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2023 Conference


MARCH 2-4, 2023

2023 Keynote Speakers
& Retreat Leaders

Naomi Shihab Nye will deliver a Keynote Talk on Thursday, March 2 at 6:00 pm:
"The Poetry of our Lives - Staying Steady"


Naomi Shihab Nye is an award-winning Palestinian-America poet, essayist and educator. She describes herself as a "wandering poet," having spent more than 40 years traveling the country and the world, leading writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her PalestinianAmerican heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity. Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/ or editor of more than 30 volumes of poetry for adults and children. She is editor of nine poetry anthologies, and fiction books for young people. Among her many awards and recognitions, Naomi was 2018 Lon Tinkle Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (Texas Institute of Letters), was named the 2019-2021 Young People’s Poet Laureate (Poetry Foundation), 2020 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award recipient (National Book Critics Circle), and was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021. Nye is Professor of Creative Writing: Poetry at Texas State University in San Antonio.

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu will deliver a Keynote Talk on Friday, March 3 at 4:00 pm:
"My Grandmother's Blessings"


Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and Irish-American father. Dr. Murphy-Shigematsu draws inspiration and courage from his diverse Buddhist, Shinto, Bushido, Celtic, and Catholic heritages. His work integrates Asian spiritual wisdom with the art and scientific practice of psychology for healing and social transformation. His life’s journey is guided by a sense of destiny in crossing borders and dwelling in mastery and mystery. Educated in psychology at Harvard University, he was tenured professor of education at The University of Tokyo, and is currently at Stanford University. His books in Japanese and English include When Half is Whole and From Mindfulness to Heartfulness: Transforming Self and Systems with Compassion. For Stanford U., Stephen is a lecturer for the School of Medicine's Program in Health and Human Performance. He has designed of twelve courses in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity, has received two teaching awards, and is the Founder of the Heartfulness Lab. Stephen is president of Nichibei Care, an organization dedicated to enhancing mindful well-being and leadership in Japan and the U.S.   

Joe Klein and Charisse Minerva will co-lead a Daylong Retreat on Saturday, March 4:
"A Day of Playful and Embodied Mindfulness Practice"


Joe Klein has over ten years experience teaching meditation and relational mindfulness. He is the lead clinician of a mindfulness-based addiction treatment program called Recovery Dojo at New River Valley Community Service Board. Joe co-founded Inward Bound Mindfulness Education ( in 2010, which runs meditation retreats for teens, young adults and professionals in 9 locations across the US and Canada. At Radford University, Joe teaches a graduate course, retreats and workshops on mindfulness for counselors, social workers and other helping professionals at Radford University. Joe brings playfulness and whole brain/whole body engagement to his way of teaching and embodying mindfulness.

Charisse Minerva has facilitated Mindfulness instruction in multiple settings, including schools, counselors, arts and community organizations, athletes, and businesses. Her credits include Core Faculty for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education(iBme) Teacher Training, and Guest Instructor for University of Virginia Contemplative Sciences Center and Dalai Lama Fellowship. She developed the iBme UK Mindfulness Teen Retreat program and the Communities of Color Initiative, the Virginia Beach Friends School Mindfulness curriculum, and is presently designing professional development for WholeSchool Mindfulness (WSM). WSM places Mindfulness Directors throughout out the US, Kindergarten-University. Charisse Minerva was recently awarded a two-year fellowship at the Garrison Institute for Contemplative Studies (New York).  

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