal connection be nurtured, especially in the service of social justice and the creation of “beloved communities” like those envisioned by Josiah Royce and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Presentations might address questions such as:

  • How can we use contemplative approaches to create beloved community in our institutions of higher education?
  • What have social movements (past and present) taught us about building just communities and the use of contemplative practices in creating a just world?
  • How can contemplative practices help us honor differences between us, recognizing the sociopolitical dynamics that so often accompany those differences?
  • What is the responsibility of contemplative pedagogy with regard to social justice initiatives/movements?
  • How can contemplative communities do the work of unsettling oppression, both within the communities and outside of them? How can we be guided by the work of contemplative and spiritually-based communities throughout history?
  • How can we inspire students to engage in just community building through contemplative pedagogy?
  • How can these initiatives more effectively engage marginalized students?



2015 Conference Committee

Kakali Bhattacharya
Kansas State University

Beth Berila
St. Cloud State University

Stephanie Briggs
Community College of Baltimore County

Jennifer Cannon
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michelle Chatman
University of the District of Columbia

Bradford Grant
Howard University

Mary Dolores Guerra
Arizona State University

Renee Harrison
Howard University

Paul Wapner
American University

Conference Organizers

Jennifer Akey
Interim Event Coordinator, The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Jennifer Palmer
Program Associate & Events Coordinator, The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Conference Coordinator

Bradford Grant
Professor, Architecture and Design, Howard University

Conference Director

Daniel Barbezat
Professor, Economics, Amherst College
Director, The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society