Mindful Futures: join the new network linking innovations in Mindfulness, Empathy and Compassion


Young people at a casual work meetingInterested in finding out about the new research and applications of mindfulness, empathy and compassion that are shaping social change in Australia? Then the Mindful Futures Network is for you.

At Australia21, we’ve recognised that neuroscience is validating the importance of emotions and thoughts as drivers of decision-making. It shows that individuals, organisations and governments are better served if they have a greater awareness of this impact. Training in mindfulness, empathy and compassion can promote more considered responses, which decrease the risk of negative emotion-driven decision-making and poor results.

Building on the outcomes of Australia21’s Forum Mindfulness, Empathy and Compassion – The Building Blocks of a Mindful Nation, held at the University of Melbourne in June 2016, we’ve established the Mindful Futures Network to provide a national space for Australians wanting to further explore the institutional and social benefits.

The objectives are to investigate how to apply the skill of mindfulness, the competency of empathy, and the motivation of compassion into the decision-making of Australia’s political, industry, health, education, cultural and community sectors, by bringing together leading thinkers, policy makers, practitioners and researchers in these areas.

Australia21 - Artistic design showing two profiles overlaid with cell-like marbling


Taking a leading role

Linking with other like-minded groups, the Mindful Futures Network is taking a lead role in coordinating work that aims to:

  • research, identify and promote the application of mindfulness, empathy and compassion for enhanced social change within Australian institutions, universities, and community organisations;
  • act as a ‘one stop shop’ for similar network groups from around the world that are interested in accessing related work in Australia;
  • facilitate links to similar initiatives occurring around the world.


Australian innovators setting the agendaCover of Empathy Conversations, an Australia21 publication

Some examples of work already happening in Australia include:

  • empathy – Australia21 recently undertook a pilot study on empathy conversations informing public policy;
  • mindfulness – many Australian companies such as NAB and IBM already offer mindfulness classes for their employees;
  • compassion – the University of Melbourne offers the Stanford University compassion training to their medical students.

In addition, there are numerous Australian academics researching in these areas and the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland runs an annual Compassion Symposium.


chairs at meeting table with thought bubbles aboveConnecting with cutting edge research around the world

The Mindful Futures Network will also partner with similar Networks around the world including in the US, UK and Europe.

By becoming a member you will have access to leading-edge thinkers drawn from a variety of fields including neuroscience, cognitive psychology and management theory who are researching and applying mindfulness, empathy and compassion for change at societal, systems and institutional levels.


Mindful Futures Network launch

Australia21 will officially launch the Mindful Futures Network with an interactive webinar in late May 2017.

Chris Ruane Twitter photoThe launch will feature Chris Ruane, President of the Mindfulness Initiative UK, and a former UK politician serving in the House of Commons for over 18 years. It will be hosted by Dr Lynne Reeder, National Facilitator of the Mindful Futures Network, and Adjunct Research Fellow, Federation University Australia. Chris and Lynne will talk about the application of the science of mindfulness, empathy and compassion for social change and the role of the Network in enabling that change.

Date and access details will be provided in early May.


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