Ash Pachauri, Global Sustainability and Public Health Advocate, Gives Commencement Address

Ash Pachauri, Global Sustainability and Public Health Advocate, Gives Commencement Address

June 27, 2022 • ISSUE 629

Ash Pachauri, Global Sustainability and Public Health Advocate, Gives Commencement Address

MIU graduated its largest class ever, 699 students, at its 45th commencement on June 18th. The class includes on-campus and online students as well as students at MIU’s sister institutions in South Africa and Ethiopia. Graduates come from 55 countries, including 245 from the US, 90 from Ethiopia, 62 from South Africa, 49 from Egypt, and 47 from Mongolia.
This year’s commencement speaker was Ash Pachauri, PhD, senior mentor of Protect the Planet (POP), a movement he co-founded with his late father Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, trailblazing climate change researcher. The mission of POP is to organize youth around the world to address the challenges of climate change through training, mentorship, project-based learning, and activism.

Dr. Pachauri giving the commencement address

Dr. Pachauri is a consultant for international organizations and collaborates with educational institutions. He has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN, and the CDC and is currently a technical adviser to the World Health Organization on self-care global guidelines.
In his commencement address, Dr. Pachauri encouraged students to embrace the values of service, environmental stewardship, compassion, and inclusivity. He emphasized the interconnectedness of all humanity around the world and the importance of adopting new attitudes, values, and behaviors in order to solve the multitude of crises the planet faces.

President Hagelin presenting Dr. Pachauri his honorary degree

“We all live behind a legacy, and what your legacy will be is your choice,” he said. “A legacy is a part and a piece of yourself which you sow in the hearts, the minds, and the eternal souls of those who cross your path physically, virtually, spiritually, and in any way. What you give of yourself is what grows, never goes, and is eternal; it’s never replaced.”

Valedictorian Marie Greive leading the processional at the start of commencement

During the graduation ceremony, MIU awarded Dr. Pachauri an honorary doctoral degree in world peace for his lifelong dedication to serving his fellow human beings and for his goal of creating a healthy, regenerative world for all generations to come. During his stay in Fairfield, Dr. Pachauri also participated in the inauguration of the second phase of the MIU Solar MEG’Array.

Salutatorian Katherine Eid Wild presenting the class gift—a contribution to the renovation of the MIU swimming pool (photos by Ken West)

Angela Albrecht—Advocating for Trauma Survivors

Angela Albrecht—Advocating for Trauma Survivors

June 21, 2022 • ISSUE 628

Angela Albrecht

Advocating for Trauma Survivors

Angela Albrecht just completed her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree online and was the recipient of an Outstanding Student Award at this year’s graduation ceremonies.
Angela is a real estate investor who lives in the mountains of Virginia. Over the past 20 years she has taken on many roles to counsel and advocate for people who suffered trauma. She has worked as a minister, pastoral care specialist, and trauma informed specialist.
She earned an associate degree in legal studies, as well as degrees in holistic therapy and theology. After the loss of her husband due to cancer, she focused on raising her daughter, caring for her family, and acting as a hospice care volunteer and court-appointed special advocate for children.
Last year she decided to complete her bachelor’s degree from an accredited university to fulfill a dream neither her mother nor grandmother was able to achieve and to inspire her children, grandchildren, and all future generations to pursue their dreams.

Angela with one grandniece and two grandchildren

“A lot of what I have learned at MIU has always been part of my belief system,” she said. “MIU’s integration of ancient traditions, objective science, and the subjective experience of transcendental consciousness changed my belief into awareness.”
Angela has enjoyed attending her online classes and sharing experiences with fellow students. She found the weekend TM® Retreats especially beneficial for taking time for herself and recharging for her next course.
“After learning TM, I was transformed,” she said. “I finally experienced and understood the peace ‘which passeth all understanding’, which I was taught during my Christian upbringing.”
For her senior project, Angela created workshops on how the TM technique, along with Yoga asanas and breathing techniques, can mitigate the effects of individual and societal trauma. She will be offering these workshops to the public, social service offices, and schools in her community. She also plans to become a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique to be able to offer the experience of transcendental consciousness.

Yao Yao—The Art of Tea

Yao Yao—The Art of Tea

June 13, 2022 • ISSUE 627

Yao Yao—The Art of Tea

MIU student Yao Yao grew up in the province of Zhejiang in eastern China. As a child she studied classical Chinese art forms, including painting, calligraphy, and traditional dance.
Yao’s parents encouraged her to study marketing, but she realized she wanted to study subjects that had more immediate benefit to her life. About ten years ago she came to the US and became a certified yoga teacher and then a licensed sports massage therapist.

Demonstrating Qigong at a Montessori school in Forth Worth, Texas in 2017

At the same time, she developed new interests in other traditional Asian arts—Thai boxing and Chinese tea culture. She began studying the history, philosophy, and medicine of tea remotely with a teacher in China. Then she travelled to Beijing to study at the Xian Lai Wu Shi tea academy and became a certified tea art specialist. “I am passionate about tea,” she said. “It brings me joy and it brings other people joy.”
In the summer of 2021 Yao was scheduled to travel to China for another course on tea, but due to COVID travel restrictions her trip was cancelled at the last minute. She decided to expand her knowledge of agriculture and found MIU’s Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program. The nine-month certificate program seemed the perfect way to spend her time until she could return to China to study tea.

Performing a Chinese tea ceremony

She also began developing a business to export organic specialty teas from China and traveled around the country performing tea ceremonies in tea houses.
Yao enjoys the hands-on nature of the agriculture program and working on the MIU farm with fellow students. She has been sharing her stories and appreciation of tea with students and the Fairfield community.
Having practiced Buddhist mediation before, Yao appreciates the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “I see it as self-healing and self-improvement,” she said. “I recheck my health and mental state and I appreciate the time after class when we meditate.”

With the cow herd at the MIU farm

Alumni Featured in Documentary on PTSD Recovery

Alumni Featured in Documentary on PTSD Recovery

June 6, 2022 • ISSUE 626

Alumni Featured in Documentary

on PTSD Recovery

Rouzanna Vardanyan (MBA) and David Shapiro (MA SCI) appear in the documentary Ending the War Within about bringing relief from war trauma in Armenia through the Transcendental Meditation® program.
David, president of the Alliance for PTSD Recovery, and Rouzanna, director of the MIU Library and an Armenian teacher of the TM® technique, have been working since the spring of 2021 to help thousands of Armenians suffering from the trauma of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
The documentary was created by Tigran Nersisian, an award-winning young filmmaker in Los Angeles who was born in Yerevan, Armenia. Tigran learned the TM technique in 2020 after reading David Lynch’s book Catching the Big Fish.

MIU alumna Rouzanna Vardanyan, MIU alumnus David Shapiro

David and Rouzanna have been part of the ArmeniaRecoveryNowteam focused on bringing the TM program to veterans, displaced persons, children, healthcare workers, and the general public in Armenia, all deeply affected by the war. The humanitarian program was developed by non-profit organizations including the Alliance for PTSD Recovery, MIU’s Center for Social-Emotional Health and Consciousness, and David Lynch Foundation Caucasus.
Rouzanna came to MIU from Armenia 10 years ago after serving as a lawyer with the International Red Cross in Armenia. Seeing the suffering in Armenia, she felt compelled to help. She took a two-month leave from MIU and flew to Armenia to teach the TM technique.

Rouzanna teaching the TM technique at an NGO in Armenia

“Armenia is a small country in the Caucasus region,” said Rouzanna. “Many of its 10 provinces have borders where there was still conflict. Teaching there was a big challenge, but also a great delight. People frightened by air attacks and political unrest experienced inner peace.”
David Shapiro has contributed to the ArmeniaRecoveryNow project by creating proposals to government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and raising funds to support teachers, teaching facilities, courses, and travel to bring Transcendental Meditation not just to the capital but to every area of the country. He is also the co-author of several studies on the effectiveness of the TM technique for PTSD.