Presenters

Educating for a Bright Future

Our growing list of presenters  features well known experts in Neohumanist Education  and other progressive professionals from around the world.

PLENARY PRESENTERS

  • Professor Sohail Inayatullah

    Professor Sohail Inayatullah is the UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies. He is a political scientist/futurist at Tamkang University, Taipei; an Associate at Melbourne Business School, the University of Melbourne; and Adjunct Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. From 2011-2014, he was Adjunct Professor at the Centre for policing, counter-terrorism and intelligence, Macquarie University, Sydney. He is the co-director of Metafuture.org, a global think-tank.

    Inayatullah has authored and co-edited twenty-four books/cdroms, including: Asia 2038 (2018); Transformation 2050 (2018); What Works: Case Studies in the Practice of Foresight (winner of the most significant work for 2016, the Association of Professional Futurists); and, CLA 2.0; Transformative Research in Theory and Practice (2015). Inayatullah has written more than 350 journal articles, book chapters, encyclopaedia entries and magazine editorials. His articles have been translated into a variety of languages, including Catalan, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Indonesian, Farsi, Arabic, and Mandarin.

    Inayatullah gives addresses and conducts foresight workshops around the world for a range of groups and organizations, including research institutes, governmental divisions, foundations, and private and public corporations.    His Ted talk on Causal Layered Analysis is here.

  • Kathleen Kesson

    Kathleen Kesson is Professor Emerita of Teaching, Learning and Leadership in the School of Education at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University. She is the former Director of Teacher Education at Goddard College in Vermont, and was the founding Director of the John Dewey Project on Progressive Education at the University of Vermont, a research and policy organization. She has written extensively in numerous academic journals about democracy and education, teacher development, teacher inquiry, unschooling, environmental education, and spirituality and the arts in education. Her books include Curriculum Wisdom: Educational Decisions in Democratic Societies, Understanding Democratic Curriculum Leadership, Defending Public Schools: Teaching for a Democratic Society, and most recently, Unschooling in Paradise. She is currently involved in exploring the connections between personalized learning, communities, social justice and democracy in Vermont. In her spare time, (and when the sun shines) Kathleen is an avid gardener, with a special passion for permaculture and pollinator plants!
    Website: kathleenkesson.com

  • Eric Jacobson

    Eric Jacobson founded the Progressive School of Long Island in 1985 and has been its Director for the past 34 years. The school now has 135 students K-8. His lifelong dedication to children and education includes 11 years previous work as a teacher and then a Director of a Montessori School. Eric has been recently recognized by Nassau County, the county in New York State where his school is situated, for 25 years of “selfless commitment to the community”. As a global trainer for Neohumanist Education, Eric has conducted Teacher Training workshops and programs in Sweden, Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, Asheville, Portland and New York. In addition to his work with in Neohumanist Education, Eric is also a student of the songs of Prabhat Samgiita, having been personally chosen by Shrii P. R. Sarkar to teach them. Regarding Progressive School, Shrii P. R. Sarkar once said, “What is accepted in New York today will be accepted in the world tomorrow.”

    School website: progressiveli.org/

  • Christian Franceschini

    Christian Franceschini was born in Bolzano (Italy) in 1964 and is an educator and trainer in the field of Yoga, Meditation and Naturopathy. He has practiced the holistic system of Ananda Marga Yoga since 1986. In 1989 he met Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, founder and leader of the Neohumanist Education System. He learned and continues studying Rajadhiraja Yoga. In 1998, when a Ministerial Circular encouraged public schools for the first time to teach yoga to children, Christian Franceschini was already active through several courses in the city of Trento and then all over the region Trentino Alto-Adige (South-Tyrol). Over 10,000 children have attended his courses or workshops in Italian, German and English. He works with the schools superintendent of Bolzano as an expert for disabled children and children having different kinds of behavior problems. For the same provincial institute he has held training courses for kindergarten teachers. He holds training courses for adults in the field of Tantra Yoga philosophy and is the Director of the Italian National Yoga and Intuitive Sciences Academy (Yogis).

