Adrian Plau
Adrian Plau is Manuscript Collections Information Analyst at Wellcome Collection. As a 22/23 Headley Fellowship recipient with the Art Fund, he has focused on the provenance, cataloguing, and restitution Wellcome’s collection of Jain manuscripts. He holds a PhD in South Asia Studies from SOAS.
Alba Rodríguez PhD Student University of California, Riverside
Alba Rodríguez is completing her PhD at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). She graduated in psychology at the University of Valencia, Spain, and completed a master’s degree in yoga studies at Loyola Marymount University with the support of the Fulbright program. Alba has worked as a mentor, counselor, and yoga teacher in different settings, from hospitals to retreat centers. She currently works as a Teacher Assistant at the Department for the Study of Religion of her home university. She is also the International Student Affairs Officer of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), where she serves as an advocate for international graduate students. Through her life, Alba has engaged in several international projects concerning human rights, combining academic and social work. She has volunteered in different organizations, such us Psychologists Without Barriers, Venice Family Clinic, Friends of the Saharawi People, and Bona Gent, Friends with People with Intellectual Disabilities. Her current research focuses on South Asian philosophical and religious traditions, with a focus on the continuities and discontinuities between traditional and contemporary forms of Jain ethical and meditation practices.
Anand Vaidya Professor San Jose State University
Anand Jayprakash Vaidya is a professor of philosophy at San Jose State University and occasionally directs the Center for Comparative Philosophy. He was trained as an analytic philosopher from 1996 – 2005. His 2005 dissertation, The Epistemology of Metaphysical Modality, was a critical study of how we know what is possible and necessary via conceivability. Anand works primarily in the areas of cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary philosophy of mind, epistemology, critical thinking, and ethics. His primary interest in this area is on Indo-Anglo-Analytic philosophy that engages cognitive science. He has taught many courses from Asian philosophy to ethical theory to logical theory. In addition to regularly teaching in his research areas, he also teaches business ethics, the philosophy of economics, and theories of justice. He is the co-editor of Business in Ethical Focus: An Anthology, 2nd Edition (Broadview Press, 2016). Visit Anand’s website to learn more.
Andrew Bridges Bhagwan Shantinath Lectureship California State University, Fullerton
Andrew Bridges holds the Bhagwan Shantinath Lectureship and California State University, Fullerton, where he teaches the course “Non-Violence, Animal Rights and Diet in Jainism,” and helps to organize the triennial Peace and Religion Symposium. He teaches in both the Religious Studies Department and Philosophy Department at Cal State Fullerton. His research interests include comparative epistemology, contemporary applications of anekāntavāda, utopian studies, and ethics.
Andrew Dreitcer Dean and Professor Claremont School of Theology
Andrew Dreitcer, M.Div., Ph.D., is Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Spirituality, and Co-Director of the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont School of Theology. He founded a seminary program in spiritual direction, and served 15 years as a Presbyterian pastor. His applied research focuses on comparative explorations of how spiritual practices across religious traditions form lives of engaged compassion. Andrew has co-led workshops on compassion, healing, reconciliation, and restorative justice in Zimbabwe, the US, and the UK. He studied at Wabash College, Oxford, Yale, and GTU/UC Berkeley, spent a year at the ecumenical Christian monastery of Taizé, has been an advocate for children in the foster care system, and has helped lead restorative justice groups at San Quentin prison. His book Living Compassion -- Loving Like Jesus was named one of the “Best Books of 2017” by the website ‘Spirituality and Practice.’
Arpit Mehta Co-Founder and CEO of Data Intellect (DI) Director of Bioinformatics at NW Cancer Hospital New York
Arpit Mehta is Co-Founder and CEO of Data Intellect (DI) and Director of Bioinformatics at NW Cancer Hospital New York. He has over 18 publications in the field of Genomics, notably in Cancer and Covid-19 research. His research interest expands to application of Artificial intelligence in Genomics and Microbiome research and his company DI provides software development, consulting and data intelligence services around the globe. His mission is to skill youth living in rural parts of India with advanced IT skills and employ them. Arpit is an Advisory board member of Arihanta Academy and Young Jain Professionals (YJP) and has served on executive board of Young Jains of America(YJA), YJP and Jain Education Research Foundation (JERF). Arpit has given sessions on “Jainism and Science” and is highly motivated to understand concepts of Jainism in modern perspective.
Asha Gala
Asha Gala is the Lifestyle Clinical Director at Ethos Primary Care, a first-of-its-kind medical practice. She is certified by the National Board of Health & Wellness as a Lifestyle Coach and approved by Brown University’s Mindfulness Center as an MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) teacher. Over the past decade, Asha has worked as a lifestyle coach in New Jersey. Today she puts these skills to use by supporting Ethos Primary Care’s patients on the day-in, day-out aspects of their healing journey. From designing and teaching lifestyle classes, to facilitating support groups for patient’s healing from chronic illness, to providing one-on-one lifestyle coaching sessions, Asha is offering not only professional support, but also personal understanding. Asha is excited to ease the path of all who are on their wellness journey; gently and compassionately helping put into practice everything she has learned over her decades of study and experimentation. Her partnership with Dr. Weiss MD in designing yearly regenerative human health and wellness programs and applying them, has helped many in successfully losing over 50 pounds of weight, getting off all medications, and/or reversing chronic illness. Outside her busy work life, she enjoys spending time with her grandkids. She incorporates not only a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet, but also dance, meditation, music, and hiking, as tools for healthy and harmonious living.
Atul Shah Professor City University of London, Emcee
Professor Atul K. Shah has a PhD from the London School of Economics and is author of ‘Inclusive and Sustainable Finance’ (Routledge 2022), 'Jainism and Ethical Finance' (with Aidan Rankin, Routledge 2017); The Politics of Financial Risk, Audit and Regulation (Routledge 2018) Reinventing Accounting and Finance Education (Routledge 2018), 'Celebrating Diversity' (2007) and 'Boardroom Diversity - The Opportunity' (2010). He is passionate about Business Ethics, Education Reform and Diversity. Dr. Shah has published a number of papers in international academic journals such as Accounting, Organisations and Society; Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal; European Accounting Review; Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance; Business Ethics - A European Review. Between 1995 and 1998, he published a series of papers predicting the global financial crisis, focusing in particular on derivatives and systemic risk, and regulatory arbitrage. His work has been profiled in BBC and Forbes and Dr. Shah is presently working on a series of projects around financial risk management, diverse ethics and regulation. He has Broadcast experience, with credits including BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, Channel 4, Five Live, BBC Radio 2, Guardian and BBC Asian Network. Professor Shah also writes and comments for the Financial Times. In 2010 Professor Shah embarked on a historic 1500 mile Masala Tour of Britain, to showcase the depth and breadth of the diversity in Britain and help the country improve its cultural intelligence – this was featured in the Guardian. The tour was also widely covered on BBC radio nationally. He is also a top Business Ethics writer for The Conversation and his research on global accounting won the Best Paper award in 2019.
Ben Zenk Instructor University of Hawaii
Dr. Benjamin Zenk is Instructor of Management in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in the United States. There, he teaches critical thinking, business ethics, environmental ethics, and introductory business. Dr. Zenk also works with the university's department of philosophy where he has taught intro to philosophy, ethics, reasoning, symbolic logic, histories of Indian and Buddhist philosophy, and comparative philosophy. He received his PhD in philosophy from the University Hawaii at Manoa in 2018 on the topic of cross-cultural philosophical disagreement. Prior to this, he received an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Dr. Zenk utilizes a broad array of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary materials in his business and management courses, stemming from his studies of world philosophy, logic, and ethics, as well as both German and Sanskrit language and literature. His work has led to many months of language and cultural research and study in both Germany and India.
Bindi Shah
Bindi Shah is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology at the University of Southampton, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2019, she was a finalist for the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Bindi's research focuses on migration, religion, nationhood, citizenship, belonging with respect to British Asians and Asian Americans, the Jain diaspora, and wider migration and refugee flows to the UK, as well as on the role of social capital to foster environmental and climate sustainability and justice amongst marginalised groups. She adopts Critical Race, Feminist and Postcolonial approaches, and has expertise in qualitative and digital methodologies.
Christopher Chapple Doshi Professor Loyola Marymount University
Christopher Key Chapple is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and Director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He has published more than two dozen books, including Reconciling Yogas: Haribhadra's Array of Views on Yoga(SUNY 2003) and Yoga in Jainism (Routledge 2016).
Christopher Jain Miller Vice President of Academic Affairs
Christopher Jain Miller is the co-founder, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Professor of Jain and Yoga Studies at Arihanta Institute. Miller completed his PhD in the study of Religion at the University of California, Davis. He is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Zürich’s Asien-Orient-Institut and Visiting Professor at Claremont School of Theology where he co-developed and co-runs a remotely available Masters Degree Program focusing on Engaged Jain Studies. His current research focuses on Modern Yoga and Engaged Jainism. Christopher is the author of a number of articles and book chapters concerned with Jainism and the practice of modern yoga. He is the author of Embodying Transnational Yoga: Eating, Singing, and Breathing in Transformation (Routledge 2023) as well as co-editor of the volumes Engaged Jainism: Critical and Constructive Approaches to the Study of Jain Social Engagement (SUNY Forthcoming) and Beacons of Dharma: Spiritual Exemplars for the Modern Age (Lexington 2020).
Claire Maes Professor University of Tübingen, Germany
Claire Maes is Assistant Professor at the Department of Indology at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Tübingen, Germany. She specializes in both historical and contemporary Jainism, as well as early Indian Buddhism. Her current research project focusses on the role of fasting in the Jain tradition, with a special focus on the Jain practice of fasting to death or sallekhanā.
Cogen Bohanec Assistant Professor at Arihanta Institute
Cogen Bohanec is an Assistant Professor in Sanskrit and Jain Studies at Arihanta Institute where he teaches Sanskrit language, and Jain philosophy and its applications, and Sanskrit and other languages. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Claremont School of Theology (CST), and he has taught numerous classes on South Asian Religions and Sanskrit at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley. Dr. Bohanec specializes in comparative dharma traditions, philosophy of religion, and Sanskrit language and literature, and has numerous publications in those areas. He has a PhD in “Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion” with an emphasis in Hindu Studies from GTU, and he also holds an MA in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies at GTU.
Corinna May Lhoir PhD student Universität Hamburg
Corinna Lhoir, M.A., is a PhD student of classical Indology and a contract lecturer for Beginner’s Sanskrit and Origins of Yoga at Universität Hamburg as well as an entrepreneur with her own online learning platform with focus on studies of yoga and Sanskrit ( She holds a B.A. in Languages and Cultures of India and Tibet with focus on classical Indology from Universität Hamburg, a M.A. in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation from SOAS, University of London, and a M.A. in Oriental Languages and Cultures (India) with a focus on Jainism from Ghent University in Belgium. Her research primarily focuses on yoga in Jainism. She is currently preparing a critical edition of the Yogapradīpa, a Jain medieval text on yoga and meditation.
