Teresa Kuan, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Professor Teresa Kuan first studied anthropology at UC Berkeley before going on for doctoral training at the University of Southern California. She was originally trained in medical anthropology but has since then become interested in expertise as a cultural phenomenon. Her book Love’s Uncertainty examines the intersection between popular childrearing advice and the lived experience of parenting amongst urban, middle-class families in China. Building on this previous work concerning the popularization of the notion of the psychological child, Prof. Kuan is currently conducting research on the development of family therapy in mainland China. Prof. Kuan was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Whittier College between 2009–2011, and a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellow between 2011–2012. She joined the Department of Anthropology at CUHK in the Fall of 2012.
Anthropology of China, childhood studies, psychological anthropology, medical anthropology, the anthropology of ethics
Geographical areas of research
Michael Bakan, Professor of Ethnomusicology, Head of the World Music Ensembles Program, and Affiliated Faculty in Asian Studies from Florida State University
Michael did his undergraduate studies in percussion performance at the University of Toronto (B.Mus. 1985) and his graduate studies in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles (Ph.D. 1993). He is the author of the book World Music: Traditions and Transformations (McGraw-Hill, 2012), which is in its second edition and has been adopted at more than 150 universities and colleges nationwide and internationally; and Music of Death and New Creation: Experiences in the World of Balinese Gamelan Beleganjur (University of Chicago Press, 1999), which was reviewed in The Times (London) as one of the two “most significant publications on Balinese music in almost half a century.” His other publications include peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters covering a wide range of topics, from the ethnomusicology of autism, Balinese gamelan, and world percussion, to multicultural music education, film music, electronic music technology, and jazz history.
Sarah (Sally) Boysen, Professor and Ground-Breaking Primatologist from Ohio State University
Sally is a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, Cognitive and Brain Sciences Department, Boysen is a primate researcher and former Director of the Chimp Center at the university. She was selected as the one of the top 50 women scientists by Discover Magazine in 2002. She primarily studies chimpanzees. She established the Comparative Cognition Project at Ohio State University Chimpanzee Center in 1983. Boysen's research focuses on chimpanzee's cognitive abilities in relation to intelligence, linguistics and neuroscience. Her current research topics are animal cognition, focusing on the animal’s ability to count and it’s “numerical competence”, cognitive development, and social behavior and tool use in captive lowland gorillas. She has been the subject of many documentaries including BBC, National Geographic Frontiers, NOVA, Nature, as well multiple Discovery Channel specials centered around her chimpanzee studies.
Pamela Block; Professor of Disability Studies at Stony Brook
An advanced martial artist, Dr. Block is Professor and Director of the Concentration in Disability Studies for the Ph.D. Program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, a former President of the Society for Disability Studies (2009-2010), and a Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology. She is also affiliated with the Stony Brook University Departments of Occupational Therapy, Cultural Analysis and Theory, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics.
Dr. Block received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Duke University in 1997. Her dissertation was entitled "Biology, Culture and Cognitive Disability: Twentieth Century Professional Discourse in Brazil and the United States." She researches disability experience on individual, organizational and community levels, focusing on socio-environmental barriers, empowerment/capacity-building, and health promotion.
Kathleen GreVie Odom, Interspecies Communication, Healing, Shamanic Arts
Kathleen GreVie Odom (nee Jones) is a recognized interspecies communicator, and shamanic practitioner. She lives and works in the Rogue Valley of southwestern Oregon. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and has completed advanced studies in interspecies communication with Penelope Smith, pioneer in the field. Kathleen has had her own active consulting/teaching practice in interspecies communication for fifteen years. Her practice in Jacksonville, Oregon is supported by her many years of experience and training through Medicine for the Earth with Sandra Ingerman and the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. Her lifelong passion for and study of the archetypal Forest People, the wise shamanic messengers found in all times and cultures around the globe, brings us unique insight into the lived experience of their lessons for humankind. Her work promotes the current relevance of harkening back to these ancient tribal connections.
Olga Solomon, Assistant Professor at University of Southern California, Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Occupational Science
Olga Solomon is an interdisciplinary researcher committed to the goals of occupational science to explore the mutually constitutive relation of human activity, experience and meaning. An applied linguist with a background in clinical psychology and linguistic anthropology, she is interested in human engagement and participation in everyday activities and ways in which these activities intersect with both personal experience and family life. Her research examines the sociocultural, psychosocial and structural phenomena that supports everyday engagement and participation with an eye for mediating potential of social practices, innovations and technologies. Dr. Solomon also holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, which augments her interdisciplinary research related to the use of technology for social and therapeutic purposes. Because she came to the United States from Russia in her young adulthood, her immigrant experience shaped her research interests in how meaning is communicated and shared across difference, whether due to neurological conditions such as autism, socio-cultural or socioeconomic factors and even across species such as in human-animal social interaction.