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  • Didi Ananda Devapriya

    Didi Ananda Devapriya was ordained as a yogic nun of Ananda Marga in 2001, after 2 years of specialized training in Neohumanist philosophy, PROUT and Biopsychology as well as following an intensive practice of yoga and meditation at the “International School of Social Service Prashiksana Matha” in Yderfors, Sweden. The final stage of advanced training as an instructor in yoga and meditation practices took place in Kolkata, India.

    From 2001-2005, Didi managed “Asilo Nido Giardino Del Sole”, a nursery for 20 children from 0-3 in Verona Italy. Since 2005 Didi Ananda Devapriya founded and is president of the Neohumanist Association in Romania (AEN) as well as the general director AMURTEL Romania, where she has supervised two Neohumanist kindergartens, an alternative family style children’s home, an after-school center, a community supported agriculture project and a social integration program for youth leaving care. Didi has also co-authored the Children in Permaculture manual “Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share in Education”, as well as a Neohumanist Education Early Childhood Curriculum which has been submitted to the Romanian Ministry of Education. She is the author of numerous articles for the Gurukul Network, an international journal of Neohumanist Educaiton.

    Didi has a broad experience as an international speaker throughout Europe, in Australia, Lebanon and the USA on topics related to Neohumanist Education, spirituality, Biopsychology, PROUT and yoga. She was has been a trainer in Inclusive, pro-diversity approaches through a 2 year funded project that reached more than 100 kindergarten teachers and over 1000 children. She has also offered trainings in “Children in Permaculture” around the world, “Yoga for Children” and annual teacher trainings on a wide variety of subjects at the Zonnelicht school in Holland.

    Here is a video which includes Didi Ananda Devapriya presenting on the CIP project.

    The CIP manual can be found here

  • Dada Shambhúshivánanda

    Dada Shambhúshivánanda is the Chancellor of Ánanda Márga Gurukula. Dadaji has been a yogic monk and teacher of meditation since 1979. Prior to his life as a monk, he was a gold medallist of Punjab University, and received Masters and PhD in Business and Applied Economics from the Wharton School, School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania. He has served on the faculties of several universities (University of Scranton, Rutgers, Drexel, PCTS (Philadelphia University), etc, in the Eastern United States before dedicating his life for the cause of building “One Human Society” based on spiritual lifestyle. In 1992, Dadaji was the honourable recipient of the International Mahatma Gandhi Award for his contribution towards building a global community based on ecological ethics and spiritual values. The Indian Research Association also awarded him the Karyalaya Shiromani Award the same year.

    Since 1990 Dadaji has been the Chancellor of Ánanda Márga Gurukula (AMGK). Dadaji works to develop and coordinate all of the activities of the neohumanist international network, and has contributed greatly to the development of the Neohumanist Education system around the world. Dadaji is also the founding director of CNS-Sweden, NERI (Netherlands) and AM Gurukul Teachers Training College (TTC) at Anandanagar, West Bengal, India. He is the author of PROUT-Neohumanist Economics (1989) Mystic Verses (2016), Thoughts for a New Era (2018) and a contributor to ”Economic Renaissance in the age of Artificial Intelligence”(2019).

  • Sid Jordan
    Sid Jordan, also known as Acarya Vishvamitra, has combined a career as a licensed clinical psychologist and meditation teacher since 1971. As a clinical psychologist, he taught individual, group and family psychotherapy, meditation, yoga and community psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of S. C. for 25 years. During this period he also served for five years as director of the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Services at the Franklin C. Fetter Neighborhood Health Care Center in Charleston South Carolina.

    In 1994 he moved to Asheville NC to develop an eco-village to support the service community of Ananda Girisuta (Daughter of the Mountain) on the French Broad River near Marshall, NC. In 1997 he trained in India to be an Ananda Marga Family Acarya (Yoga Teacher)  committed to giving personal instructions in meditation and yoga. He currently serves as president of the Ananda Marga Gurukula Inc. Board in the US, supporting Neohumanist Education, kindergarten thru college worldwide. He is President of the Board of the Prama Institute on the Ananda Girisuta property where he helps direct programming and teaches yoga psychology and spiritual practices. At the Prama Wellness Center he teaches yoga therapy and stress management to individuals and groups. Currently he is working with the Board of the Neohumanist College of Asheville in creating a 33 acre campus to offer online and mentoring training for Neohumanist Educators globally. He continues to offer his 40 years of experience and teaching of yoga psychology, philosophy and practices to audiences worldwide.

  • Satya Tanner

    Satya Tanner had a 16-year career as a pilot and aerospace engineer in the Royal Australian Air Force, leading people and managing projects. In recent years she has been working for the energy sector in Denmark, primarily Offshore Wind. Satya has worked extensively with setting up learning organisation principles in teams and has a passion for neohumanist leadership development. Satya has a Master of Leadership, Master of Training and Development, Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering and is a registered Project Management Professional.

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  • Didi Anandarama

    Didi Anandarama was born in Slovenia and entered the order of Ananda Marga yogic nuns in 1975. She has been teaching meditation and related practices and philosophy is SE Asia, Europe and America ever since. Didi has been working with Gurukula since 2000 as a global coordinator based in Qahira Sector where she established the Nile River School in a village. She founded the “Moja Prva Knjiga” project in Croatia that is an on-going country-wise contest for children to write and illustrate their own stories. She wrote, illustrated and edited several stories for children, edited ‘Documentation on Neohumanist Education’, ‘Foundations of Neohumanist Education’ and a book ‘I Love Yoga’ for children. Presently she is working on a Women’s College and model primary school in India.

  • Amal Jacobson

    Amal Jacobson studied at the Center for Neohumanist Studies in Ydrefors, Sweden in 2004. Since then, he has taught and led classes and workshops on Neohumanism all over the world. Receiving his MA from the Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness program of the California Institute of Integral Studies, he continues to teach and write widely, with an emphasis on Neohumanism and Integral Ecology. He is currently an educational assistant at the Progressive School of Long Island, where he also teaches a daily meditation practice with its students.

  • Sucharit Katyal

    Sucharit Katyal is a cognitive neuroscientist by profession. He received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Texas Austin in 2013. His research includes studying the human mind and brain on various topics ranging from how humans perceive the visual world, to how human experience changes with meditation training. His recent project on the “role of brain oscillations in meditation” was awarded the 2019 Seal of Excellence Award by the European Commission.

WORKSHOP PRESENTERS

  • Yolande Koning

    Yolanda Koning  graduated with a degree in social academy (Higher Vocational Education) in 1979,  and in 1985 as teacher at the art academy (Higher Vocational Education). In addition she has  taken training with regard to the philosophy of Neohumanist Education. During her third year of social academe she set up a kindergarten. During her fourth year at the social academy she worked as a social worker at a youth advice center and set up a shelter for underage children who had run away.

    Yolande Koning is director of  Zonnelicht since 1997 until now. Zonnelicht is a daycare for children between 0-12 years old. Zonnelicht has 17 groups and 45 employees. From 1993 she has given training to the Zonnelicht staff in  Neohumanist Education. Since 2014 she has given  shape to Lotus Institute, a  platform for educational innovation.

    From 2001-2003 she participated in the daily routine committee to coordinate national childcare, education and leisure activities in Holland. She takes part in various participation municipal working groups.   These are: Design group IKC (quality control),  Project group 0-13,  Care structure and Network childcare

  • MahaJyoti Glassman

    MahaJyoti Glassman is currently retired and she was the Director of MorningStar Yoga Preschool for 30 years where she implemented a Neohumanist curricula in Denver Colorado USA. MahaJyoti continues to serve on that School Board. She has developed and facilitated yoga teacher training programs for adults who want to teach Astaunga Yoga to children (ages of 0-18) and has contributed to the development and implementation of the Ananda Marga Yoga Certification program internationally. MahaJyoti has written some early childhood materials for Gurukula Publications including the NHE Certificate Program for Early Childhood which has been translated into four languages. She also serves as a global teacher trainer for NHE and continues to support individuals who choose to enroll in the NHE Introductory Certificate course.

