Joe Dixon is a first year MPhil student on the Tibetan and Himalayan studies course, and his main interest is in Vajrayana Buddhism. Although he is currently spending most of his time studying the Tibetan language, he will conduct research for a dissertation next year, and hopes to pursue a topic related to Vajrayana. He ideally plans to research something related to the practice of Vajrayana in the modern world. He did his undergraduate degree in archaeology at Durham University.
Gabe Rusk is currently studying an M.St. in the Study of Religions at the University of Oxford. His general research interests focus on the legal relationship between religion and the State. His current research topics include: Church & State history, religion and the law, 19th century colonialism and Buddhism, ‘Protestant Buddhism,’ and Buddhism in the USA. Gabe did his undergraduate work at the University of Denver where he studied religion and philosophy. He also spent one year previously as an undergraduate student at the University of Oxford studying religion and jurisprudence. Besides spending his time in religious and legal studies he has been a competitive debater throughout his time in high school, at the University of Denver, and at the Oxford Union. Gabe is also a big connoisseur of tea, wine, film, and contemporary non-fiction.
Bryan has a Bachelor’s degree in Oriental History and Civilisations at the University of Bologna, in Italy, and is currently attending a postgraduate degree in Asian and African Languages and Cultures, held at the University of Bologna in Italy. He travelled in the city of Heidelberg, in Germany, to join a course in Spoken Sanskrit and in the city of Leiden, in Holland, to join the summertime indological program. In his career he has studied Japanese, Old Persian, Sanskrit and Pāli and is currently writing his final dissertation on a translation of a Buddhist text from Pāli, focusing in particular on commentary in Pali (Aṭṭhakathā).
Matthew read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and specialized for his doctorate there in the evolution of social behaviour, including a case study on tropical spiders. Experiences during solitude in the rainforest led him to explore Buddhist meditation as a way to develop them, and Dawkins’ ideas (developed by Susan Blackmore et al) about the evolution of memes, virus-like entities propagating themselves using human minds as vehicles, led him naturally to explore in more depth Buddhist methods of mental purification.
Living in Egypt and Nepal for over a decade, he studied Islamic esotericism and Tibetan Buddhism: he followed the traditional programme of Mahayana philosophy at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute of Kanying Shedrubling Monastery near Kathmandu, and Vajrayana practices as a student of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and Trulshik Rinpoche.
At Oxford he is currently researching a book on the use of deconstructive argumentation in the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism and in the Pyrrhonist school of Ancient Greek philosophy, and the historical connections between them. He is more generally interested in any anti-dogmatic practices in religious and philosophical traditions, as potential remedies for the factionalism, sectarianism and systematic cruelty which, he feels, infect so much of our world.
Emilie Parry is a DPhil student in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Her applied, collaborative research involves concepts of integrated resilience centered within community capacities and networks, encompassing strategies and learning transference around climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as community-based biodiversity conservation. In particular, she is interested in inter-religious dialogue to address the human drivers of climate change and support biodiversity conservation, and has been working with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), which has facilitated the Inter-Religious Climate and Ecology (ICE) Network, intended to build problem-solving platforms, learn from each other across Asian and African community networks, and to build an educational and action-based movement of cooperation across all faiths and spiritual practices, in the spirit of engaging around the issue of climate change.
Prior to joining the University of Oxford, Emilie worked globally in sustainable community development, complex emergencies, disaster risk management, and other resilience-related realms.
Venerable Sakda Hemthep is a native of Thailand. He completed his MA in Buddhist Studies at University of Sunderland in 2006 and his MPhil at Cardiff University in 2014. His area of interest lies on Buddhist Monasticism, Early Buddhism, Buddhist Meditation, Comparative Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, Chinese Buddhist texts and Thai Studies. He is a fully ordained Theravada Buddhist monk and has also taught Thai language at the Dhammakaya Foundation for many years. He is currently a graduate student of the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford.