Alem Makonnen

Alem Makonnen (she/her) is an internationally recognized educator, insightful thought leader, engaged coach, collaborator, and consultant. For over thirty years, she has provided nimble leadership and responsive private counsel to the public and private sector at critical inflection points. She is dedicated to the practice of compassion, peace, freedom, kindness, individual and collective well-being in her work, life and the world. Teaching Compassion Cultivation Training, developed at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, and Widening Circles of Belonging BIPOC Compassion Series, is a natural reflection and extension of Alem’s deeply held way of being in the world. 

Alem has a broad spectrum of experience in the design of multi-tiered collaborative culturally inclusive programs, policies and services in arenas of health, education, social justice, cultural institutions, global peace initiatives and leadership.

She began meditating thirty-five years ago on the living floor of her childhood home watching her mother, an early meditator, yoga practitioner and educator. Experiencing consistent practice in the thoroughfare of daily life imbued her with a steady practice in the ebb and flow of daily life.

The relationship of inner and outer liberation rooted early in Alem’s life. Both her parents were dedicated to social justice. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh and the pursuit of freedom honed her early development.

Focusing on integrative mindfulness and engaged compassion, Alem draws upon diverse training and experience to share tools that weave contemplative practices, beloved community and an enduring belief in our common humanity. 

Alem believes the cultivation of wisdom-based knowledge in balance with information-based knowledge is necessary to potentiate our ability to create a more compassionate, just and peaceful world. 

She works locally and globally to invite the realization of her childhood wish that freedom and well-being live in our hearts, our lives, our communities, and the world. 

Alem was invited to serve as a Delegate to the United Nations Meeting on Education and Global Citizenship in Thailand. She was bestowed a humanitarian award for her unyielding commitment to our collective well-being and liberation. The Tara Award is given to one who acts like a Boddhisattva by doing good in society and cultivating compassion in the world. 

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