Nick Walker, Neurodiversity Advocate, Seventh Dan Black Belt in Aikido
Nick is an autistic author, educator, speaker, transdisciplinary scholar, and aikido teacher. He holds a 6th degree black belt in aikido, and is the founder and senior instructor of the Aikido Shusekai dojo in Berkeley, California. He is a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at California Institute of Integral Studies and the undergraduate Psychology program at Sofia University.
Melissa Park, Associate Professor of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Occupational Therapy, Karolinska Institutet, , SE (2008-2009),Postdoctoral Associate, National Institute of Mental Health: MHSA System Transformation & Clinical Care Study, University of California at Los Angeles (2007-2008), Postdoctoral Associate, National Institute of Health: Boundary Crossings: Re-situating Cultural Competence, University of Southern California (2005-2007). Melissa's work focuses on the transformative processes related to mental health and social inclusion from a first person perspective using narrative-phenomenological, ethnographic and participatory methods, including the everyday ethics and potentialities at the interstices of autism and biomusic, individuals with dementia and their caregivers, policy and practice.
Levi Shinyo Wahlbert, Secretary of the Yuan Gong Institute, Buddhist Minister, Martial Artist, Philosopher, Philosophy Department at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Rev. Levi Walbert is the current Secretary for the Institute. He graduated from the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism’s ministry program in 2017 and is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Bioethics at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. His main areas of concentration are in Buddhist Philosophy, primarily studying the works of Dogen in comparison to Western Philosophers, and in Medical-ethics involving emerging medical based technology. He has introductory experience in various soft-style martial arts including Wing-Chun, Tai-Chi, and Jeet Kun Do, primarily practicing them as a form of mediation, basic self-defense, and physical/spiritual wellness.
Loren Coleman, Anthropologist, Author, Filmmaker, Cryptozoologist
Education: Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, B.A. (anthropology/zoology), 1976; Simmons School of Social Work, M.S.W., 1978; graduate study in anthropology at Brandeis University, 1987, and in sociology at University of New Hampshire Family Research Laboratory. Loren Coleman has traveled the world searching for rare primates and other animals. He is also a filmmaker, educator, and author, writing more than seventeen books and more than three hundred articles, on a variety of subjects. He started his career working in the mental-health field, beginning 1967; was the director of a federal project for University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Policy, 1983–96, and worked as a professor and research associate, beginning 1980. He has been a consultant to film producers, has appeared on National Public Radio programs and on television programs, including The Larry King Show, Unsolved Mysteries, Ancient Mysteries, In the Unknown, and In Search of History. His work on the suicides of baseball players was covered in Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, ESPN, EPSN Classics and by all the major media and wire services. He was the Executive Producer of the films SOS—Runaways and Teen Suicides: Coded Cries for Help, 1987; and Mattering: A Journey with Rural Youth, 1992. He garnered a Golden Reel First-Place Award from the Independent Television Producers Association, 1987, for SOS—Runaways and Teen Suicides: Coded Cries for Help. He received a Bronze Apple Award (third-place), National Educational Film and Video Festival, 1993, for Mattering. As an author, he received an Anomalist Award for Best Book of 1999, for Cryptozoology A to Z.
Shaolin Master Wong Kiew Kit
Born in 1944, Wong Kiew Kit started his lifelong training of the Shaolin arts at the age of 10 when he began learning Shaolin Kungfu from Lai Chin Wah, and became Lai Chin Wah's best disciple. He has taught Shaolin Cosmos Qigong, Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, Zen and the Lion dance worldwide for more than 25 years. His school has qualified instructors in Canada, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, USA, Venezuela, Austria, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates. He has over 2000 students throughout the world. Master Wong received the Qigong Master of the Year award at the Second World Congress on Qigong. He has written a number of books published in multiple languages on martial arts and philosophy. His works include Chi Kung For Health and Vitality, The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu, The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan, The Complete Book of Zen, Introduction to Shaolin Kung Fu, The Complete Book of Chinese Medicine, The Complete Book of Shaolin, Sukhavati: Western Paradise, and The Art of Chi Kung. Master Wong has taught kungfu and chi kung for more than thirty five years to more than sixty thousand students in more than 35 countries. Regretting that many masters were withholding secrets of kungfu and chi kung with the result that these arts have lost their essence, He began his own institute with the aim of transmitting genuine Shaolin Kungfu, Shaolin Chi Kung and Shaolin philosophy. He believes that while Shaolin Kungfu is an exceedingly effective martial art, its greatness lies in enriching our daily life and in spiritual development.