Corinne Smith SOAS
Corinne is a PhD researcher in the Dept. of History, Religions & Philosophies at SOAS, University of London. During her BA and MA degrees in South Asian Religions, Corinne developed a special focus on Jainism. She is currently writing a thesis upon the life and teachings of the Digambara Jain leader, Kānjī Svāmī (1889-1980), under the academic supervision of Prof. Peter Flügel. She is collaborating with Chouette Films on a film about Kānjī Svāmī and she co-curated the 2023 exhibition 'Pure Soul: The Jaina Spiritual Traditions', held at the Brunei Gallery (SOAS), London.
Eileen Goddard Religious Studies PhD student University of California, Santa Barbara
Eileen Goddard is a Religious Studies PhD student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her current research centers around the 16th century Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava understanding of the siddha-deha in conversation with other South Asian Sanskrit sources and ideas centering around perfected minds and bodies. Eileen’s broader research interests include Indian philosophy, Hindu traditions, Sanskrit poetics, bhakti, and gender and sexuality. Eileen is also the Program Director of the Winter Hinduism in India Study Abroad Program at Rutgers University that takes place in Vrindavan, India. She completed her M.A. in Religion at Rutgers University and B.A. in Philosophy at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former yoga teacher, jewelry designer and theatrical lighting designer from New York City.
Eva De Clercq
Eva De Clercq is Associate Professor at Ghent University, Belgium. Her courses include all levels of Sanskrit and Prakrit (incl. Apabhramsha and Classical Hindi), as well as South Asian literature and South Asian religious traditions. Her main research interests are the Jain versions of the Indian epics especially in Apabhramsha, and later medieval and early modern Digambara history. The first volumes of her translation of Swayambhudeva's Paumacariu have been published in the Murty Classical Library of India (Harvard University Press) as ‘The Life of Padma’.
Heleen De Jonckheere SOAS
Heleen De Jonckheere is a scholar of Jain literature and Jain history. Her current research focuses on the conceptualisation and practice of translation and adaptation in the Jain context and in South Asia in general, and on the religious implications of translation. Her further interests include Jain narrative literature, Jain manuscript culture, religious plurality in historical India as well as the interactions of popular forms of religiosity with more established forms of religion. She received a PhD from Ghent University in December 2020 and continued her work at the University of Chicago and the University of Toronto. At present, Heleen is appointed as lecturer in South Asian Religions at SOAS, University of London.
Hope Bohanec
Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 30 years and has published two books on the subject of veganism, humanewashing, and greenwashing. She is the Executive Director of Compassionate Living, a national non-profit promoting ethical eating, and hosts the Hope for the Animals Podcast. Hope has studied Jain and Hindu Dharma for many years and founded the Ahimsa Living Project to bring to light the deep parallels between dharma religions and veganism.
Jayandra Soni
Jayandra Soni retired in May 2012 from the Department of Indology and Tibetology, University of Marburg, Germany, where he taught Indian languages (Sanskrit, Hindi and Gujarati) and Indian philosophy from 1991–2012. Born and brought up in South Africa where he did his BA in 1972 (University of Durban, Westville), he studied further at the Banaras Hindu University, India (PhD 1978) and the McMaster University, Canada, for a second Phd (1987). He now lives in Innsbruck, Austria, continuing his own studies and teaching at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, as a part-time lecturer. See his website for further details and publications:
Jeffery D. Long Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and Asian Studies Elizabethtown College
Jeffery D. Long is Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania, where he has taught since receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in the year 2000. He has authored many articles and several books, including Hinduism in America: A Convergence of Worlds (2020), the Historical Dictionary of Hinduism (first and second editions, 2011 and 2020), Jainism: An Introduction (2009), and, with Michael Long, Nonviolence in the World’s Religions: A Concise Introduction (2021). In 2021, he received the Ranck Award for Research Excellence from Elizabethtown College, and in 2022, he received an Ahimsa Award from the International Ahimsa Foundation, for his work to promote nonviolence through his scholarship. He has spoken at a variety of prestigious venues, including three talks at the United Nations. He is the editor of the Lexington Books series Explorations in Indic Traditions: Ethical, Philosophical, and Theological.
Jérôme Petit
Jérôme Petit is Curator in charge of the South and Southeast Asia collections at the National Library of France (BnF), and professor for Indian manuscript cultures at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) in Paris, his fields of research are the history of written heritage in India, and the Jaina studies, with a special focus on the Adhyātma movement and the Digambara philosophical tradition.
Jina Shah
Dr. Jhankhana (Jina) Shah is the Past Chair of the Ahimsak Eco-Vegan Committee of JAINA and a Climate Realities Leader. She is Board Certified in General Preventive Medicine and in Family Medicine, with experience in global public health, drug development, lifestyle medicine, and bioethics. She decided to go vegan more than 30 years ago for ahimsa and, with her professional experience, has come to appreciate and teach the health benefits of a whole foods, plant based diet. She contributes to the blog and authored the Jain contribution to the Interfaith Vegan Coalition kit.
Jinesh Sheth
Jinesh Sheth is completing his PhD on the Jaina theory of anekāntavāda (non-one-sidedness) from the University of Mumbai, India. He will be joining University of Birmingham as a post-doctoral fellow in Jain Studies. He has a bachelor's degree in Sanskrit which was followed by a master’s in philosophy. Apart from anekāntavāda, he is primarily interested in engaging with a diverse set of problems of philosophy from a Jaina perspective.
