Speakers at Empathy and Compassion in Society 2013

adam grant 150

Adam Grant is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. He is the youngest tenured professor at Wharton, recognized as Wharton’s single-highest-rated teacher. Previously, he was a record-setting advertising director at Let’s Go Publications. His pioneering studies have increased performance and reduced burnout among engineers and sales professionals, enhanced call center productivity, and motivated safety behaviors among doctors, nurses and lifeguards. He has presented for leaders at organisations such as Google, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Apple, the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, and the U.S. Army.

Alan Boyle

Alan Boyle QC has practised as a barrister for forty years and is head of Chambers at Serle Court, Lincoln's Inn. Formerly a Deputy High Court Judge, he has also worked as a professional mediator for the last ten years. Since 2001, he has spent a significant amount of time in contemplative retreats, studying and practicing meditation and compassion. He is interested in finding ways to integrate the insights of these efforts into the professional world.

Alexandra Yuille

Alexandra Yuille is a senior educator of Rigpa’s Spiritual Care programme in Australia. She had a career as CEO, creating a culture of mutual respect and compassion within a highly successful manufacturing and marketing company. Alexandra then trained and worked in pastoral care in Sydney hospitals, and now offers training health and social care professionals in compassion and presence.

Alison Murdoch

Alison Murdoch is the director of the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, an international educational NGO, and the co-author of 16 Guidelines: The Basics. She has presented and trained on the 16 Guidelines in Asia, Australia, Europe, Central and North America, organised the 1st European Conference on Happiness and its Causes in 2007, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio.

Antoine Lutz

Antoine Lutz is a neuroscientist at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center (INSERM) in France. He was previously the associate scientist of Prof Richard Davidson at the Laboratory For Functional Brain Imaging and Behaviour in the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from University of Paul and Marie Curie in Paris VI under the supervision of Dr. Francisco Varela in 2002. His principal research focus is the neurodynamical correlates of consciousness and on the relationship between neuroplasticity and meditation training. His team was the first to show the benefits of meditation from a neuroscientific point of view.

Chris Irons

Chris Irons is a Clinical Psychologist working for the East London NHS Foundation Alongside Professor Paul Gilbert, Chris has been interested in the theoretical and clinical developments and adaptations of Compassion Focused Therapy. He is a board member of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, a charity promoting well-being through the scientific understanding and application of compassion. He is currently researching the role of compassion and rumination in depression, the role of compassion and shame in psychosis and the role of compassion in relationship quality.  

Daniel Goleman 150 

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and author, world-renowned for the ground-breaking book Emotional Intelligence that has sold over 5 million copies in forty languages. TIME Magazine named the book one of the 25 “Most Influential Business Management Books”. The Harvard Business Review called emotional intelligence— which discounts IQ as the sole measure of one’s abilities — “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea”. Daniel Goleman's new book, Focus – The Hidden Driver of Excellence is to be released on 8 October and promises to be equally influential.

Emma Seppala

Emma Seppala is the Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. She is also a Research Scientist and Honorary Fellow with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.  

Jane Davis

Jane Davis, MBE, is the founder and director of The Reader Organisation, an award-winning social enterprise connecting people with great literature and each other through shared reading. Jane left school at sixteen with two O Levels and returned to education as a young single mother. She is now improving wellbeing and building stronger communities in 350 locations across the UK. In 2013, she was elected as the UK’s 20th Ashoka Fellow.


Jo Berry

Jo Berry has worked for over 10 years to resolve conflict around the world. Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee. Her preparedness to try to understand him opened a path to empathy that continues to develop. The founder of Building Bridges for Peace, Jo advocates that empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. She has spoken over 100 times with Pat Magee and works regularly in the UK and in areas of conflict including Israel and Palestine, Lebanon and Rwanda.


Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religious affairs, including A History of God,  The Case for God, and, most recently, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Her work has been translated into over fifty languages. In February, 2008, she was awarded the TED Prize and is currently working with TED on a major international project to propagate the Charter for Compassion, which was crafted by leading thinkers in six of the world’s religions.


Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is the headmaster of St John's College School in Cambridge, and was awarded the 2013 Tatler Prize for Best Headmaster. One of the school's many strengths is its mindfulness programme, part of the school’s emotions for learning project designed to strengthen children's emotional resilience.

kristin neff 150

Kristin Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first empirical studies on self-compassion over a decade ago as a healthier way to relate to one-self. She is author of the internationally acclaimed book Self-Compassion (2011) and is also featured in the bestselling book and award-winning documentary The Horse Boy, which chronicles her family’s journey to Mongolia where they trekked on horseback to find healing for her autistic son. She is currently an Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas, and has developed an eight-week program to help people learn to be more self-compassionate in daily life.

