Our Center 

The Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics supports a research-based approach to educating both heart and mind. With programs grounded in a theoretical framework for the cultivation of competencies that lead to the prosocial behaviors and outcomes that support flourishing and well-being for individuals and societies, the center also actively works to demonstrate the efficacy of these programs through innovative research. 

Compassion-based ethics, also known as "secular ethics,"  simply means an ethics that explicitly values and promotes an orientation toward kindness and compassion. It is a holistic approach that seeks to cultivate, alongside traditional academic subjects, a benevolent and ethical mindset grounded in the basic human values that can be discerned from common sense, common experience, and scientific evidence. Compassion-based ethics is inclusive in its outlook and does not seek to advance any kind of sectarian agenda. Neither does the implementation of compassion-based ethics preclude or supersede the role of family, culture, or faith tradition in helping both children and adults constructively engage the challenges of life.  

Contemplative science is an emerging, interdisciplinary field of study that brings together the third-person investigative methods of modern science, such as the measurement of changes in body, brain, and behavior, with the first-person investigative methods of contemplative traditions, such as the direct observation of experience, the refinement of attention, and the transformation of mindset and motivation. Its objective is to contribute to individual and collective well-being by providing insights into the nature of the mind as well as by investigating and validating new techniques for cultivating prosocial emotions, attitudes, perspectives, and traits that are supportive of human flourishing.  

Our Story

At its core, our work is the product of a special relationship between Emory University and the Nobel Peace Laureate, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. This story begins when Lobsang Tenzin Negi, a Tibetan monk, entered Emory's Institute of Liberal Arts and began work with his advisor, Robert A. Paul. Paul was an ideal mentor given his extensive knowledge of both Tibetan and western models of the mind. A cultural anthropologist and psychoanalyst, Paul played a significant role in encouraging Negi to develop links between the western and Tibetan traditions. This mentor-student team worked with the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Emory's central administration, led by Gary Hauk, to formalize a series of agreements leading to the establishment of the Emory-Tibet Partnership (ETP).

The ETP was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1998 as an affiliation between Emory University and one of Tibet's most esteemed academic institutions and Negi's  alma materDrepung Loseling Monastic University.  In 2007, the Dalai Lama was installed as Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory, the first and only time he has accepted an appointment with a western university.

During the course of two decades, ETP matured into a multidimensional organization bridging the best of the Tibetan and western academic traditionsEmory has partnered with the Dalai Lama on a variety of innovative educational programs, including the creation and implementation of the Robert A. Paul Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI)—sustainable and comprehensive science curriculum designed and implemented specifically for Tibetan monasticsand SEE Learning™, an educational framework for compassion-based ethics (what the Dalai Lama has often termed ‘secular ethics’) with accompanying kindergarten through university curricula. Encouraged by this effort, the Gaden Phodrang Trust of the Dalai Lama expressed its wish to support continued collaboration through the establishment of a new center to carry on this work and accompanying research. Thus the Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics was formed in 2017 to house the programs formerly administered under the Emory-Tibet Partnership, including ETSI, CBCT®(Cognitively-Based Compassion Training), and SEE Learning™. 

Contemplative science and compassion-based ethics are complementary in that contemplative science investigates how intentional practices operate on a physiological and cognitive level, and compassion-based ethics involves the application of those understandings on an individual and social level. 

Our Staff

Executive Director
Lobsang Tenzin Negi 


Associate Director for Operations and Communications
Carol E. Beck, 

Senior Accountant
Amber Sims, 

Program Coordinator
Michelle Heker,

Administrative Assistant
Hannah Smith,


Associate Director
Timothy Harrison, 

Program Coordinator
Zipporah Slaughter, 

SEE Learning™

Associate Director
Brendan Ozawa-deSilva, 

Project Coordinator
Lindy Settevendemie,  

Senior Program Coordinator 
Tsondue Samphel, 

Senior Instructional Content Developer 
Christa Tinari, 

Associate Research Scientist 
Tyralynn Frazier,

Assistant Research Scientist 
Tenzin Sonam,


Assistant Director
Tsetan Dolkar, 

Senior Translator 
Dadul Namgyal, 

Dawa Tsering, 

Program Coordinator
Karma Tenzin,