Biographies – Presentation Wake Up Schools / Panel of Experts


Brother Phap Dung

Phap DungBrother Pháp Dung is a Vietnamese American monk, ordained by Thay in 1998. He was born in Vietnam in 1969, came to the US when he was nine years old. He received a professional BA in Architecture from the University of Southern California, and worked as an architect/designer for four years before becoming a monk. He enjoys playing, learning and sharing mindfulness with children of all ages.

He helped to establish Deer Park Monastery and many other US centers, creating meditation programs and retreats for children, teens, families, and young adults, as well as planning its halls and infrastructures, and has been the abbot of the monastery since 2002. He received the Lamp Transmission from Thích Nhat Hanh and became a Dharma Teacher in 2004. He has led mindfulness retreats in North and South America, China, Hong Kong, India, Bhutan and Germany. He is most inspired by meditation as a method of examining and cultivating the mind, of the individual and of the collective; and by community building as a method to heal and develop society.

His current interest involves developing the Wake Up Schools Initiative to bring mental cultivation into all levels of education and collaborating with other institutions and individuals interested in mindfulness and education. One of his deepest aspirations is to create a mindfulness school where all members of the school from the students, teachers, principals, administrators and parents are all practitioners of mindfulness.

Brother Phap Luu

Phap LuuBrother Stream (Pháp Lưu) is from the US and ordained as a Buddhist monk in 2003. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in English Literature in 1997 and also did non-degree study at Yale and Harvard in Buddhist Studies and Sanskrit before ordaining. He taught English as a foreign language in Madrid, Spain, and spent one year working part-time as a teacher in inner-city schools in New Haven, CT.

He received the transmission from Thay as a Dharma teacher in 2011, and has taught in North America, Europe, Brazil, Botswana, Southeast Asia and India. He has been active in the Wake Up movement for young people, co-leading two tours in the UK, and one each in the US, Spain and Ireland, to share mindfulness with young adults at universities, and has been working with the Wake Up Schools initiative to bring mindfulness into schools for the past two years.

He has a deep aspiration to make the simple practice of mindful breathing and embracing strong emotions available at all levels of education.

Pilar Aguilera

Pilar AguileraPilar is an Associate Lecturer at the Faculty of Education, University of Barcelona. In 2002 she began practicing the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in Britain, and since then her personal and professional aim has been to work towards the interconnection between the education of emotions, mindfulness and cosmopolitan citizenship. She studied a Master (Ed) in Institutional Management and Leadership at the University of Southampton where she specialized in the implementation of the English programme Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL). She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Barcelona and has been a Visiting Scholar for two years at the Institute of Education, University of London.

She has practiced with the sanghas of Edinburgh, Southampton and London, is co-facilitator of the sangha of Barcelona and coordinator of Wake Up Barcelona through which she also organizes with her peers collective meditations in public city squares. In 2011 she introduced the Wake Up movement in Spain and was the main organizer of the Wake Up Spain Tour in 2012.

She is a collaborating researcher of the Wake Up Schools international initiative and trainer of the ‘Wake Up Schools: Mindfulness Applied to Education’ course at the ICE of the University of Barcelona. She has participated as a panelist, workshop facilitator and researcher at the Educators’ Retreats of London and Toronto, and co-organized the New Years Educators’ Retreat 2013 at Plum Village with Miles Dunmore and the monks of Plum Village. She is now coordinating the International Conference and Course on Mindfulness in Education in Barcelona as part of the organizing committee of the first Spanish Tour with Master Thich Nhat Hanh.


Julie Berentsen

Julie BerentsenJulie has been working in primary schools across inner city London for the past nine years. She has been fortunate enough to teach and learn with young people of all ages in the primary sector (3-11years) and over the past 3 years has begun to share mindfulness with young people, staff and parents in the schools she has worked in.

Since a young age Julie has had a deep interest in Buddhism, yoga and meditation and is grateful to her family for sharing their own practice and knowledge with her as she grew up.

In 2011 she began her MA in Education at Kings College London. From a yoga book her mum sent her alongside the joy, enthusiasm and heartfelt dedication of her students she discovered the Plum Village book “Planting Seeds, practicing mindfulness with children”and began a small scale research project centred on Thich Nhat Hanhs teachings.

This led to her taking part in Plum Village Educators retreats in London, France and Thailand. Here she found the guidance, insight and kindness of the monastics and community and with their support completed her MA in 2013.

Valerie Brown

Valerie BrownValerie has practiced mindfulness meditation in the Plum Village tradition since 1995 and was ordained as a member of the Tiep Hien Order by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003. She is the author of The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School, available through Corwin Press in summer 2014. She is a educational consultant, leadership coach and Principal of Lead Smart Coaching, specializing in leadership and mindfulness training for school leaders and others.

As a lawyer, lobbyist and mediator, her expertise and energy is in working with educational organizations and non-profits seeking societal transformation and conflict resolution. She blends career paths to bridge disciplines, focusing on mindfulness and leadership.

Valerie has completed several national trainings in the United States that support her study, practice and teaching of mindfulness. These include the Center for Courage & Renewal and educator, Parker J. Palmer, the Center for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown University, and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society/UMass, completing the Practicum in 2007, and the Teacher Development Intensive in 2013.

She is passionate about powerful transformation through mindful awareness, and designs and creates environments that promote greater trust, authenticity and integrity among people.

Miles Dunmore

Miles DunmoreMiles has taught in both state and independent schools in the UK and in the USA. A department head for over twenty years, he has a deep interest in how teachers form their teaching selves, their identities in the classroom and in school, and in how they deal with challenge and stress.

In 2012 he was one of the planners for the UK Educators Retreat led by Thich Nhat Hanh. He has also helped facilitate and has led teacher retreats and days of mindfulness in London and at Plum Village.

His particular interest is in teachers and youth workers building supportive communities together both as fellow professionals and within their schools.

Anja Traub

Anja TraubAnja Traub grew up in USA and Germany, where she studied music, raised 2 children (now 13 and 19 years old) together with her Israeli-musician husband Yaron and worked for many years as a violinist in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. She also devoted much time to teaching, which led to the founding of a summer music course for adolescents in 1995.

Anja’s first encounter with the teachings of Thay was in 1999 when she went to Plum Village for the first time with her husband and 5-year-old daughter, Sivan. Since then the family has been going every year and has found much nourishment, healing and transformation through the teachings, the encounters with monastics and the practice. In 2009 Anja started a meditation group in Altea, Spain and has been co-organizing regular days of mindfulness together with neighboring sangha facilitators (e.g. Daniel of Alicante and Ernesto of Valencia).

In 2012 Anja co-founded a secondary school in Altea. This school, which is a certified British, bilingual school aims to incorporate mindfulness through mindfulness practices and elements of mindfulness integral to the Steiner-Waldorf methodology. Altea International School has 15 students of one grade level (Grade 7) and is growing by one class each year.

Katherine Weare

Katherine WeareKatherine Weare is Emeritus Professor at the Universities of Exeter and Southampton. Her current interest is linking mindfulness with developments in education and exploring how mindfulness can help schools in their everyday tasks of developing effective learners and resilient, self motivated and caring citizens.

She is currently working with the .b project, a curriculum for mindfulness in schools, helping MiSP to evaluate it with a controlled trial. She also works with other school based programmes including the Mind and Life Institute set up by the Dalai Lama and Wake Up Schools set up by Zen Master Thich Naht Hanh. She is just completing the two year MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) course at the University of Exeter to train to teach adults.

Weare’s broader field is social and emotional learning and mental health and wellbeing in schools: she is known as an international expert in this area and has conducted several systematic reviews which have informed policy in many countries.