The idea for the MIND Conference formed at a dinner table in the University College Utrecht dorms. Yara Vrolijks had just returned from the Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference 2014 in San Francisco. Compassion was discussed in a practical, engaging and inspiring way and she was inspired to do the same when she would get home. She felt that at her university there was not really any attention for personal development or well being. While she learned how to write well-structured analytical essays, nobody was speaking about the motivation for studying, how we can apply our knowledge and use the skills we learn to actually help other people.
While guiding weekly meditation sessions she recognized that students were longing for something that could open their hearts and wherein they could find self-confidence and appreciation beyond grades and status. With all the pressure of academic excellence and social expectations the Dalai Lama’s words appeared to her more true than ever: Compassion is a necessity, not a luxury for today’s society.
With this in mind, Yara wanted to find a way to give young people the opportunity to explore the value of compassion for their own lives. The idea of a compassion conference was born.
In November 2014 her friend Carla Ott joined Yara’s vision and together they developed it into a concrete plan. In March 2015 they selected a team of like-minded students and a year later, on Saturday 28 November 2015, the first European conference on compassion will take place in Utrecht.