IIM Bodh Gaya Organizes International Research Conference on Mindfulness 

Bodh Gaya:  IIM Bodh Gaya organized its first International Research Conference on Mindfulness (IRCM) on 4th and 5th February 2022. It was held under the guidance of Dr. Vinita S. Sahay, Director, IIM Bodh Gaya, and was convened by Dr. Nidhi Mishra and Dr. Teena Bharti. It was organized under the aegis of Samatvam – The Mindfulness Centre of IIM Bodh Gaya.

The preconference was conducted on 3rd February 2022. Ms. Lori Schwanbeck, a Mindfulness-based Emotional Intelligence Consultant, conducted a workshop on “Tools to Optimize Workplace Well-Being”. She said, “Avoiding negative bias by openly accepting the situation we are currently facing, one should make room for possibility and positivity.” The next workshop session was conducted by Ms. Ruchika Sikri, Founder, Mandala Ventures, who navigated through the topic of “Compassion – A Necessary Skill for Outstanding Leadership”. She shared her thoughts on the ground-breaking research of the ‘Potential Project Team’ on how compassion leads to authentic leadership. Further, Ms. Lakshmi Menon Bhatia, discussed about Mindfulness Coach conducted a workshop session on “Emotional Resilience”. She discussed about the power of gratitude and how it should be included in our lifestyle.

On 4th February, the conference commenced with the inaugural ceremony. Dr. Vinita S. Sahay, Director, IIM Bodh Gaya, in her welcome speech, spoke about the value proposition of mindfulness and pointed out the benefits of concentration by stating, “Concentration is an exercise that needs to be practiced. One can master concentration by simply concentrating on breathing; whatever we practice, we can become master of that”. It was followed by unveiling of the first edited  book titled ‘Transforming Lives through Mindfulness’  edited by Dr. Vinita S. Sahay, Director, IIM Bodh Gaya and conference convenors Dr. Nidhi Mishra, and Dr. Teena Bharti.

It was followed by keynote address by Dr. Richard Badham, Professor, The University of Sydney,  who presented his views 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 coming to terms with changes and living in the moment”. The next keynote speaker, Mr. Scott Shute, Head of Mindfulness and Compassion at LinkedIn, walked the attendees through his journey and emphasized that companies should invest in Mindfulness. “People are one of the biggest assets that companies have today, and meditation helps in increasing productivity and improving the mental health of these people”, he said. Further, Dr. Rich Fernandez, CEO, Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, expressed his viewpoints on the topic “Mindfulness and Technology: The Path Forward.” He highlighted that the younger generation is adopting Mindfulness with the help of technology, for example, by using various emotional and mental wellness apps. The last keynote address of the day was by Dr. Lynn C. Waelde, Professor, Palo Alto University. She put forth her thoughts on “Mindfulness and Meditation for Self-Care and Self-Development.” She illustrated various developmental techniques through which we can attain mindfulness.

The conference has provided a platform for academicians, researchers and practitioners across the world to collaborate and exchange ideas. The conference received overwhelming response with papers presented on themes such as Mindful Marketing, Mindfulness and Sustainability, Mindfulness and Technology, Workplace Mindfulness and Employee Wellbeing, Organizational Mindfulness, and many more.

The International Research Conference on Mindfulness conference will conclude on 5th February 2022 with a Valedictory Session, addressed by Dr. Amit Bernstein, Professor, the University of Haifa, Dr. Sousan Abadian, Speaker & Educator in Leadership & Innovation and Dr. Deborah L. Schussler, Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University.

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