Highlights — ChangeMakers: Disruptors Transforming the World for Good
In April 2018 global changemakers converged at Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield, Iowa, to explore what it takes to make a seismic difference on this planet. “ChangeMakers: Disruptors Transforming the World for Good” was the first event in a new Changemaking Series, hosted by MIU and the David Lynch Foundation (DLF).
Michael Sternfeld, Prologue
Michael Sternfeld, producer of the “ChangeMakers” conference, introduced the event and welcomed attendees to the series, setting the stage for all that followed. He also produced all the videos of the event.
Bob Roth is the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity which has brought the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique to over 500,000 inner-city youth in underserved schools in 35 countries, to veterans and their families who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and women and children who are survivors of domestic violence. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation. Serving as the introducer, interviewer, and moderator for the Changemakers conference, he also talked about his own work “disrupting suffering” by bringing the TM technique to those in need.
Jeffrey Abramson is a partner in The Tower Companies, an award-winning, family-owned real estate development company headquartered in Rockville, MD, and a recognized green building leader. He is the driving force behind the company’s well-known sustainability success. Jeffrey is an international authority on green building technology and serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Building Museum. He co-founded The David Lynch Foundation davidlynchfoundation.org, and is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Maharishi International University. His investment in research on the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique yielded $25 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health on the effects of TM on cardiovascular disease.
Iconic filmmaker David Lynch demonstrates that artists also serve as changemakers. In addition to his boundary-breaking filmmaking style, Lynch is also the founder of the foundation that bears his name. Created 13 years ago by Lynch, the vision for the foundation was to help ease the all-pervasive epidemic of trauma and stress among at-risk populations by teaching these groups the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique. In a lively Q&A with MIU students he talks about creative and social change.
Father Gabriel Mejia
Father Gabriel found his own mission at age 37 when he saw the streets of Medellin filled with unwanted children, called “the disposable ones.” A man filled with love—and the unbounded energy and creativity to change lives—he responded to the need by creating the first shelter, a sanctuary for children where they could find a good meal and a safe place to sleep. Thirty years later, his Hogares Claret Foundation runs 52 centers and has rescued and restored dignity to the lives of over 100,000 children and young adults. He shares the story of how he became a changemaker.
Visit Father Mejia’s Homes Claret Foundation website >
Laura Dawn with Daron Murphy
Laura Dawn was one of the founding members and Creative & Cultural Director of political action group MoveOn.org. Laura spent the last decade leading groundbreaking cultural campaigns, which have achieved over 500 million online views. Her forte is viral content creation and high-level collaborations between renowned artists and grassroots activists to spur action for social change. She is joined by her partner and co-creator Daron Murphy on her latest initiative—the cultural strategy firm ART NOT WAR. With a background as a musician, she was also the lead singer for Moby. Laura and Daron share the story of how they became changemakers and give practical advice for how to become a changemaker yourself.
Barry “Ra” Frye
Barry “Ra” Frye grew up on Chicago’s South Side and had to overcome his own experience with PTSD before returning to his neighborhood to begin rebuilding the community. His goal has been to transform the challenges of gang violence by regenerating its leaders with the Passages program priderocchicago.org, which incorporates the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique into its delivery. He shares the story of how he became a changemaker working with gang members in Chicago.
Nakisha Hobbs is the Principal and Co-Founder of Village Leadership Academy vlacademy.org, where the primary focus is to transform urban youth into global leaders. Incorporating the DLF Quiet Time program as a foundation, the Academy manifests her vision to train inner-city youth to be the next generation of changemakers. She shares the story of what she learned from being the child of struggling teen parents, to found a school to empower children with backgrounds like hers.
Dusty Baxley is a veteran who served two tours of duty as an Army Ranger specializing in combat parachute assault. After returning to civilian life, he found many of his fellow veterans were falling into deep depression and even suicide. Responding to this need, Dusty has dedicated his life, passion and abilities to bring relief, healing and hope to active-duty veterans and transitioning military personnel experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). He shared the personal story of his own struggle with PTS, then starting the TM technique, becoming a TM instructor, and partnering with others to create a program for Post-Traumatic Growth called Boulder Crest, with TM as a foundational element.
John Hagelin, Ph.D., is a renowned Harvard-trained quantum physicist, public policy expert, educator, and leading proponent of peace. He is President of Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, and International President of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace. Dr. Hagelin conducted pioneering research at CERN (the European Center for Particle Physics) and at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and is responsible for the development of a highly successful grand unified field theory based on the superstring; his articles are among the most cited references in the physical sciences. Dr. Hagelin is one of the world’s preeminent researchers on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique on brain development, and its use in addressing critical problems in education, rehabilitation, crime and social violence, and world peace. He spoke about his work in these areas.