Jaap Sluijter has a long-standing interest in the questions raised by J. Krishnamurti. Currently, Jaap is the Executive Director of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America, he is in this position for almost 8 years. Previously, he lived and taught for nine years at Brockwood Park School in England. He has an MA in Mechanical Engineering and worked as a design engineer in the field of camera systems and musical instruments.
Jaap will present an overview of the work of the Foundation in the past, present and the plans for the future.
Michael Mendizza is an author, educator, documentary filmmaker and former trustee of the KFA. Michael created together with Evelyne Blau, three biographical documentaries’ and educational programs about the life and insights of Krishnamurti: The Challenge of Change, With A Silent Mind and The Mind of Krishnamurti, Beyond Myth and Tradition, and the KFA book Flowering. Part of this work involved over 100 personal interviews with individuals close to Krishnamurti in Europe, the United Kingdom, India and America. Michael recently published Always Awakening Buddha’s Realization Krishnamurti’s Insight with Professor Samdhong Rinpoche. He is currently developing Unconditionally Free, Krishnamurti in Context, a new book inspired by the Mind of J. Krishnamurti Exhibit he and Evelyne created. You can download Michael Mendizza’s presentation here (PDF).
David Edmund Moody, Ph.D is the author of An Uncommon Collaboration: David Bohm and J. Krishnamurti (Alpha Centauri Press, 2017). Bohm was a renowned theoretical physicist who worked closely with Krishnamurti for 25 years. Moody knew both men well in his capacity as director of Oak Grove, the position he held at the time of Krishnamurti’s death in 1986.
Moody was the first teacher hired at Oak Grove when it opened its doors in 1975. His experiences there as teacher, educational director, and director are described in his previous book, The Unconditioned Mind: J. Krishnamurti and the Oak Grove School (Quest, 2011). This book recounts the history of the first twelve years of the school, including Krishnamurti’s close involvement in it and Moody’s many interactions with him.
After he left Oak Grove, Moody took his doctorate degree from UCLA, where his research focused on student understanding of important concepts in the sciences. Portions of his research were published in Mapping Biology Knowledge (Kluwer, 2000). He is the author of numerous articles in popular and professional journals on topics related to science, education, and the work of Krishnamurti.
Professor Krishna was born in Chennai (south India) but grew up in Indore (central India) where his parents were educationists. He first met and heard Krishnamurti in 1957-58 and continued to listen to Krishnamurti during his visits to the education centre in Rajghat, Varanasi. He was a Professor of Physics at the Banaras Hindu University when in 1985 Krishnamurti asked him to take charge of the Rajghat Education Centre as its Rector and Principal of the Rajghat Besant School. He worked in this capacity till 2003 and has since been in-charge of the Krishnamurti Study Centre at Rajghat. He has lectured all over the world on Krishnamurti’s teachings, science, society and education. In 2015 he wrote a memoir entitled, “ A Jewel on a Silver Platter: Remembering J.Krishnamurti”
Fran Faraz is the Peace Studies Program Director at Golden West College. She teaches courses in Peace Studies, Conflict Resolution, Leadership and Social Justice. She focuses on teaching peace through an understanding of human rights, ecological and economic well-being, equity, non-violence, and intellectual transformation. Fran hosts the annual Peace Conference here at Golden West College, as well as a number of other peace-themed events and forums throughout the year.
She says: “I chose to become an educator because I’m committed to impacting the lives of those around me, and I believe education is a source of empowerment for individuals striving to live their lives with integrity, fairness, selfsufficiency, and dignity.
Michael Krohnen was born in Germany and emigrated to the U.S. after high school graduation to attend college in Southern California. During studies of the world religions, he discovered J. Krishnamurti and subsequently attended his talks in India, Europe and the U.S. In 1975, he joined the Oak Grove School as chef de cuisine (learning on the job) and also became Krishnamurti’s personal chef during the latter’s annual three-month sojourn in California. This eleven-year unique and profound experience he describes in his book The Kitchen Chronicles – 1001 Lunches with J. Krishnamurti. Currently he works as library coordinator at the Krishnamurti Center in Ojai.
Pathik Wadhwa is a Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, where he directs the UC Irvine Development, Health and Disease Research Program. Pathik received his medical degree from the University of Poona, India, and his doctorate from the University of California, Irvine. His research addresses the question of how is it that we come to acquire our specific (individual) mental and physical characteristics, with a focus on the role of developmental processes before birth (i.e., during the intrauterine period of life), the biological pathways that underlie this phenomenon, and its implications for future health and disease susceptibility. Since its inception, this research program has been continuously funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Pathik has a long-standing interest in many of the questions, issues and perspectives advanced by Krishnamurti.
Mark Lee is a trustee of the KFA and the KFI and has had a fifty year association with the Krishnamurti teachings and the Foundations. He was principal of the Rishi Valley Junior School from 1965 to 1972 and founding director of the Oak Grove School in Ojai, California, from 1975 to 1985. He served as executive director of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America for twenty years and was director of Krishnamurti Publications for five years.
Mary Kelley: I was born on an island in the Nile River and the first words I learned to speak were Arabic. As both of my parents are educators and students of Krishnamurti’s teachings, growing up in Connecticut I was always exposed to challenging study at home and fun, weekend enrichment classroom-activities with my mother. But it was the unmistakably clear message of Krishnamurti’s example of free inquiry and learning that really awakened me to the possibility—or to the necessity—of dedicating my whole life to the vocation of teaching children at the elementary-school level. The inevitable deficiencies of my regular college-training in education were very thankfully ameliorated by an excellent graduate program at the University of New Haven and by the enriching experience of two different “Teachers’ Academy” programs I attended at Oak Grove School and the Pepper Tree Retreat in 2007 and 2013, and also the wonderful experience of participating as a volunteer Art & Literacy teacher at The Valley School in Bangalore, India, for a year in 2009. After working for four years in a public school in Connecticut I am most fortunate to be in my 5th year as the fifth-grade teacher at Oak Grove School, which is the fulfillment of my dream: to teach and learn in an exceptional place where education is understood as the blossoming of life!
Amanda Lezra is a writer and the editor in chief of Mission Created—a digital marketing agency based in California. She is the former Think on These Things program director of the Krishnamurti Educational Center—an initiative geared toward young adults in high schools and universities. The purpose of the program was to explore fundamental questions with students—questions like “What would it mean to live without comparison?” and “What is the relationship between conflict and freedom?” Along with Jaap Sluijter, the director of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America, Amanda traveled throughout the country, facilitating and filming countless discussions. She considers this work to be the most inquisitive and transformative experience of her life.
Stephen Smith was sometime Acting Principal, some years Academic Director, and twenty years a teacher at Brockwood Park School in England. While living in California, he was for five years Coordinator of the Krishnamurti Centre in Ojai, organizing events and initiating outreach. He is now an itinerant writer-cum-tutor, dialogue facilitator, and public speaker. Stephen is the editor of the Krishnamurti book Insights into Education.
Javier Gómez Rodríguez: At 14 I came across a K book and was instantly struck by its ring of truth. Three years later, I ended up as a student at Brockwood Park, where I stayed until 1978. I then pursued a course of humanistic studies at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, from where I graduated with a B.A. degree in 1982. After meandering a bit in search of my place in that brave new world, I graduated with an M.A. degree in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Texas A & M, where I taught briefly as a lecturer. In 1990 I returned to Brockwood as a teacher. There I met up with Bohm and this meeting changed the course of my life, for I perceived that the quest for wholeness was the authentic way to live. In 1993 I ended up as a resident scholar at the KFI headquarters in Chennai. After that salutary and contemplative journey to the East, I settled back in my native rural area of Spain and worked for the FKL (Fundación Krishnamurti Latinoamericana), translating several K books into Spanish and eventually becoming a trustee of this foundation. I also joined KLI (Krishnamurti Link International) and was one of the editors of its magazine The Link. One of my most creative activities at this time was the setting up and facilitation of a K-inspired Bohm dialogue group. Currently I reside in the Netherlands. I collaborate with the Dutch Committee (Krishnamurti Stichting Nederland), offer a seminar on K’s teachings, and facilitate a dialogue group. I continue to be a member of KLI and to participate as much as I can in the annual K gatherings in Switzerland. I’ve also been collaborating with the Krishnamurti Study Centre at Brockwood in the facilitation of retreats. For me the teachings offer the broadest and most insightful perspective on our human condition and the dialogue proposal is one of the most intelligent approaches I’m aware of to such an inquiry. To me the teachings are an education to mankind and it is up to us, individually and collectively, to undertake this participatory journey of discovery.
Holly Johnson has been involved with the Krishnamurti Foundation since 2001, first as a teacher and administrator at the school and then as a staff member on the east end campus. Krishnamurti’s words first found their way into her life in 1994. At that time she knew that she had stumbled upon something that would change the course of her life. Currently, she finds inspiration in the weekly dialogues held with staff and residents at the KFA.
Holly currently manages the residential student program. The residential student program at the Krishnamurti Educational Center is a unique opportunity in that it is a living and evolving community. The vitality of the program and its momentum throughout the year rely on the sincerity, care, and responsibility of each of the participants as they live and work together. The intention of the program is above all, to allow for open exploration of all aspects of one’s life, with the ongoing potential of gaining insight into the nature of one’s life, the world, and the activity of human relationship.