Joey Tuminello Assistant Professor McNeese State University
Joey Tuminello is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, USA, and a Program Coordinator for the nonprofit organizations Farm Forward and Better Food Foundation. His research focuses on the intersection of animal, environmental, and food philosophies through the lenses of hermeneutics, pragmatism, and Jainism.
Johannes Beltz
Johannes Beltz read Theology, Indian Studies, and Religious Studies at the Universities of Halle, Strasbourg, Paris, and Lausanne. On numerous occasions throughout the 1990s, he undertook research in India for his PhD thesis. From 1999 to 2002, he worked at the renowned South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg before taking up a post at the Museum Rietberg where he is now curator of the collection of Indian bronzes, sculptures and textiles, and of the South East Asian collection. He has chaired the Museum’s Curatorial Board since 2009, and was appointed assistant director in 2016. In addition, Johannes Beltz has lectured regularly at the University of Zurich and the Zurich University of Teacher Education since 2005.
Jonathan Dickstein
Jonathan Dickstein is Assistant Professor of Jain Studies at Arihanta Institute. He received a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2022. Jonathan's areas of research include Jain Studies, religion and ecology, comparative ethics, and South Asian religions.
Lee Anne McIlroy Chair of the ESL department Cerritos College
Lee Anne McIlroy was named the Bhagavan Kunthunath Endowed Scholar of Jain Thought Leadership at Cerritos College for the 2021-2022 academic year where she is currently the chair of the ESL department and the Student Learning Outcomes coordinator. She holds degrees in Linguistics from UCLA and CSULB and is currently a doctoral student at the American College of Education where her research focuses on addressing the impact of linguistic colonialism in international education. In addition to her work in higher education in California, Lee Anne also works as a language specialist and researcher in East Africa.
Lynna Dhanani
Lynna Dhanani obtained her doctorate at Yale University and joined the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis in the Fall of 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. Her research explores the confluence of interreligious polemics, philosophical debate, devotional themes, and poetics in the Sanskrit hymns of the celebrated twelfth-century Svetambara Jain Hemacandra, court pandit to two Hindu kings of medieval Gujarat. Having dedicated herself to the study of multiple Indian religions for more than two decades, Lynna has a wide range of interests, including Jainism, Sanskrit and Prakrit language and literature, medieval Indian alchemical traditions, yoga and tantra, Indian devotional movements, Indian philosophy, and especially South Asian religious art.
Malay Patel Associate Professor Sandip University
Malay R. Patel is an Associate Professor in Management and currently serving at Sandip University, Nashik, India. He is presently pursuing his second Ph.D. from the University of Warsaw, Poland his thesis topic is “Modern reformation in Jainism in Gujarat in 19th Century.” Dr. Patel holds his first doctorate degree in Business Studies from Sardar Patel University, Gujarat. He also had a short stint of 3 years working as an Associate Dean in a Law college. Dr. Patel is armed with two master’s degrees: M.Sc. in Paints & Polymer Sciences and MBA with Marketing and Human Resource Management specialization. In addition to his regular qualification, His research interests are Jainism, ancient Indian philosophy, jurisprudence, entrepreneurship, and innovations. He has a knack for management case writing and teaching. Many of his management cases and research are published in national and international journals.
Mamta Valderrama
Mamta Jain Valderrama is the Senior Vice President of Global Operations of Mercy For Animals and oversees shared services including Technology, Data Analytics, Project Management Office, Logistics, Research and Impact, and Human Resources. With twenty years of leadership experience, her expertise is in turnarounds, sustainable growth, and constructing a compassionate food system. As a practicing Jain throughout her life, Mamta’s core value is ahiṃsā, which means respect for all beings and avoidance of harm toward others. In her youth, Mamta served on the national board of Young Jains of America and is an active member in the Jain community. Mamta serves as treasurer of the board for LEAD for Farmed Animals, an organization that provides professional development training to animal activists. She is also the membership lead for the Phoenix, AZ chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Mamta has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The George Washington University and a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
Manoj Jain Faculty Rollins School of Public Health Emory University
Manoj Jain, MD MPH, is a physician and writer. Dr. Jain writes regularly for the Washington Post and has been interviewed by CNN and National Public Radio. He is faculty at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He teaches meditation, and has co-moderated a White House Roundtable Discussion about Complementary Therapies in Rehabilitation, alongside Dean Ornish and mindfulness pioneer Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. He has written a children's book titled: Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence, Jain Food Book and contributed to the Jain Way of Life book.
Marie-Hélène Gorisse
Marie-Hélène Gorisse is the Dharmanath Assistant Professor in Jain Studies at the University of Birmingham. She received her PhD in philosophy and diploma in Sanskrit from the University of Lille and was a Guest Professor at Ghent University, a Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS and a Postdoctoral Researcher in Leiden, Ghent and Birmingham. She specialises in Jainism and in the way its epistemology and hermeneutics are developed in dialogue with other South Asian philosophico-religious traditions. She also works on the contemporary relevance of Jainism as a contributor to the global philosophy of religion. She is the author of many papers, including ‘Jaina Philosophy’ in the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the editor of volumes like the special issue Knowing through perspectives in Jain philosophy. Historical approaches in the Journal of Indian Philosophy, and has done podcasts on Jainism, for example in Robert Lawrence Kuhn’s Closer to Truth, or Peter Adamson’s History of Philosophy without gap series.
