University of San Diego to Host Conference on Contemplative Studies

In a fast-paced world filled with long work days, frenetic activity and the constant attractions of media and technology, it’s no wonder that popular and academic interest in Contemplative Studies is growing.

On Nov. 20 and 21, leading scholars in the field will meet at the University of San Diego to better understand how prayer, meditation and other activities can help individuals find greater awareness and insight, a deeper sense of meaning and purpose, and also better health and well-being.

“We hope the conference will be an exciting and groundbreaking event in this emerging interdisciplinary field,” said conference organizer Louis Komjathy, associate professor of Theology and Religious Studies and director of the Contemplative Studies program at the University of San Diego.

The field of Contemplative Studies has both faith and secular dimensions, he explained, drawing from many religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It also involves disciplines such as medicine, neuroscience and psychology. Other subjects such as art, music and science can also be informed and expressed as contemplative practice.

Leading scholars and practitioners presenting at the conference include Harold Roth, professor of Religious Studies and director of the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University; William Meninger, a Trappist monk from St. Benedict’s Monastery and author of “The Loving Search for God”; Mary Frohlich, associate professor of spirituality at the Catholic Theological Union and Laura Schmalzl, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

The conference is free and open to the public. It takes place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21 in the Warren Auditorium of Mother Rosalie Hill Hall at the University of San Diego. For more information and a full schedule, go to and click on “Events.”

Co-sponsors of the conference include the University of San Diego’s Center for Christian Spirituality, Center for Educational Excellence, Center for Inclusion and Diversity and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost.




About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Denise Ward
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