Bodh Gaya: IIM Bodh Gaya organized its first International Research Conference on Mindfulness (IRCM) on February 4-5, 2022. It was held under the leadership of Dr. Vinita S. Sahay, Director of IIM Bodh Gaya, and was convened by Dr. Nidhi Mishra and Dr. Teena Bharti. It was organized under the aegis of Samatvam – The Mindfulness Center of IIM Bodh Gaya.
The pre-conference took place on February 3, 2022. Ms. Lori Schwanbeck, Mindfulness-Based Emotional Intelligence Consultant, facilitated a workshop on “Tools to Optimize Workplace Wellbeing”. She said: “Avoiding negative bias by openly accepting the situation we are currently facing, there needs to be room for possibility and positivity.” The next session of the workshop was led by Ms. Ruchika Sikri, Founder of Mandala Ventures, who navigated the theme “Compassion – A Necessary Skill for Exceptional Leadership”. She shared her thoughts on the ‘Potential Project Team”s groundbreaking research on how compassion leads to authentic leadership. Additionally, Ms. Lakshmi Menon Bhatia, discussed on Mindfulness Coach, facilitated a workshop session on “Emotional Resilience”. She discussed the power of gratitude and how it should be included in our way of life.
On February 4, the conference began with the inaugural ceremony. Dr. Vinita S. Sahay, Director of IIM Bodh Gaya, in her welcome speech, spoke about the value proposition of mindfulness and highlighted the benefits of focus saying, “Concentration is an exercise that must be practiced. Concentration can be mastered by simply concentrating on the breath; whatever we practice, we can become masters of it”. It was followed by the unveiling of the first edited book titled “Transforming Lives through Mindfulness” edited by Dr Vinita S. Sahay, Director, IIM Bodh Gaya and conference organizers Dr Nidhi Mishra and Dr Teena Bharti.
It was followed by a keynote address by Dr Richard Badham, Professor at the University of Sydney, who presented his perspective on “Mindfulness in a COVID and post-COVID world”. He described different dimensions of mindfulness and noted, “If we stick to our traditional mindset, we often get stressed. Mindfulness is about accepting change and living in the moment. The next keynote speaker, Mr. Scott Shute, Head of Mindfulness and Compassion at LinkedIn, guided participants through his journey and emphasized that companies should invest in mindfulness. “People are one of the greatest assets of businesses today, and meditation helps increase productivity and improve the mental health of these people,” he said. Additionally, Dr. Rich Fernandez, CEO of the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, shared his insight on the topic “Mindfulness and Technology: The Way Forward.” He pointed out that the younger generation is embracing mindfulness with the help of technology, for example, using various emotional and mental wellness apps. The final keynote address of the day was given by Dr. Lynn C. Waelde, professor at the University of Palo Alto. She shared her thoughts on “mindfulness and meditation for self-care and personal development.” She illustrated various developmental techniques through which we can achieve mindfulness.
The conference provided a platform for scholars, researchers and practitioners from around the world to collaborate and exchange ideas. The conference received an overwhelming response with papers presented on topics including Conscious Marketing, Mindfulness and Sustainability, Mindfulness and Technology, Mindfulness in the Workplace and Employee Wellbeing, organizational mindfulness and many more.
The International Mindfulness Research Conference will end on February 5, 2022 with a farewell session, delivered by Dr. Amit Bernstein, professor at the University of Haifa, Dr. Sousan Abadian, lecturer and educator in leadership and innovation and Dr. Deborah L. Schussler, Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University.