Małgorzata Glinicka
I have been awarded with MA degrees in three fields: Classical Philology, Philosophy and Indology at the Warsaw University. I obtained a doctoral degree in medieval Cypriot literature (‘Greeks, Latins and Muslims in Lusignan Cyprus. The Depiction of Interdenominational Relations in the Chronicle of Leontios Makhairas’, 2019). Currently I am working on my PhD research in Jainology (‘Aspects of Māṇikyanandin’s and Anantavīrya’s linguistic thought and philosophy of language. Critical edition of the Sanskrit treatises Parīkṣâmukha and Parīkṣâmukha-laghu-vṛtti alongside the translation and analysis of the third and fourth chapters’). Since year 2020 I have been employed at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences. My main interests include: Indian philosophy of language, Jaina philosophy, philosophy of interreligious dialogue, Greek and Byzantine philosophy.
Mehool Sanghrajka
Mehool Sanghrajka is the Managing Trustee of the Institute of Jainology, leading the collaboration of all UK Jain organisations in government and inter-faith matters. He has represented the Jain faith at major national events and overseas Jain activities in Parliament. rnMehool has a doctorate in Jainism and has published Jain books for the UK national curriculum. He oversees the acclaimed project and has lectured in Jainism at the University of London. rnIn the 2018 New Year’s Honours List, Mehool was awarded an MBE by HM The Queen for services to the Jain Faith and to Education.
Melanie Barbato Researcher University of Münster
Melanie Barbato is the author of Jain Approaches to Plurality, published by Brill in the series Currents of Encounter. She holds a doctorate in Indology and Religious Studies from LMU Munich and a Master’s degree in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford. She currently pursues a habilitation at the University of Münster. Melanie was part of the Food and the Sacred group of the food security project at the Centre for Religion, Human Values and International Relations at Dublin City University. She coordinates, together with Shruti Dixit, the Network of Hinduism in Dialogue, which is based at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and is an associate editor of CrossCurrents (University of North Carolina Press).
Narendra Bhandari Distinguished Professor of Jain Philosophy JAIN University, Bangalore
Prof. Narendra  Bhandari  is a space scientist and has worked with Indian Space Research organization on India’s first mission to Moon. He is the  founder  President of Jain Academy of Scholars and  Science and Spirituality Research Institute, Ahmedabad. He  has published and edited several books on Jain philosophy, establishing its scientific foundation.
Nirva Patel
Nirva Patel is the Global Policy Fellow in the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School and a passionate advocate for animal welfare. She is also a registered patent attorney, biomedical engineer, and executive producer for several plant-based films, including “The Game Changers,” “The End of Medicine,” and “Meat Me Halfway.” As Chair of the Board of Directors, Nirva is dedicated to furthering Farm Sanctuary’s commitment to addressing the full scope of interrelated social injustices rooted in animal agriculture. For close to a decade, Nirva worked in animal advocacy in Mumbai, India. In the U.S., she has individually sparked many advocacy campaigns, including successfully pushing to ban the sale of fur in Weston, Massachusetts, and demanding Jain temples across the U.S. in 2018 remove ghee and dairy from their offerings. She also serves on the International Vegan Film Festival board and is an Advisory Board Member of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA). She has provided strategic fundraising efforts for numerous non- profit capital and development campaigns in Boston. Nirva holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University, a J.D. from The New England School of Law, and an M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University. Her passion for animals was predicated by the Jain philosophy of ahimsa (non-violence), which advocates for a vegan lifestyle. She lives in Boston with her husband, four children, and two rescued rabbits.
Nisha Mehta
Nisha Mehta Ivey is a New York City-based screenwriter and TV producer. She recently wrote for the new Netflix series The Fame Game, starring Madhuri Dixit, and has worked for US and international networks, including AMC, HBO, and Apple. Nisha currently serves on the board of the Global Jain Network, a digital forum that connects Jains around the world; and is an advisor for its partner organization, the Jain Vegan Initiative, designed to promote the Jain principle of Ahimsa through veganism. She also serves as vice-chair of JAINA’s Ahimsa Eco-Vegan committee.
Nitin Shah Professor of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Loma Linda University
Dr. Nitin Shah is Professor of Anesthesiology & Critical Care at Loma Linda University. He is also Chairman of the Academic Liaison Committee of JAINA (Federation of Jain Associations in North America) and was past President of the Jain Center of Southern California. Dr. Shah is the founding President of Anekant Community Center, has taught students in Jain Pathshala for 20 years. He believes in Sallekhana and has written a paper on the topic.
Parveen Jain President and CEO Arihanta Institute
Parveen Jain, PhD, the founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Arihanta Institute and a resident of the Silicon Valley, enjoys life after an exciting corporate career of over thirty years as a founder and chief executive of multiple technology companies, including a senior executive role at McAfee, the cyber security company. Parveen has always cherished philanthropy and has held leadership roles in various non-profit organizations. He has been a long-time trustee of the International Mahavira Jain Mission, where he has been deeply involved with the growth of Siddhachalam, the first Jain tīrtha outside of India, from its founding. He led the team to build Jain Temple in the San Francisco Bay Area, has served as chairman and president of Jain Center of Northern California, and continues to be an active advisor. Previously, he was a founding director of the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, served as a trustee of the American Foundation for the Blind and was a founding team member of the South Asian Heart Center. Currently, besides other non-profits, Parveen serves as a founding director of Stanford Center for Asian Health Research and Education (Stanford-CARE). In addition, he enjoys mentoring bright entrepreneurs and serves on the boards of several technology companies. Besides the philanthropic and mentoring activities, Parveen joyously spends time with his grandkids, self-studies, and writing. He is the author of the book An Introduction to Jain Philosophy. Parveen is most passionate about furthering the initiatives inspired by Ācārya Sushil Kumar in the service of Jain tradition: promoting the message of nonviolence, creating Jain educational platforms, and applying Jain principles to everyday life among the growing global Jain community, for current and future generations.
