The now-established UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute hopes to use its research to promote kindness and mindfulness to create a more humane world.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has received a $20 million dollar donation from the Bedari Foundation to create an institute studying kindness, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The announcement was made Wednesday, establishing the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute, which will “support world-class research on kindness, create opportunities to translate that research into real-world practices, and serve as a global platform to educate and communicate its findings.”
The institute will begin operation immediately with CLA anthropology professor Daniel Fessler as its inaugural director. The center will study kindness from evolutionary, biological, psychological, economic, cultural and sociological perspectives, bringing researchers together from numerous areas. It will also fund research projects examining how the “social and physical mechanics of kindness” can create more humane societies, and will host an annual conference presenting advancements in kindness research.
Researchers at UCLA have already been studying many of the questions that the institute will continue to explore, such as the contagiousness of acts of kindness, and how mindfulness and kindness alter our genes and influence our health and wellbeing.
The institute will also intersect with UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), providing mindfulness training to UCLA students and staff and to the public through online programs, lectures and the free UCLA Mindful app, developed by MARC. Their director of mindfulness education, Diana Winston, wrote about mindfulness in the September 2019 issue of Lion’s Roar.
The Bedari Foundation is a private family foundation established by philanthropists Jennifer and Matthew C. Harris. They aim to “enable significant cultural shifts in the fields of health and wellness, community displacement and environmental conservation.”
“Our vision is that we will all live in a world where humanity discovers and practices the kindness that exists in all of us,” said Matthew Harris in UCLA’s announcement.
“Much research is needed to understand why kindness can be so scarce in the modern world. As we seek at Bedari to bridge the divide between science and spirituality, through the establishment of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute we hope to educate and empower more and more people in the practice of kindness,” he said.