Summer School

“Empathy and Compassion: From Contemplative Traditions to Neuroscience”

Gerace (RC), Italy, June 10 – 14, 2017 

with Sapienza University of Rome

>>> Download brochure here <<<

The Summer School on “Empathy and Compassion: from Contemplative Traditions to Neuroscience” in the beautiful town of Gerace (Reggio Calabria, Italy) ( is promoted and supported by “Sapienza University of Rome” (, the largest European university, one of the oldest universities in the world, and “Consciousness, Mindfulness, Compassion – CMC – International Association” (

Empathy and compassion are fundamental human mental states, with a crucial importance for mental health and salutary interpersonal attitudes and human relationships. Compassion in particular plays a key role in contemplative training, as reflected in different time-honored contemplative traditions. In Buddhism, in particular, the cultivation of compassion is generally associated to the cultivation of mindfulness and wisdom (insight).

More recently, mental training programs based on mindfulness, compassion and related meditation practices have been successfully applied in a broad range of clinical, educational and workplace contexts. The unifying theme in the growing arts and sciences of mindfulness and compassion has been an effort to lessen suffering and bring more happiness in this world. Together with mindfulness, empathy and compassion have been increasingly studied in cognitive, affective, social and developmental neurosciences, as well as in different areas of clinical (medical and psychopathological) and wellbeing research, with important insights and implications.

The Summer School will thus provide an international forum about empathy, compassion and the aspects above for students, researchers and professionals (e.g., in clinical and educational contexts), as well as contemplative (meditation) practitioners. The Faculty of the Summer School includes leading experts about contemplative, neuroscientific and clinical facets of mindfulness, empathy and compassion. Based on such expertise, the Summer School will focus on effective practices to cultivate and apply empathy and compassion in different contexts, as well as on the latest research. The programme will offer a balanced mix of research and theory, contemplative practice, experiential activity, as well as formal and informal exchanges.


Prof. Salvatore Maria Aglioti | Sapienza University of Rome; Fondazione Santa Lucia
Prof. Antonino Raffone | Sapienza University of Rome; Consciousness, Mindfulness, Compassion – CMC – International Association
With the assistance of Ms. Michela La Padula (Organizational Manager at

Acknowledgments. We thank Loredana Panetta, the municipality and the community of Gerace for their valuable collaboration and support.

Faculty and Topics

1. Prof. Salvatore Maria Aglioti (Sapienza University of Rome; Fondazione Santa Lucia): From pain perception and empathy for pain to existential neuroscience. (

2. Prof. Massimo Bergamasco (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, and PERCRO Laboratory – Pisa): Exploring physical and mental worlds through Immersive Virtual Reality. (

3. Prof. Giovanni Berlucchi (Università di Verona, Accademia dei Lincei): Physiology and neurology of consciousness. (

4. Dr. Cristiano Crescentini (University of Udine; La Nostra Famiglia, IRCCS): The neuropsychology of mindfulness meditation. (

5. Prof. Franco Fabbro (University of Udine; La Nostra Famiglia, ASUI-UD): The neuropsychology of religious experiences. (

6. Dr. Fabio M. Giommi (Nous – Scuola di Psicoterapia Cognitiva; Associazione Italiana Mindfulness): Insight Dialogue – Interpersonal meditation practice. (

7. Mirjam Hartkamp, M.Sc. (Sapienza University of Rome; Consciousness, Mindfulness, Compassion – CMC – International Association) (; Prof. Henk P. Barendregt (Radboud University): Vipassana and Metta meditations. (

8. Prof. Peter Malinowski (Liverpool John Moores University, LJMU): Active compassion: Applying Buddhist view, meditation and action to daily life. (

9. Ven. Constance Miller (Institute Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Pisa): Training ourselves in compassion: Transforming attitudes, thoughts, and actions. (

10. Dr. Nicola Petrocchi (John Cabot University, Rome; Compassionate Mind – Italia):
Compassion Focused Therapy: theoretical background and clinical applications. (

11. Prof. Antonino Raffone (Sapienza University of Rome; Consciousness, Mindfulness, Compassion – CMC – International Association): Mental states, mindfulness and compassion: From Buddhist psychology to neuroscience. (


The Summer School will be in English language and participants are expected to understand and communicate in English.

Arrival and Registration

Please schedule your travels to arrive on Saturday June 10 before the start of the programme at 6:30 pm.

Registration fees

The fees include Summer School participation, three meals per full day, and accommodation:

Standard fee: € 240.

To secure participation, successful applicants will need to pay these fees until May 31, 2017. It is only possible to book for the whole event. Fractional attendance or registration fees are not possible.

Application process

The deadline to receive applications is May 15, 2017. The Summer School is open to all interested people with relevant background. To allow intensive, direct exchange it is limited to around 30 participants, with a mix of students and more established participants. We are running a selection process to identify those, whose interests and background best matches the theme of the Summer School. Applicants are thus requested to provide a brief motivational statement and a CV. Motivational statement: In addition to the usual personal details we also would like to know why you intend to participate and in what way you expect your participation to be useful. Please outline your thoughts on this in your motivational statement of 500 words max.CV / bio: We also would like to know a bit more about your background. Thus, also upload a brief CV / bio sketch, which should be no longer than three pages A4 with a text font not smaller than Arial 10pt. Feedback: Due to the quick turnaround time and the voluntary involvement of our expert review panel, we will not be able to provide individual feedback or further explanations regarding unsuccessful or successful applications. Poster title and abstract: During the poster session participants will have the opportunity to present some of their work/research. Participants who want to present a poster should submit the poster title with their application. After acceptance a full poster abstract will need to be submitted.


Gerace (RC), Italy: Palazzo del Museo, Chiesa di San Francesco, Convento di San Francesco. (


By plane. The Lamezia Terme ( and Reggio Calabria ( airports are connected with several European and Italian airports. Both LT and RC are about 80 minutes driving from Gerace. Hiring a car is probably the easiest way if traveling in groups. Shuttle bus from both airports can be organized upon request.

By car: From Rome to Gerace Rome:,12.5023042,7z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x132f6196f9928ebb:0xb90f770693656e38!2m2!1d12.4963655!2d41.9027835!1m5!1m1!1s0x1315223ee423ab4d:0x40b95ae4ee22a20!2m2!1d16.199266!2d38.2749666!3e0

By train: From Rome to Locri: Information about fast but expensive (unless bought well in advance) trains can be found at: The best option is to stop at Rosarno from where there are regional (cheap and safe) connections.

By bus: From Rome to Locri: Cheap and comfortable arrangements can be found at or at Shuttle bus from Locri can be arranged upon request.


Fondazione Santa Lucia |

La Fondazione Santa Lucia è un IRCCS di diritto privato, dotato di un Ospedale di alta specializzazione per la riabilitazione neuromotoria. Il suo Statuto – riconosciuto con Decreto Ministeriale del 20 ottobre 1998 – assegna alla Fondazione Santa Lucia natura d’istituzione no-profit, finalizzata alla ricerca nel campo biomedico e in quello dell’organizzazione e gestione dei servizi sanitari, insieme a prestazioni di ricovero e cura.


Program (final)


Apply by following this link: application form

For further questions regarding the Contemplative Summer Institute please email: