Dear ICSJP Conference Participants:
On behalf of Florida International University (FIU), I welcome you to the second International Conference on Science and Jain Philosophy.
This interdisciplinary conference – hosted by our Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs and the Jain Education and Research Foundation (JEFR) – seeks to connect philosophers, scholars of religious studies and scientists to explore the common ground between Jain philosophy and the scientific study of consciousness.
I can think of no better place to host such a dialogue on consciousness and its potential global impact than our FIU. Our FIU has a long and vibrant history with the Jain Vishva Bharati Institute in Ladnun, India, the JERF, along with the South Florida Jain community allowing us to have a deep appreciation for Jain principles.
In 1999, FIU welcomed the Dalai Lama, making it the spiritual leader’s first-ever visit to the region (he would return to campus in 2004 and 2010). His Holiness received an honorary doctorate of divinity in a packed FIU arena. He shared a message of peace, compassion and hope with our FIU. A message we continue to use as a guide two decades later and has led us to convening together at this conference to engage in discussion and dialogue.
FIU and the JERF have joined forces to introduce core principles of Jainism to students in the Americas. Our Jain Studies Program has served as a bridge between the Western and Jain teachings for over a decade. Our students learn how to apply the principles of non-violence, non-greed and respect for all forms of life to issues that challenge the modern world.
Jain Studies at FIU infuses Jain perspectives into courses in various disciplines, study abroad programs, lectures and symposia. It also offers support for student and faculty research, exchange programs, and extracurricular activities such as Preksha meditation.
We are honored to support the study of Jainism at FIU, in collaboration with the JERF and the South Florida Jain community. I wish each of you an enriching and uplifting conference experience.
Mark B. Rosenberg