Launching the Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health

Logo for the Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health

Dear Members of the Harvard Chan School Community:

I’m proud to announce the launch of the Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health.

The Center aims to empower people around the globe to live with purpose, equanimity, and joy through the practice of mindfulness. Affiliated faculty will pursue rigorous scientific inquiry to identify the most promising approaches to improving health and well-being through mindfulness. The Center will also organize education and training opportunities.

Made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Center will be located within our Department of Nutrition, with Walter Willett serving as director. It is named for Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk who brought the practice of mindfulness to millions around the world — and who was a powerful advocate for peace, justice, and sustainability.

The Center launches today with a symposium that brings together leading scholars of mindfulness to share cutting-edge research, plan future studies, and draw energy one another. We are particularly honored to welcome monastics who trained with Thich Nhat Hanh and have traveled a great distance to inaugurate the Center named in his honor.

I want to call special attention to the significance of this Center being located within a school of public health. Our mission here is to promote and protect the health of people all around the world. We work at population scale; we aim to reach and uplift entire communities. This Center will operate in that spirit. And in so doing, it will honor the legacy of its remarkable namesake.

I invite you to learn more about the Center through its website. I look forward to seeing its work in the years to come.

Michelle A. Williams
Dean of Faculty, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Angelopoulos Professor in Public Health and International Development, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School