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CTR Giving Opportunities

There is no greater engine for evolution in the world than groundbreaking ideas. CTR brings together the best leading edge thinkers to accelerate our collective evolution by literally dreaming a new world into being.

Stephen Dinan CEO, The Shift Network, author of Radical Spirit, and former CTR staff member

CTR seeks support for the following invitation-only conferences. Underwriting is needed for project research, facilitators, translators, coordination, summary writers, occasional expert fees, travel and accommodation, and special outreach projects. 

International Abrahamic Network (IAN): In response to the rise of fundamentalism and terrorism around the world, in 2004 Esalen began work to foster healing among prominent faith leaders in Islamic, Jewish, and Christian communities through multiple partnerships and projects.  Dulce Murphy, Michael Murphy, and Joseph Montville are now leading this work under the banner of IAN (formerly called the Abrahamic Family Reunion) with activities linked with Abrahamic faith leaders in the Middle East. Click here for more information about the work of IAN.

Citizen Diplomacy with China: UC Berkeley Professor and MacArthur Fellow, Xiao Qiang, along with Chungliang Al Huang, Sam Yau, Jay Ogilvy, Michael Murphy and Dulce Murphy of TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy convened a fourth year of cultural exchange with China in September 2011. This conference focused on how the interrelated areas of art and design can be strategic forces toward improving cultural, business, and social attitudes in today's rapidly changing Chinese society; and it contributed greatly to the conference’s larger goal of creating friendship and deeper understanding between China and the United States. The fifth year of this conference series will occur in October 2012.

Citizen Diplomacy with Russia: Led by Michael Murphy and Dulce Murphy, and in conjunction with TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy and colleagues in Moscow, Esalen’s CTR is promoting Russian-American partnerships designed to improve the relationship between our two nations. To this end, we are sponsoring a series of invitational conferences, smaller meetings and other projects to improve Russian-American relations. In 2012, the Esalen/TRACK TWO Arts Project, also known as the Esalen Pacifica Prize, will promote cultural expression and exchange among California College of the Arts (CCA) students, and artists from the Far Eastern Academy of Art (FEAA) in Vladivostok, Russia.

Conscious Business Conclave: In February 2011, the Center for Theory and Research (CTR) hosted a momentous conference titled, “Conscious Business.” Initiated by Esalen Board Chairman, Sam Yau, and co-designed with Jay Ogilvy and others, this event brought together progressive business leaders with systems thinkers and spiritual teachers to share their personal values and discuss the emergence of new business models that honor employees and the environment. As the first gathering of its kind, it featured current or former CEOs and senior executives from seven of the companies picked by Fortune magazine as the best 100 to work for. Prominent names included John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, and Chade-Meng Tan, Head of Personal Growth at Google, with Starbucks, Bright Horizons, Nordstrom, The Container Store, and Trader Joe’s represented as well. As the week unfolded, it became clear that the heart-felt sharing and depth of intellectual exchange was making a unique contribution to the emergence of the conscious business movement. In 2012, CTR hosted its second Conscious Business Conclave.

Evidence for Life After Death: Michael Murphy has spearheaded a decade-long conference series assessing the evidence for the human survival of bodily death. Ed and Emily Kelly’s recently published groundbreaking book, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology of the 21st Century, grew directly out of the intensive dialogues in this series. It presents empirical evidence that the materialistic assumption underlying nearly all of current mainstream psychology, neuroscience and philosophy of mind is fundamentally flawed. Even more exciting, this book makes a powerful case that it is possible – without resort to religious dogma of any kind – to answer the question “does something in us exist after death?” The book’s claim is that we can answer that question with a “yes.” Furthermore, this group is now working on a new book, which will present a theoretical model of post-mortem survival that researchers in various fields can test empirically.

The Big Vision of Evolution: Throughout Esalen’s history Michael Murphy has hosted leading scholars of evolution and spiritual transformation to discuss the emerging vision of human evolution. Often described as “evolutionary panentheism,” this vision looks at how to reconcile scientific and mystical perspectives into a more encompassing vision of human possibility. It includes Rice University Professor Jeff Kripal’s pioneering work on how the film industry portrays the emergence of paranormal capacities in humans.

Complexity Economics: In October 2012, longtime CTR conference facilitator Jay Ogilvy, along with Esalen’s Board Chairman Sam Yau, W. Brian Arthur, and Eric Beinhocker gathered leading economists, social scientists, physical scientists, and other researchers in applying complexity theory to economics. They are joined by a small number of influential decision makers, practitioners, and foundation officers to discuss new directions for economics. The following are four examples of problems complexity economics might address: economic and financial system policies; inequality; poverty and development; and innovation and growth.

For further information, please contact Jane Hartford, Director of Development Center for Theory & Research at (415) 459-5438 or

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