Brendan Ozawa-de Silva is Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Positive Human Development and Social Change and Associate Director for the Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics at Life University. He also serves as Associate Director for Buddhist Studies and Practice at Drepung Loseling Monastery and as a senior instructor for Emory University’s Cognitively-Based Compassion Training program.
Dr. Ozawa-de Silva received his doctorate (D.Phil.) from Oxford University in Modern History in 2003, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies from Oxford University, and a Master of Theological Studies from Boston University. In 2015 he completed a second doctorate at Emory University in Religion that examined methods for cultivating compassion through meditation in the context of contemporary research in psychology and neuroscience. From 2003 to 2012 he worked in various capacities at Emory University, including Visiting Professor at the Candler School of Theology, Religious Life Scholar for Buddhism in the Office of Religious Life, and Program Coordinator for the Dalai Lama’s Visits in 2007 and 2010. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Emory University, the University of Chicago, Life University, and on study abroad trips to Dharamsala, India.
Dr. Ozawa-de Silva’s chief interest lies in bringing secular ethics—the cultivation of basic human values—into education and society. His research focuses on the psychological, social and ethical dimensions of prosocial emotions and their cultivation, with a focus on compassion and forgiveness. He is currently involved in half a dozen meditation studies in Atlanta and in Japan, and has received multiple grants to fund these studies. He has worked to bring compassion training into elementary schools in the Atlanta area, to foster children in Georgia’s foster care program, to women in domestic violence situations, and to incarcerated persons in state correctional facilities in Georgia. This work is featured in the book Compassion: Bridging Science and Practice and in the documentary film, Raising Compassion.
Dr. Ozawa-de Silva also serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Healthcare, Science and the Humanities. He has published recent articles and book chapters on the secularization and scientific study of contemplative practices, scientific research on compassion meditation and its benefits, suicide and mental health in Japan, the mind/body relationship in Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan medicine, and the introduction of contemplative practices and pedagogy into education.