  • Ole Brekke

    Vishva Shanti Ole Brekke, a father of four and founder and director of The Commedia School in Copenhagen, has been active in Ananda Marga for nearly a half century. He has given workshops and courses on using theatre in education in universities in Sweden and Denmark as well as most other continents. He is an experienced classroom teacher working with special needs children and has been teacher in several NHE teacher trainings. As a writer and director at the Antalya Municipal Theatre in Turkey, he recently created the acclaimed “Corridor – a Mountain Mystery” a production about the development of a wildlife corridor for large carnivorous mammals in remote eastern Turkey running 82 kilometers to the border of Georgia and the large national forests there. He is also presently writing a book on teaching methods of The Commedia School that focus on training creative performers. He just initiated a long term project (40 years) to develop future conditions for a federation of cooperatives operating economically and socially throughout Ananda Nagar starting with teacher trainers to use cooperative learning approaches at all levels.

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  • Rutger Tamminga

    For the past twenty five years Rutger Tamminga has been active in Neohumanist education projects throughout South-East Asia, promoting meditation in schools, kids yoga and storytelling. From 1995- 2014 he was the educational director of the Manhattan International English School, a kindergarten and after school care program in Daya Taichung, Taiwan.

    Mr. Tamminga is a popular lecturer for a wide variety of organizations and government bodies on topics such as story telling, children’s yoga, special yoga and neohumanist education. He travels regularly to China and Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines for teacher training and parent-children workshops.

    Every year he conducts several Kids Yoga Teacher Training programs for those interested in Children’s Yoga. This is a three level course attended by over 1000 people. Additionally has given hundreds of hours of workshops for teachers on Storytelling throughout Taiwan and China. He is currently promoting The Blissful Child Project – training of mothers to tell stories and promoting the practice Quiet Time Exercises in schools.

    In 2016 he started the Amazing Kids project to promote understanding of issues related to peace for adolescents . In 2018 he started a Gurukul Mountain Retreat Center in Shimen District, near Taipei where he is responsible for developing a Gurukul Teacher Training Center.

    Since 2000 he has been publishing many books for teachers and children. Included in this list are: ‘Yoga Stories’; ‘Stories for Language Learning’; ‘Animal Songs’; A series of story books (The Walking Fish, Mama, I don’t want to sleep, Why the sun is yellow); ‘Start the Day with Love’; ‘Pst, it’s Quiet Time’; An early education curriculum in English (3 levels – 24 books); ‘Little Star Yoga Workbook’ ; ‘Yoga Touch’- for the Chinese Handicapped People Yoga; Storybugs – an English curriculum program for young learners based on Neohumanist concepts; KIDS’ World (eight books) – an English curriculum for young learners in cooperation with East West Publishers based on Neohumanist concepts; Baby’s World – a play and movement program for toddlers (1-3) consisting of four books.

  • Linda Baker

    Linda Vishala Baker is a certified K-8 teacher and holds an M.S. in counseling with K-12 certification. She worked as a teacher and school counselor for grades pre-K through 8 in a public magnet school in New Haven, Connecticut for 33 years.

    Trained in numerous innovative curricula and educational programs, Linda has consulted in a range of areas. Career highlights include training, consulting, online curriculum writing and articles for Neohumanist Education; writing and publishing a curriculum for the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute; PIMMS (Project to Increase Mastery in Math and Science education) Fellow and Student Support Facilitator with an emphasis on ECL (Emotional Well-Being, Creativity and Learning).

    Linda completed four years of facilitator training with the New England Institute of Systemic Constellations and additional training with the ECL Foundation. For three years she was a catalyst for ECL by bringing the systemic lens and ECL practices to staff, students, counselors, school leaders and parents at Conte West Hills Magnet School in New Haven. In addition, she led ECL workshops at other schools and conferences.

    In September 2017 Linda started Supporting Systems LLC . Her practice provides ECL workshops, training, consulting and on-site services to schools, conferences and other organizations.

  • Ed Glassman

    Ed Glassman has  facilitated group cooperative games and sports games for the last 25 years with public school students and spiritual aspirants of all ages . His training has been through Project Adventure books and lately studying with Dada Maheshvaranda’s book entitled “Cooperative Games for a Cooperative World.”  He has worked with ages 11 through adults of all ages. He uses games to facilitate getting to know one another, to foster cooperation, in initiatives to solve problems, to foster trust, and much more.