Philip Clayton Ingraham Chair Claremont School of Theology
Philip Clayton is president of the Institute for Ecological Civilization, which works internationally to support the transition toward a sustainable civilization, developing collaborations among government, business, and policy leaders. He also chairs the board of the Institute for the Postmodern Development of China, which supports environmental policies and practices in China. Dr. Clayton holds the Ingraham Chair at Claremont School of Theology. He is the author or editor of some 26 books, most recently What Is Ecological Civilization? and The New Possible: Visions of Our World Beyond Crisis. A former Senior Fulbright Fellow and Humboldt Professor, Clayton founded and directs the PhD program in comparative theologies and philosophies. A graduate of Yale University, he has taught at Williams College and the California State University, as well as holding guest professorships at the University of Munich, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard University. See also
Pragya Jain Research Scholar Mohanlal Sukhadia University
Pragya Jain is a research scholar at Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur, where she is pursuing her PhD on “Dhyāna: a Jain view with special reference to Śubhacandrācārya’s Jñānārṇava.” She holds two master’s degrees, one in Jainology from Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, and another in English Literature from the University of Pune. She also has an MPhil in “Aestheticism in Oscar Wilde’s short stories.” She has a rich and diverse experience in teaching, journalism, and research. She worked as an English Teacher and an Assistant Professor of Communication Skills for eight years in Mumbai, and then as a sub-editor and senior digital content producer for three years at leading media houses. She has been a student of Jainism since her childhood, having completed Siddhānt Viśārad, a five-year course from Todarmal Smarak. She has authored several papers and a book titled “Sant Vilas” in 2022. She is currently working as a research associate at the International School for Jain Studies, Pune, and is the assistant editor of ISJS-Transactions, an online journal.
Pratik Bhansali
Pratik Bhansali has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He thinks taking a stand against any form of discrimination is something that forms basic decency. This stand should encompass all animals – humans and non-humans, and being a vegan is a mere logical consequence of this stand. He also sees the interconnections between all forms of oppression and their links with animals and their rights.
Raj Shah Global Health & Sustainability Novartis
Raj Shah works in Global Health & Sustainability at Novartis whilst also pursuing a Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. During his time at Warwick, he helped setup one of the fastest-growing, multi-disciplinary, student-run conferences in the UK. Raj is passionate about entrepreneurship and is an advisor at Kaiku, an AI-driven scouting platform for early-stage venture funds. As a Swiss citizen with a multi-cultural background, Raj is committed to promoting Jain values in the western world.
Rita Sherma Director Center for Dharma Studies
Rita D. Sherma is founding Director and Associate Professor at the Center for Dharma Studies; Core Doctoral Faculty; Department Chair of Theology & Ethics; and Co-Chair of Sustainability 360 Initiative at GTU, Berkeley, CA. Formerly, she was the Swami Vivekananda Visiting Professor in Hindu Studies at USC, Los Angeles. She holds an MA in Women’s Studies in Religion, and a PhD in Theology & Ethics from Claremont Graduate University, CA. Sherma is co-founder of the American Academy of Religion’s Hinduism Program Unit. She is the founding Vice President of DANAM (Dharma Academy of North America)—a scholarly society for research on Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religious & interreligious studies—and serves as Vice President of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies. Dr. Sherma has authored/edited/co-edited numerous books and is the founding Editor-in-Chief of "Journal of Dharma Studies." She serves on the Editorial Board of "Reading Religion" Journal (an AAR publication), serves as Advisor to the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action-sponsored Faith for the Earth online & print project, as well as on the Advisory Board of the Yale Forum for Religion and Ecology. Her pedagogical approach goes beyond encounters in the classroom to create collaborations with her students in research, writing, publications, and sponsoring students' leadership in their disciplines.
Ruchika Chitrabhanu
Born and raised in a Jain family, Ruchika had a deep interest in the philosophy of Jainism. She pursued her Master’s in Philosophy, majoring in Jainism. Inspired by Gurudev Chitrabhanu and Smt.Pramoda Chitrabhanu, Ruchika has been a vegan for over seventeen years, and she raises awareness about animal compassion and the benefits of following a vegan lifestyle through events and festivals in India. She is a co-founder of Ahimsafest, India's largest vegan festival, The Earthen One, an events platform to help people transition to a vegan lifestyle, and a board member of Jain Vegan Initiative.
Saathvik Devarakonda Independent Researcher Hindu College
Saathvik Devarakonda is an independent researcher pursuing B.A. Philosophy (Hons) at the Hindu College, University of Delhi. A fervid thinker, he wishes to drive, debate for, formulate for and resonate the dialogue of change for social good. He is currently the Founding-President of Hindu’s Office of International Programs, and the Sub-Editor of the Falsafa Undergraduate Journal of the Department of Philosophy at Hindu College. A budding academician, he is a published researcher and an environmentalist.