Since 1987 Master Wong has spent more time teaching chi kung than kungfu, because chi kung serves an urgent public need, particularly in overcoming degenerative and psychiatric illness. In 1988 he caused a huge public controversy when he made an incredible announcement: that it is possible to transmit chi (energy) over great distances to cure patients, and in a public experiment conducted by an independent national newspaper in early 1989, he proved that distant chi transmission is possible. Master Wong is one of the few masters who have generously introduced the once secretive Shaolin Chi Kung to the public, and has helped literally thousands of people to be relieved of diseases like hypertension, asthma, rheumatism, arthritis, diabetics, migraine, gastritis, gall stones, kidney failure, depression, anxiety and even cancer. He stresses the Shaolin philosophy of sharing goodness with all humanity, and is now dedicated to spreading the wonders and benefits of the Shaolin arts to more people irrespective of race, culture and religion. Visit him at https://shaolin.org
Dr. Jenia Meng Zai, Doctor of Applied Mathematics, Philosophy, Human Ecology, and Biology, University of Queensland. Founder of the Taoism Network, Australia
Dr. Meng Zai is a scientist and holistic doctor, also receiving a doctoral degree in Applied Mathematics, Philosophy, Human Ecology, and Biology through the School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland. However, she feels that such titles are superfluous to the deeper significance of her work. She is the founder of the Taoism Network, an international nonprofit organisation and research institute. It is one of the oldest research institutes of Taoism in Australia. It is affiliated with the World Institute of Science, Philosophy and Arts. After a ten-year spiritual retreat, she began her research into the confluences of Taoism and modern science, and translated Taoist concepts such as Yin-Yang, Wu-Xing, and I-Ching into a math and physics framework. She is interested in all cultures, languages, and religions. She is a passionate vegan and environmentalist. Her current research focuses on the Theory of Everything, known among physicists as the illusive TOE.
Donovan Schaefer, Assistant Professor of Material Religion & Visual Culture, University of Pennsylvania
Donovan Schaefer joined the Department of Religious Studies as an assistant professor in 2017, after spending three years as a lecturer at the University of Oxford. He earned his B.A. in the interdisciplinary Religion, Literature, and the Arts program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. His master’s and doctoral degrees are from the Religion program at Syracuse University. After completing his PhD, he held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Haverford College. His research focuses on the role of embodiment and emotion in religion and secularisms. His first book, Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power (Duke 2015) challenges the notion that religion is inextricably linked to language and belief, proposing instead that it is primarily driven by affects. His current project explores the intersection between New Materialisms, science, and secularisms. Especially significant to the Institute is his work in the area of chimpanzee ritual. He has been an Aikido practitioner for 15 years.
Anni Ponder, Montessori Teacher, Early Childhood Education Pioneer
Clarice Rios, Postdoctoral Fellow, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Clarice received an undergrad degree in psychology at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, received an MA in social sciences through the University of Chicago, and went on to get her PhD in anthropology, with special focus on psychological anthropology, at UCLA. Her doctoral research was on the relationship between science and religion within Spiritism. She was a post doctoral fellow in Collective Health at the Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro, and is currently a lecturer at the Social Psychology Department of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). She has a general interest in psychology, anthropology and health, and is especially interested in embodied interactions and the extension of mind, as well as embodied expertise and tacit knowledge. She is a Tai Chi practitioner, and has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Xiaoxiao Meng, Official Translator for Yuan Gong Institute, Cultural Specialist
In her words: "I'm a current college student who is interested in culture, language, translation and their intersection. I lived in China for over ten years and have become bilingual and bicultural. These perspectives are a big part of what drive me in terms of not just academic research, but seeking out interesting new cultural experiences. I'm not sure exactly what I'll be working in in the future, but hopefully it will involve communication and languages in some capacity." Xiaoxiao Meng will be joining our board as a cultural adviser, linguistic expert, and translator. She represents an important demographic as a university student who is moving toward her future career. Having already worked with her on translations I can say that she is a most gifted, sensitive, and careful translator -- a poet -- and an equally aware and sensitive person in all aspects of life.
Special Thanks and Recognition:
Cyrill Darius Kanopka
Cyrill lives in Hanover, Germany. He manages the International Chinese Traditional Martial Arts Competition. recent events of which have been held in New York in the U.S. and in Taiwan. He was the first to share many Yuan Gong videos with the world, and many of the videos on our site come from his library. He has shared his encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese martial arts with us as we have formed the organization, and his truly impressive understanding of the history of styles of Gong Fu have been invaluable.