Contemplative Practices for Collective Healing and Liberation

17th Summer Session on Contemplative Practices in Education

August 2 - 5, 2021
Broadcast Live via Zoom

Regular registration: $350
With an Access Grant: $175 (apply here)
Graduate & Undergraduate Students: $75
A $50 ACMHE member discount applies to all rates (join ACMHE here)

Registration closed on Friday, July 23rd. Please contact Maya Elinevsky with any questions.

By coming together to create a supportive, collaborative, and engaging academic community, we can experience how contemplative practices transform education.

The 2021 Summer Session will focus on how educators can move forward from the events that have shaped our lives this past year. By integrating contemplative practices with a social justice lens, we will explore ways to cultivate joy and happiness in our teaching, research, and civic engagement towards collective well-being and liberatory change.

The Summer Session offers a unique combination of course development, community building, experiential learning and time for practice. Past attendees have referred to it as their “yearly tune up,” a chance for personal reflection, self-care, and pedagogical development. We encourage newcomers to contemplative pedagogy and inquiry to attend, as the Summer Session seeks to offer participants a foundation for understanding, experiencing, and developing contemplative approaches.

Through plenary presentations, small group work, and time for practice and self-reflection, participants will reflect on their identities, their complex meanings, and their connections to their roles as educators within education and in our communities.

The Summer Session is facilitated by a multidisciplinary team of educators with extensive experience across many aspects of higher education. Together they will provide you with guidance as you explore how to effectively and responsibly integrate contemplative practices into your educational environments.

Some of the questions that we bring to this year’s summer session include, but are not limited to:

  • How do we acknowledge each other’s histories and still engage in social justice practices with compassion?
  • Is it possible for higher education, community, and social justice practices to be in harmony with each other for the good of all?
  • How do we honor different types of literacies and approaches to teaching and learning?
  • What types of activism can support an intergenerational community?
  • How can contemplative practices be one of many paths that can transform higher education?

Attendees will engage in a range of guided practices, including mindful movement, art-making, and dialogue. These are intended to prepare participants for the deep inquiry and meaningful self-exploration we hope to foster during our time together.

The 17th Summer Session on Contemplative Practices in Education is primarily designed for those in higher education (faculty, staff, administrators, graduate students, and researchers), but attendance is open to all who are seeking to:

  • develop contemplative methods to inform their work within and beyond “classroom” settings;
  • examine their own unique identities and experiences to help create inclusive, responsive, inquiry-based learning environments;
  • deepen their personal practice;
  • build friendships within a diverse, interdisciplinary community of scholar-practitioners.

Although online, we still intend to offer opportunities for:

  • personal and professional growth and development through contemplative practice, stimulating  discussions, and reflection;
  • contemplative practice to navigate through the complexities, uncertainties and possible discomforts of new learning experiences;
  • reconnection with old friends and creation of  new friendships with colleagues from diverse world-views and across many disciplines and types of institutions;
  •  brave spaces to explore the connections between contemplative practice and social justice, and how that informs effective teaching and learning.
  • a certificate of completion upon request.

It does NOT offer:

  • easy answers and step-by-step solutions; there is no single “how-to” that can be applied to this work.


2021 Summer Session plenary presentations:

2021 Summer Session Facilitators


Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde

2021 Summer Session Chair

Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde, Ph.D., is a Memory Keeper, poet, ancestral priest in the Yoruba Orisa tradition, healing facilitator, and doula. Her research and creative works are grounded in contemplative and African-based ritual practices, and respectfully approach the Earth and human bodies as sites of memory, and always with the understanding that memory never dies, is subversive, and can be recovered to transform transgenerational trauma and pain into peace and power. In 2016, she joined faculty from the IU School of Education at the University of Juba, South Sudan, to help create a two-year Master’s program in Teaching Emergencies. Through Spirit & Place (IUPUI), she is a Civic Reflections trainer, a Powerful Conversations on Race facilitator, and will lead their Racial Trauma and Healing series. Her most recent works address anti-Black racism and violence, genocide, sexual violence, and healing, and can be found in If My Body Could Talk,  North Meridian Review, the Massachusetts Review, Tupelo Quarterly, FIRE!!!, Keeper of My Mothers’ Dreams, and in the book Ashe: Ritual Poetics in African Diasporic Expressivity. 