Samani Pratibha Pragya Visiting Research Fellow SOAS University
Samani Pratibha Pragya is a scholar of Jain Studies and her specialisms include Jain Yoga, Comparative Religion, Comparative Philosophy, Meditation & Spirituality, Nonviolence, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Hindi Languages, and Jain Terapanth lineage, to which she belongs as a Samani (saint). She is a senior disciple of Acharya Mahashraman. Her current research centers on the history and methods of modern Jain meditation and yoga. She received her Ph.D. in “Prekṣā Meditation: History and Methods” from SOAS. At present, she is working as a Visiting Research Fellow at SOAS with Dr. Flügel on Terapanth data pertaining to the Jaina-Prosopography project. She had established JVB Jain World Peace Centre, London. At present, she is the spiritual head of it and is an authorized Prekṣā yoga and meditation teacher. She initiated a rural development project at Tamkore, Rajasthan, and established Mahapragya International School there. She worked for underprivileged girls’ education in Jhunjhunu district.
Samani Shashi Pragya Associate Professor Jain Vishva Bharati University
Samani Shashi Pragya is Associate Professor in the Department of Jainology at Jain Vishva Bharati University in Ladnun.
Shaleen Shah
Shaleen Shah is an Indian-born entrepreneur and co-founder of  Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary  in Colorado. His lifelong commitment to ahimsa and his passion for animal rights led to the unexpected founding of the sanctuary in 2015 with his wife, Shilpi. Together, they have saved over 850 animal lives and welcomed more than 10,000 visitors every year for humane education programs. Additionally, they have founded The Open Sanctuary Project, which provides hundreds of expertly researched resources for compassionate farmed animal care and sanctuary management, accessed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide annually.
Shivani Bothra Bhagwaan Mahavir/Chao Family Foundation postdoctoral fellow in Jain studies Rice University
Shivani Bothra served as the Bhagwaan Mahavir/Chao Family Foundation postdoctoral fellow in Jain studies at Rice University. Bothra explores the migration of Jain communities within India and to the US. Her research focuses on religious education, curricula, and gender roles, with particular emphasis on religious education of children whose families strive to maintain Jain culture outside the homeland. She also examines shifts from traditional to contemporary Jain religious education in response to the forces at play when Jain communities relocate.
Simon Winant
Simon Winant is a PhD student affiliated with Ghent University and funded by FWO who works on Jain Sanskrit adaptations of the Indian epic Mahābhārata. In his current project ‘Evangelists and Epigones: Sanskrit adaptations of Mahābhārata by Jains in 13th-century Gujarāt’ (FWO), he explores two Mahābhārata adaptations composed in 13th century north-western India: the Pāṇḍavacarita (1213 CE) by Devaprabhasūri and the Bālabhārata (1240 CE) by Amaracandrasūri. rnBy comparing these two adaptations with the authoritative Mahābhārata associated with Hindu traditions, Simon hopes to contribute to a better understanding of North Indian literary culture with regards to language choice, courtly support and religious ideology. Besides Sanskrit epics and Jainism, Simon’s research interests also include early Sanskrit kāvya authors, Prakrit, Kannada, and historical linguistics.
Steven M. Vose Bhagwan Suparshvanatha Professor University of Colorado-Denver
Steven M. Vose (PhD, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and holder of the Bhagwan Suparshvanatha Professorship in Jain Studies at the University of Colorado-Denver. A historian of Jain communities in western India from the early Islamicate period to the present, his work focuses on community formation and interactions with political powers. His first book, Reimagining Jainism in Islamic India: Jain Intellectual Culture in the Delhi Sultanate (Routledge, forthcoming), is the recipient of the Edward C. Dimock, Jr. Book Prize in the Indian Humanities, awarded by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). His current research examines the effects of neoliberalism and globalization on transnational Jain communities.
Subhash Jain Professor Emeritus The University of Iowa
Subhash C. Jain is Professor Emeritus at The University of Iowa. He did his Ph. D. in Mechanics and Hydraulics from The University of Iowa in 1971. He served as a faculty member in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department of The University of Iowa from 1971 to 2003. After his retirement in 2003 he became interested in delving into the karma doctrine. He received in 2019 another Ph. D. on the karma doctrine in the Department of Jainology, University of Madras, Chennai, India. He has published three books "Rebirth of the Karma Doctrine", “Karma Doctrine and Rebirth in Jainism: A Logical Perspective” and “The Path to Inner Peace: Mastering Karma” and several papers in the Jain journals and magazines. He was born in India in a family that practiced Jainism and continued to do so after coming to the US in 1967. He can be reached by phone at (319) 777-9639, by email at, or by mail at 109 Prairie Hill Ln, Iowa City, IA 52246.
Sunny Jain
Sunny Jain is the founder and current chair of the Global Jain Network, a virtual Jain community with a reach of over 13 thousand Jains globally. He is also on the leadership team of The Jain Vegan Initiative and the JAINA Eco-Vegan Committee and previously served on the YJP Executive Board from 2018 to 2019. In his personal life, Sunny enjoys writing, blogging, and philosophy, and attests his spiritual growth and development through the practice of Jainism.
Sushama Parekh Principal Engineer Moog Inc
Sushama Parekh is a member of Jain Center of California for the past 30 yrs supporting Jain Center activities in various capacities. She has been teaching Pathshala to youth for the past 20+ yrs. She was an Adjunct Professor at Claremont School of Theology that offers a Graduate Program in Jain Studies from 2015-2020. She is a member of JAINA Academic Liaison Committee promoting Jain studies at academic institutions in North America. She has been working in Aerospace Industries for the past 40 years supporting various Management and Executive roles. She is currently working at Moog Inc, as Principal Engineer, responsible for Research and Development of innovative Motion Control technologies used in Commercial and Military Aircrafts.