    Ed Glassman is also a puppeteer and has been for 49 years and performs folktales throughout Denver. Until his recent retirement, he was a classroom teacher teaching movie-making and history projects for the last 32 years.

  • Dada Vishvarupananda (DadaV)

    After training for a year as an acharya in Kathmandu in 1981/1982, DadaV lived in the Calcutta ashram of the guru, Anandamurti, for four years. During that time, he helped translate the guru’s teachings, started social service programs for rural communities, and deepened the practice of meditation. On leaving India, DadaV based himself in Washington, DC, coordinating development projects, teaching Yoga-related subjects at local universities, and conducting Yoga courses throughout the world, including courses for the wellbeing of AMURT beneficiaries. DadaV has visited over 60 countries, and considers himself a global emissary of spirituality.

  • Ruai Gregory holds a M.A., Human Development, with specialization in Parent/Community Work. She is a Professor, Early Childhood Education, at Blue Mountain Community College, Pendleton, Oregon, USA. 40+ years of her career in Education include curriculum development, teaching, consulting and work in parent education and early intervention (with children 0-5 years with disabilities). She is the founder and board chair, Pine Eagle Community Preschool, Halfway, Oregon; Founder and Co-Director of Harmony Home Nature Camp, part of Pine Eagle Art Camp, a summer program serving students of all ages.  In addition to working in education, Rekha is a writer, musician, avid hiker, yoga practitioner and new grandmother.

  • Suzanne Richman is the founder and former director of Health Arts and Sciences, a program bridging nature, culture and healing at Goddard College in Vermont. Her work focuses on creating innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to personal, social and ecological well-being. She is an educator with 40 years of experience, facilitating studies that range from ethnobotany, foodways and community health to integral health for the underserved. To facilitate these and other studies she co-designed the Learning Alliance, a network of radical learning centers focused on healing, sustainability and justice. Years ago she directed travel-study intensives to Africa, Mexico, Hawaii, China and Cuba; she has plans in the wings to explore cultural healing in Israel/Palestine. Passions include educational sovereignty, spiritual activism and tending sprawling gardens, small animals and wise elders.

ADDITIONAL WORKSHOP PRESENTERS

Dieter Dambiec has over 30 years experience in civil law, including liaising with policy makers and economists. He has masters degrees in social justice, human rights, international law, equity, communications, electronic commerce, etc. Seven Masters Degrees in total. He holds a certificate in Adult Education. He has experience drafting legal instruments, particularly complex instruments in technical aspects of communications law, rights and duties, and international aspects of radio-communications law.  Early career: lectured in legal systems and commerce. Since last 25 years worked as principal lawyer in Australian government.

Gianni Zollo and Dr. Barbara Ladisa are the creators and trainers of Balyayoga®.

Alexia Martinelli (Amrta), Salvatore Ingargiola (Satyavrata), and  Verena Dallaserra
Alexia is a Pedagogist and Yoga teacher. In her experience with children and adults she attaches great importance to the body as an instrument for awareness and real change. Salvatore is a musician and a Therapist utilizing sound and vibration. With Cristhian Franceschini (Kamaleshvara) and Cristina Franceschini (Krsnaprja) they have created a new method to bring the philosophy of yoga into everyday life and for all ages. Verena is a painter artist.

Teng Huang is currently the Professor and Director of Teacher Education Center, Fu Jen University in Taiwan. His studies are mainly about curriculum reform in the neoliberal society and teacher education. These years he focuses on cultivating a cosmopolitan global citizenship for his student teachers for elementary and secondary schools. Additionally he attempts to introduce the teaching practice and theory of Neohumanism into his department.

