Messages from scholars, scientists, and community members from across Canada and beyond

“BPMH is one of the flagship programs worldwide that are bringing the benefits of the contemplative sciences to benefit our students and our university communities”

Dr. Robert M. Bilder

Michael E. Tennenbaum Family Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Psychology; Chief, Division of Psychology; David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience at UCLA; and Stewart & Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA

“Uniting undergraduates in a shared passion for rigorous research and experience focused on the critical, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary understanding and practice of flourishing, this program is a model for universities across North America.”

Jeffrey Walker

Philanthropist; Chairman of New Profit; Vice chair in the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for Health; Board Member: University of Virginia, Berklee College of Music, Grammys Music Education Coalition, On Being, Just Capital, AMP for Health, UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, Harvard Business School, MIT Media Lab, Harvard School of Public Health

“There is a growing body of higher education institutions in North America and globally that are allocating significant resources to the study of human wellbeing through research, teaching, and leadership. The BPMH undergraduate minor at the University of Toronto is among these important epicenters.

“The interdepartmental and multi-methodological approach that you are taking with the Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health (BPMH) undergraduate program at the University of Toronto is imperative for an education that values multiple perspectives and that foregrounds flourishing.

“Recent and rapidly developing research in the sciences and humanities is demonstrating the efficacies of contemplative practices, sensitive to individual differences and contexts. To situate such knowledge with life skills and know-how in an undergraduate academic program will provide students with the tools necessary to navigate their future selves.”

Dr. Michael R. Sheehy

Research Assistant Professor, Director of Scholarship, Contemplative Sciences Center , Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

“Everywhere I look on college campuses today, I perceive a need and desire for this kind of interdisciplinary scholarship with immediate practical applications in higher education.

“I hope and trust one day that institutions of higher learning will see the person flourishing of students, and the social flourishing of society as their north stars. For that to happen and thus, for education to change our society and the world, I believe more rather than fewer programs like the program in BPMH at the U of Toronto are needed.

“Currently, this program marks your university as a leader in this innovative approach to scholarship and flourishing.”

Dr. Robert W. Roeser

Bennett Pierce Professor of Care and Compassion, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University

“BPMH is widely respected among many of us in North American universities who are interested in fusing innovative pedagogy and pioneering research to promote flourishing on college and university campuses among students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the wider community.

“The University of Toronto’s BPMH program is raising the university’s profile by tapping into a massive ‘wave’ of interest in mindfulness and meditation across wide-ranging segments of society.”

Dr. Mark Dennis & Dr. Blake Hestir

Professor, Religion Department, Director, CALM Studies, Texas Christian University, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes lands, Honors Faculty Fellow; and Professor, Philosophy Department, Associate Director, CALM Studies, Texas Christian University, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes lands, Director, Co-founder, The Mind Body Ecology Institute

“The BPMH program fills an important niche in the educational mission of the University, and its objectives are consistent with the Faculty of Arts & science’s academic plan.

“The impressive growth of the BPMH program is a testament to not only its success, but also to the demand for such a program at the University of Toronto.”

Dr. René Marois & Dr Lee Ryan

Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University; and Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona

“The robust student enrollment and interest as demonstrated by this petition should be met by an appropriate level of the commitment of resources and administrative leadership so that this promising program can flourish.”

Chris Ng

President, Buddhist Education Foundation of Canada

“The shutting down of the BPMH program will deprive students of significant courses that will lead to overall well-being.”

Dr Thomas Telfer

Professor, Faculty of Law, Western University, Co-Editor in Chief, Canadian Business Law Journal and Journal of the Insolvency Institute of Canada

“BPMH is exactly the kind of program we need, because it presents perspectives on current and emerging trends in society.”

John Negru (Karma Yönten Gyatso)

Publisher, The Sumeru Press

“The world is facing significant challenges, with conflicts and crises affecting the well-being of countless individuals. In this context, the role of programs like BPMH become even more critical.”

Reverend Lunugamwehere Rewatha

Buddhist Priest, Toronto Mahavihara Buddhist Temple; Teaching Assistant at New College, University of Toronto; Chaplain at Correctional Service Canada

“Considering the challenging times we are currently facing due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial to prioritize our students’ mental health.

“Discontinuing such a program sends the wrong message and misses an opportunity to address these pressing issues.”

Dr. Khenpo Kunga Sherab

Buddhist Chaplain, University of Toronto and Bridge of Canada; 2021-22 Senior Doctoral Fellow at New College

“It was extremely surprising and disappointing to hear that the school administration is actively considering the cancellation of the BPMH Program.

“I have personally experienced the power of mindfulness in my professional career directly as an executive, and in implementing programs in acute care facilities such as hospitals. This work is essential to address the increasing levels of burnout and emotional exhaustion in the healthcare sector.

“Finally, housing this study and work in a designated program allows for in-depth study, research, and teaching to foster rich learning for students.”

Hazim Hassan, MBA

Vice President, Business Planning & Strategy, President, OHA Legacy Fund; Doctor of Public Health (Student), University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health

“When we look out at the world today, at the deepest conflicts, it is specifically the skills and expanded viewpoints of training in courses such as these that will make effective role models, leaders and mentors.”

Ani Jamyang Donma

Certified Clinical Chaplain, Registered Psychotherapist, Mindfulness Project Lead, Spiritual & Religious Care Department, The Hospital for Sick Children