Liz Lobb

Liz Lobb is professor of palliative care at Calvary Health Care Sydney, the Cunningham Centre for Palliative Care, and the University of Notre Dame School of Medicine. She has worked as a bereavement counsellor for 23 years and is involved in the training of loss, grief and bereavement for general practitioners, nurses, clinical psychologists, social workers and welfare workers. She is part of a dynamic team working to transform St George Hospital in Sydney into a model of compassionate care.

Marina Cantacuzino

Marina Cantacuzino is an award-winning journalist. In 2004 she founded, The Forgiveness Project, a charity that uses real personal narratives to explore how ideas around forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution can be used to impact positively on people’s lives. She will present in particular her programme in prisons that aims to reduce re-offending rate and improve the staff-prisoner relationship.

Maureen 150

Maureen Cooper is the author of The Compassionate Mind Approach to Reducing Stress, which is due to be published in the UK in September 2013. She combines more than thirty years of experience as a professional educator and senior manager in a non-profit organization with a hands-on education in Buddhism. In 2004 Maureen founded Awareness in Action, a consultancy dedicated to the secular application of mindfulness, meditation and compassion in the workplace.

Patrick Gaffney 150x150 Patrick Gaffney is a writer, editor and meditation teacher. He started studying Buddhism in 1971 and specialises in particular in the compassion practices from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. A Director of the international network of Buddhist centres Rigpa, he is also the President of the Tenzin Gyatso Institute, a foundation named after the 14th Dalai Lama and established to put into action his principles and ideals, including the values of compassion, religious harmony and universal responsibility. He has co-edited the bestselling The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche and edited two of the Dalai Lama’s books.
paul ekman 150

Paul Ekman is a leading clinical psychologist and pioneer in the study of emotions. His 1970s research shows that emotions are universal and the facial expressions associated with some emotions are common to all humans. He worked for forty years at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of California. In recent years, Paul Ekman has engaged in discussions on the nature and quality of our emotional lives and compassion with the Dalai Lama, and co-authored Emotional Awareness.

Richard Barrett

Richard Barrett is an author, speaker and social commentator on the evolution of human values in business and society. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Barrett Values Centre, a values-based leadership programme used in 60 countries to support more than 4,000 organisations. Former Values Coordinator at the World Bank, he is a visiting lecturer at the University of Oxford, Exeter University, HEC in Paris, and an Adjunct Professor at Royal Roads University. His recent publications include The Values-Driven Organisation: Unleashing Human Potential for Performance and Profit (2013) and Love, Fear and the Destiny of Nations (2011).

Sarah Woods

Sarah Woods is a playwright, activist and performer creating participatory performances and events in collaboration with communities, campaigns, scientists, specialists and arts organisations. Through a combination of fact, fiction and testimony, her work focuses around choice and change in the face of our current global challenges. Sarah works with stories big and small, throwing into relief bits of our lives it is often hard to comprehend. In addition to The Empathy Roadshow, Sarah’s current work includes Watch Me (BBC Radio 4), The Roadless Trip, and a series for Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4). The Empathy Roadshow was commissioned by People United.

Stephen Shashoua

Stephen Shashoua is the director of 3FF, a non-governmental organisation that delivers award-winning social cohesion programmes to encourage interaction and learning between people of different faiths and beliefs. He is an Ariane de Rothschild Foundation Fellow, sits on the Advisory Board for the Islamic Foundation, is a UNAOC Global Expert, is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths University, is part of the ROI Community, and a Co-Founder of Iraq in Common.

yoav 150

Yoav Shamir is an award-winning documentary director based in Tel-Aviv, producer and cinematographer in film and television. His work reflects his passion to probe and uncover difficult and polarizing subject matter through an observational lens, delivering penetrating and ethically challenging interviews with an accessible charm, which entertains and appeals to a broad audience. Yoav Shamir’s films have screened at international film festivals, and have been broadcast on TV channels internationally. His documentary feature films include Marta & Luis (2001), Checkpoint (2003), 5 Days (2005), Flipping Out (2007), Defamation (2009), and 10% What makes a hero? (2013).

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