Andrew Langford and Alejandra Leora Adler
Together we are long term permaculture designers and eco-village actionists.   12 years ago we initiated Gaia University, a non-formal school of higher education dedicated to the complex process of facilitating students to become independent, self-directed learners and unlearners focused on the regeneration of planetary ecosystems and associated human society.  This field we term eco-social design and our approach we call Transformative Action Un/Learning. Gaio University remains our core project and has action-research projects on the go to do with the detailed technique for regenerative, carbon farming almond orchards and Valley Scale regenerating efforts using pattern languages to guide community discourse. The open badges/iCAFS project is a joint project with the International Permaculture Colab and the Permaculture Association of Britain.

Ann Donoghoe
I have been employed with The River School in the capacity of classroom teacher since 1997, Deputy from 2015 and Principal from 2017 to current. Twenty two years with The River School (run by Ananda Marga Education Ltd – Australia) has given me a passionate understanding and love of applying Neohumanism as the starting point of all learning.

Kalyanii KL Chew
I have been involved with AMURT-AMURTEL work since 2005 in various countries in Southeast Asia – Indonesia (Aceh, Padang, Central Java, Sulawesi), Myanmar and Malaysia. From disaster relief, my work has evolved into development work in Indonesia, specialising in early childhood teacher training where my role is project management. From 2010 to 2018, the projects I have worked with have reached about 400 teachers and more than 8,000 children. In our new project which will run from Jan 2019 to Apr 2022, we will work with about 1,300 teachers and more than 15,000 children in Central Java. Our training is based on the Indonesian national curriculum, which is a progressive, child-centred curriculum. Our participatory, action-learning training style aims to empower early childhood educators to in turn nurture empowered, happy and caring children of character and resilience who will grow up to contribute towards building a better world. The Child Rights Convention and a scientific approach to learning provide the foundation to our teacher training program and we believe, an appropriate link to Neohumanist Education.

Monika Misiowiec is from Sweden and is currently conducting a private psychotherapy practice in Stockholm and working with families in a social service agency.

Syamasundar Panigrahi graduated in Homoeopathic medicine and surgery from Utkal University, Odisha, M.D.,  in Complementary Medicine from B.M.C.R.C.Kolkata, MDP in Public Health Managerial challenging from Indian Institute of Management(IIM), Ahmadabad and also completed National Training course on Disability and Development. He has been working in the  Development sector for the past 20 years in education and health. Now, for the past 10 years, he is  working in Koraput on Health & inclusive education development. Its, one of the schedule districts of India, where 70% population are tribal; the literacy rate is around 10%. Once the  founder of Neohumanism, Shrii PR Sarkar, instructed for ARS activities in this area. So based on that, they did ground review and field survey. Now they are running a school having inclusive education(education inclusion for normal kids with poor, orphan, neglected, visually impaired, low vision, MR, children. They can learn in one platform with the arrangement of technical support. Syamasundar Panigrahi is part of the organization and working as the chief functionary of the project.

Rakesh Rootsman Rak is an experienced Permacultre designer teacher, forest garden specialist, yoga teacher, homeopath and reggae DJ. Rakesh has been designing and teaching permaculture to individuals and communities since 2009, and has taught over 200 permaculture, forest gardening, eco village design and related courses. His design portfolio ranges from large scale forest gardens in eco villages through to many urban community food growing gardens, private farms and back gardens as well as designing collaborative businesses, urban water retention systems and even computer software and documentation systems. Rakesh is also passionate about building communities, and the social side of permaculture, hence using sociocracy, dragon dreaming and other great tools and processes to create strong social bonds with clear ideas of how to creatively meet your needs in a project or community. He is also passionate about sharing his journey of self empowerment (learning how to make all the things you need for yourself rather than relying on the system to provide for you), this includes eco architecture (low impact housing); capturing and storing energy (electricity, heat, lighting, etc); fuel efficient heating systems (rocket heaters and stoves); water capture, purification and recycling systems, natural bee keeping and so on. He is one of the founders of the Children in Permaculture project (CiP), and is also one of the founders of the Youth in Permaculture (YiP) project.

Elly van Musscher
Educated as a dance therapist , in The International Movement Centre in Bloemendaal in the Netherlands, Elly van Mussher has been working for 25 years with several groups of people in psychiatry, always in cooperation with art therapists and psychologists. At this moment she is part of Zonnelicht and Lotus Center in Holland where she works as a host and caretaker.