She is the founding director of The Graduate Mentoring Center (Bloomington), a faculty fellow for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for which she designed the anti-Black racism training module, and a faculty member in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. Dr. Abegunde is a Cave Canem, Sacatar, Ragdale, and NEH fellow.

Yuria Celidwen

Yuria Celidwen

Yuria Celidwen, Ph.D. is of Indigenous Nahua and Maya descent from the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. As a scholar, she works on the intersection of Indigenous studies, cultural psychology, and contemplative science. Her interests are the interdisciplinary approaches to the experience of self-transcendence, its embodiment in contemplative practice, and how it enhances prosocial behavior (ethics and compassion) across contemplative and Indigenous traditions. She developed the thesis of the “Ethics of Belonging,” an earth-based ecological experience that engenders and ethos of conscious social responsibility for self, community, and environment. Within this work, she examines how self-identity relates to cultural narratives, and how reconstructing them can transform the social and racial injustices of our times. She brings the voices of Indigenous peoples of the world as equal holders of sophisticated systems of contemplative insight, and she emphasizes the reclamation, revitalization, and transmission of Indigenous wisdom, the advancement of Indigenous rights and the rights of the Earth for social and environmental justice. Learn more about Dr. Celidwen at

Lisa-Marie Napoli

Lisa-Marie Napoli

Lisa-Marie Napoli, Ph.D., is director of the Political and Civic Engagement (PACE) Program and Senior Lecturer at Indiana University, Bloomington. Most of her work focuses on conflict management, deliberative democracy, and civic action. She is founder of Voices for Democracy and Civility, a project that trains students as facilitators to support community members and leaders to reflect, deliberate, and act on public issues, and founding chair of the Big Ten Voting Challenge at IU Bloomington, part of a national competition encouraging awareness and action of voter registration, non-partisan voter education, and voter turnout.

Over the past decade, the emphasis in her teaching, research, and service focuses on leadership, college students and politics, democracy, restorative justice, community health, community justice, public voice, and other social and environmental issues that can be examined at the intersection of government and community. In all her work, there is an underlying goal of collaboration to make equitable positive change for healing.

Lisa-Marie has a lifelong passion to bridge conflicting perspectives for greater understanding. With nearly 30 years of experience as a group facilitator, interpersonal mediator, conflict coach, and workshop trainer, she draws from her spiritual practices as a foundation. Lisa-Marie is a bridge-builder, at heart, and is active in the Bloomington community as a public engagement consultant, mediator, and organizer. She is currently involved in community projects to support community health and to deal with civil unrest to bridge divides.

David Robinson-Morris

David W. Robinson-Morris

David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D. is the Regional Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Bayou Region at Ochsner Health. He is the Founding Director of The Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at Xavier University of Louisiana, former Assistant Professor in the Division of Education and Counseling and served as the university’s Assistant Vice President of Development in the Office of Institutional Advancement. David holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Research with a dual concentration in Higher Education Administration and Curriculum Theory, and an Education Specialist (Ed. S.) Certificate in Educational Leadership with a focus on applied research, measurement, and evaluation both from Louisiana State University (LSU).

Influenced by his understanding of Ubuntu—a South African philosophical notion of communalism and shared humanity—Dr. Robinson-Morris’ work promotes deep dialogical engagement as an approach to achieving racial, gender, and health equity when communities come to understand that our humanity is shared and is a quality we owe another.

Kai Cheng Thom

Kai Cheng Thom

Kai Cheng Thom is  writer, performer, former clinical social worker, somatic coach and conflict resolution practitioner based in Toronto/tkaronto.  She is the author of five award-winning books in multiple genres, as well as the advice column Ask Kai: Advice for the Apocalypse.  A noted educator in the areas of mental health, sexuality, and trauma, she is the developer of the Loving Justice framework, a spiritual and somatic lens on Transformative Justice.

Registration closed on Friday, July 23rd

If you have any questions, please contact Maya Elinevsky at or at 413-842-6463.