Tillo Detige Center for Religious Studies (CERES), Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany)
Tillo Detige’s primary research project of the past years investigates the Digambara Jaina ascetic lineages of early modern Western and Central India. He works with original manuscript and epigraphic materials which he collected during several months of field work, surveying ascetics’ memorials and visiting Digambara temples and manuscript collections throughout the region. His work has been published in a number of journal articles and chapters in edited volumes, including Brill’s Encyclopedia of Jainism (2020). He obtained Masters in Fine Arts (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Ghent, 2003) and Indian Languages & Cultures (Ghent University, 2009), and worked as a PhD researcher and lecturer at Ghent University (Belgium) from 2012 to 2018. In fall 2018, he taught ‘History of South Asian Buddhism’ at the Carleton-Antioch Buddhist Studies in India program at Bodhgaya (India). He currently works at the Center for Religious Studies (CERES), Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany), where he is finalising his doctoral dissertation and teaches Sanskrit and Hindi. Also at CERES in 2022, he worked on the DFG-funded collaborative research project (CRC, SFB) ‘Metaphors of Religion’, subproject ‘The Human Body as Metaphor of the Divine: Anthropomorphism in South Asian Religious Traditions’.
Tine Vekemans Professor Ghent University
Tine Vekemans holds the Ācārya Mahāprajña Chair for Jain Studies which was established at Ghent University in 2022. Additionally, she is a senior postdoctoral research fellow funded by Ghent University’s Special Research Fund (BOF). Over the past decade, Tine’s research touched upon diverse aspects of modern and contemporary Jainism, including Jain migration history, changing lay-mendicant relations, Jainism in the digital age, and processes of knowledge transfer in the Jain diaspora. Broader recurring themes in her work include religious, cultural, and societal change, diversity and cosmopolitanism, the impact of migration as well as digital media on religion, culture, and learning. Her research approach often combines ethnography with textual study and/or media analysis, but always starts from practices and experiences of Jains. In addition to specialist courses on Jainism and research methodologies, she teaches introductory level courses on South Asian History and Current Affairs.
Tushar Mehta
Dr. Tushar Mehta practices Emergency Medicine in the Toronto area, and participates in international health projects, formerly in rural India, and now with an NGO in Haiti.  He has worked with other NGOs including Sea Shepherd’s Operation Zero Tolerance. Dr. Mehta has given lectures and seminars at JAINA, YJA and local Jain events.  Along with a team, he is co-founder of Towards Ahimsa and has volunteered with Jain/Secular youth camps, promoting ahimsa philosophy in modernity, emphasizing the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and all life.  Along with a small team, Dr. Mehta co-founded Plant Based Data, a free database which organizes academic and institutional literature regarding plant-based diet health, environment, food security, and zoonotic pandemic risk.  He frequently lectures on these topics.
Veena R. Howard Professor, Endowed Chair in Jain & Hindu Dharma California State University, Fresno
Veena R. Howard, Ph.D., is Professor of Asian Religious Traditions in the Department of Philosophy at California State University, Fresno. She also holds the Endowed Chair in Jain and Hindu Dharma. She also serves as the director of the newly endowed M.K. Gandhi Center: Inner Peace and Sarvodaya. Her publications include the books, Gandhi’s Global Legacy: Moral Methods and Moral Challenges (Lexington, 2023); The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Philosophy and Gender (ed.) (Bloomsbury, 2019); Dharma, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Sikh Traditions of India (ed.) (IB Tauris, 2017); and Gandhi’s Ascetic Activism: Renunciation and Social Action (SUNY Press, 2013). She has also authored numerous peer-reviewed articles including, “The Nonviolence Conundrum: Political Peace and Personal Karma in Jain and Hindu Traditions” (Religions, 2023); “Oxford Bibliography Article: Mohandas K. Gandhi” (Oxford University Press, 2019); “Divine Light and Melodies Lead the Way: The Santmat Tradition of Bihar”(Religions, 2019); “The modern monastic Santmat movement of Bihar: building bridges between Sanātana Dharma and Sant-Mat (International Journal of Dharma Studies, 2017); “Lessons from ‘The Hawk and the Dove’: Reflections on the Mahabharata’s Animal Parables and Ethical Predicaments” (Sophia International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions, 2016), “Rethinking Gandhi's Celibacy: Ascetic Power and the Empowerment of Women” (The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2013), She has also translated three books from the modern Sant tradition from Hindi into English. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Venu Mehta Assistant Professor Claremont School of Theology
Venu Mehta is Assistant Professor of Jainism and Comparative Spiritualities at Claremont School of Theology. Her present research focuses on the devotional practices, literature, and iconography of the Jaina Goddess Padmāvatī, with special attention to vernacular and regional forms of devotion and goddesses in Jainism. Her areas of scholarship in Jain Studies include Jain practice of Aparigraha, Sustainability, and Gandhian Model of Economy, Jain religious diaspora and sectarian negotiations in the USA, Jainism and ecology, Jain bhakti literature and practices in Gujarat, Jaina theory of Anekāntavāda, and Jaina notion of forgiveness. Mehta was a Fulbright Fellow (FLTA) at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2010-11 and taught Gujarati as a foreign language. She also conducts research on folk culture, performing arts and literature of western India.
Yifan Singharaja Ph.D. student Renmin University of China
Yifan Zhang is a Ph.D. student in Religious Studies at Renmin University of China and Indian Culture and Languages at Ghent University. The proposed title of his doctoral project is "The Jains in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Their distinctiveness and identities."