Nicholas Vreeland is the Abbot of Rato Dratsang, one of a few important Tibetan Government monasteries under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Vreeland is also Director of The Tibet Center, the oldest Tibetan Buddhist Center in New York City. He is a Buddhist monk and holds a Geshe degree, the equivalent of a PhD.
Born in Geneva Switzerland to American parents, Vreeland was educated in Europe, North Africa, and the United States, after which he pursued a career in photography. In the late sixties and early seventies, Vreeland worked as an assistant to Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, and studied film at New York University. In 1977 he met Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, founder of The Tibet Center, and became a monk in 1985.
Vreeland is the editor of the books, An Open Heart, a New York Times best seller, and the 2011 release, A Profound Mind, both authored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is also founder of Photos for Rato, a series of photographic exhibitions that have been held in France, Italy, Germany, India, and the U.S., which underwrote, through the sale of his photographs, a large part of the construction of Rato Monastery in India. In 2011 an exhibition of Vreeland’s photographs titled Return to the Roof of the World was held at the Leica Gallery in New York. The exhibition has traveled to Taipei, Taiwan and most recently to the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden Museum in West Palm Beach, Florida.
On April 20, 2012 His Holiness the Dalai Lama appointed Geshe Vreeland Abbot of Rato Monastery. This was an historic moment; the first time that a Westerner had been appointed abbot of an important Tibetan Buddhist monastery. On making the appointment, His Holiness stated, “Your special duty (is) to bridge Tibetan tradition and Western world.” Vreeland divides his time between The Tibet Center in New York and Rato Dratsang in India.
Professor Wood is Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. He graduated from the University of Sheffield in metallurgy and studied for his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge (Darwin College). He has served in a number of academic posts in the U.K., as well as being a founder member of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures and its chair in 2004. He became the first chair of the European Research Area Board in 2008, subsequently producing a long-term strategic vision entitled, Preparing Europe for a New Renaissance.
Professor Simms is an Irish historian and Professor of the History of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses primarily on the history of European Foreign Policy. He is director of the Forum on Geopolitics at Cambridge, as well as President of the Project for Democratic Union, and President of the Henry Jackson Society.
Karen Sherlock qualified as a Chartered Tax Accountant whilst working for one of the Big Four accountancy firms, joining general practice from HM Revenue and Customs. Karen was a School Bursar before moving to Cambridge in 2013, an understanding of the importance and opportunity that comes from education and providing good life experiences encouraged her to transfer the financial and business management experience from general practice to the running of a school.
Karen continues to work alongside schools helping them to manage the running of a school, she also gardens enthusiastically.
Cameron Taylor founded Inspire Dialogue Foundation with an aim to increase the level of trust and inclusion in society. Among milestones, he organized the Dialogue with the Dalai Lama and Inspiring Dialogues with Children and Young People hosted by Rowan Williams in September 2015, as well the Dalai Lama’s four day visit to Cambridge in 2013. A Gates Cambridge Scholar, Dr. Taylor was elected to the Gates Scholars Council for two years as editor-in-chief of the Gates Scholar Magazine, which published articles by University of Cambridge scholars and alum. He earned his Ph.D. from St. John’s College, University of Cambridge.
Ms. Wolfe is a California-based writer and editor who has worked in diverse fields. She began her professional career as a writer and journalist in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Alaska, working for The Associated Press. She has since served in a number of senior communication roles in government and business, as well as consulting with biotechnology and technology companies. In addition, she supports a number of non-profit organizations.
Ms. Willis practiced death penalty mitigation for a number of not-for-profit organizations, which contracted with federal courts and local public defenders offices across the country to represent capital case defendants during the penalty phase. She also worked to support homeless and tenants rights in San Francisco. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a law degree from the University of San Francisco.
Ms. Papworth is the co-founder of the Williams Papworth Studentship at the University of Cambridge. Bill and Hilary Papworth established the studentship to make available scholarships to deserving candidates from the Tibetan Plateau or surrounding countries or regions.
Ms. Seaward is a filmmaker with extensive, international credits, including producing the Oscar-winning film, The Queen, for which she won a BAFTA for Best British Film and an Academy Award nomination and the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. Ms. Seaward was awarded “Producer of the Year 2012” at the Women in Film & TV Awards. She actively supports a number of charities, as well as the Dalai Lama’s vision for peace and non-violence, culminating in bringing His Holiness to Glastonbury in 2015.
Mr. Mehrotra was educated at the Universities of Oxford and Columbia. His nine books include, The Mind of the Guru, Thakur – A Biography of Ramakrishna, The Essential Dalai Lama, and The Dalai Lama, on Life, Living and Happiness. Mr. Mehrotra, an independent filmmaker, is Managing Trustee, & Commissioning editor of The Public Service Broadcasting Trust. He has directed/produced more than 650 documentary films, winning more than 200 awards. For decades he ran a successful talk show on television, In Conversations. Rajiv Mehrotra has been a Judge for the Templeton Prize for Religion.
Patricia Marsh is a Fellow Commoner of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, as well as the McDonald Trust Representative, McDonald Institute of Archeological Research, Cambridge. She has been a director of a number of PLC companies and Chairman of Birmingham Children’s hospital, NHS Trust. She is a founder member of the International Women’s Forum. She has been instrumental in supporting women’s sports, having been chairman of the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club for nearly a decade.
Mr. Gutierrez is the founder of CG Creative Studios, one of the top creative communications agencies for event, digital and video production. He has won numerous awards for his vision uniting world-class creative design and groundbreaking digital technology. CG Creative clients have included some of the world’s biggest enterprises, among them Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Disney and Sony, but the company also supports the growth of start-ups in emerging fields and not-for-profit organizations.
A British lawyer with 30 years of experience in the private client sector, James Wilcox serves as Managing Partner, Floreat Group. He joined Floreat in 2011 to lead Floreat Private, which manages and oversees non-financial related services for the group’s core international client base, and has been a board member and shareholder since 2012. He read law at Manchester and studied corporate finance at the London Business School.
Petronella Panérus is CEO of Åkestam Holst, one of Sweden’s top advertising agencies. Awarded ‘agency of the year’ seven times, Åkestam Holst’s portfolio includes clients and brands such as IKEA, SAS, TV4, ATG, Haglöfs, Apotek Hjärtat among others.
Ho Sung Cho is Vice President, Biotherapeutics at Celgene. He is a Protein Medicinal Chemist with more than 24 years of experience in recombinant protein expression, purification, modification and analysis. Prior to joining industry, Dr. Cho worked on the structural genomics project at the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. He received his Ph. D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.
Philip Wigge is research group leader at the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. His team studies how crops and wild plants respond to climate change. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. His interest in plants dates to research at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Ca., and later at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.
As Chair of Trustees of Inspire Dialogue Foundation, Lord Williams has been integral to the foundation’s vision from the beginning. He is a noted theologian and poet. Lord Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, confirmed in 2002 and serving for a decade before becoming Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.