Home » Library » Metanexus Local Initiatives Program » Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science – Report 2003-2005

Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science – Report 2003-2005

Report for the Templeton Foundation, January 29, 2006 

1. Background Context to the Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science

This report is written, in part, in narrative form because we feel that the Pari Dialogues, and indeed the Pari Center, form a paradigm case of the way a network can function and grow. In addition it provides a fine example of how a small catalytic action on the part of Metanexus Institute and the Templeton Foundation can develop into a variety of significant actions and activities.

The Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science are one of the functions carried out by the Pari Center for New Learning. Yet the activities of the Center and the dialogues are so deeply entwined, informing and fostering each other, that it is not strictly possible to separate the one from the other. Or to put it another way, the activities of the Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science are far broader that simply hosting a lecture series for the general public and permeate into every area of the Pari Center and its activities.

To put this in context, The Pari Center was created in 2000 with an international conference (The Future of the Academy) on the future of the universities. The founder, David Peat, a theoretical physicist and author of twenty books had previously organized conferences in London and North America but, on moving to the medieval hilltop village of Pari in Tuscany, decided that the village itself would be an ideal center for conferences, courses and long-term visitors. An empty Palazzo was made available by the Comune di Civitella-Paganico of which Pari is a frazione and an arrangement was made with the local people to rent empty, furnished houses for use by visitors and participants. In turn, the influx of visitors to the Center would both help the impoverished economy of the area and provide stimulation in terms of new faces and ideas. At the time David Peat moved to Pari the population was decreasing, young people felt there was little future in the area and there was a fear that the village would die. However, because of the creation of the Center additional people have settled in the village bringing new work with them and several new enterprises have been created. The Center has helped to transform the village, in a gentle and sustainable way. It is registered in Italy as a non-profit association.

In 2002 Peat and his wife, on an invitation from the University of Madrid, visited Cordoba in Spain and were deeply struck by the way Jews, Christians and Muslims had once lived side by side, translating each other’s books and studying mathematics, astronomy, medicine and biology. Inspired by this vision they organized an international conference A Dialogue between Three Religions (Jews, Christians, Muslims) and Science. One of the speakers at that meeting reported his research on the collaboration amongst Christians, Jews and Arabs in Toledo. He emphasized that true interReligious collaboration does not occur simply by wishing it. Rather it arises within a community that shares a common interest in research and knowledge. It was out of this discussion that that several participants wrote the application to Metanexus Institute for the Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science. The Pari Dialogues were awarded an LSI grant on 8 August 2002. Subsequently it also received two Metanexus awards of $10,000.

History of the Program

The Pari dialogues on Science and Religion grew out of the activities of the Pari Center for New Learning, located in the small medieval hilltop village of Pari, some 25 km south of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. The Center was opened in 2000 as a way of offering hope and encouragement to a village whose population had been in decline and was seriously concerned about its future. By organizing conferences, courses and a program of visitors the Center brought in new faces and ideas to Pari and well as spending its small budget within the village.

In return the local government of the area has donated, without fee, a public building in the village (the former schoolhouse), which contains a conference room, meeting room, plus other rooms for use as offices and potentially as a library and museum. The local village association hosts meals in its meeting room and participants stay in the empty, furnished houses.

2002 saw a Dialogue between Three Religions (Jews, Christians, and Islam) and Science bringing participants from the USA, England, Italy, Spain and Denmark. As a result of this meeting, the Center decided to pursue such dialogues on a regular basis and obtained support of the Metanexus Foundation through its Local Initiatives Program.

The first step was to hold meetings in the village and ask people what they would really like to see happen. The response was encouraging, we were told that in the past people had talked together about important issues, some had even passed around books for discussion. While they were a little uncertain about their ability to understand science, they would welcome the chance to enter into discussions again and asked for the program to bring in interesting speakers who would stimulate discussion.

The program therefore decided to move in parallel directions. There would be Saturday afternoon talks, open to all. These would be designed to disseminate information and stimulate general discussion at a populate level. Speakers would stay overnight and hold smaller roundtable discussions at a higherlevel involving academics and other special interest groups. We feel it particularly important that these latter discussions should reflect all shades of opinion—rather than simply ‘preaching to the converted.’ In particular we have welcomed scientists who do not hold religious perspectives but feel the need for strong ethical and moral principles. We feel that these dialogues can be of the greatest use when they address difficult and often troublesome questions.

The next step was to approach the local ‘Misericordia’ groups in the nearby villages. (These are volunteer associations who care for the sick, arrange funerals and operate an ambulance service) and other local associations. Through the good offices of these groups, we were able to reach the population lying between the cities of Siena and Grosseto—a 60 km strip containing many dispersed villages and small urban centres.

On the other hand, there was some suspicion on the part of Pari’s priest, Don Roberto, who tended to dismiss such discussions as ‘New Age.’ A similar lack of support came from the Archbishop of Siena. This reflects a certain conservative element in the Catholic Church, as well as a desire to protect their own area of interest against others. This however is by no means universal, and we are seeking to make contact with other groups in the church.

In addition contact was made with the Universities of Pisa and Siena, with the monastic community at Siloe, and with professional associations in the cities of Grosseto and Siena. Advertisement was also made on the Pari Center web site and via posters and flyers. With additional funding the Program would also be in a position to produce a brochure.

In the months that followed the initiation of this program we are slowly being approached by groups lying further away—in  Rome, Naples and Milan, for example—as well as by individuals with a special interest in these dialogues.

The Pari Center itself is opening a small library for use by the people of Pari and surrounding area and using part of the Local Initiatives grant to buy books specifically dealing in science and religion.

2. Pari Dialogue Activities

Setting up the LSI group

The first action of the group was to organize meetings with the local people, including the priest, to discuss what they would like from the Dialogues. This also included discussion with the Misericordia (volunteer association concerned with good works, care of the sick and dying and funerals) and the village association, Sette Colli, that organizes events in Pari.

The main work of finding speakers, organizing meetings, advertising and so on fell to Dr. F. David Peat, Dr. Shantena Sabbadini and Arnold Smith, with logistics arranged by Maureen Doolan

Public Talks

Since its inauguration, the Pari Dialogues have hosted a number of speakers to give public talks. Talks are advertised via an email list, on the Pari Center website www.paricenter.com, at the University of Siena, through flyers and posters distributed in shops and community centers in the neighboring towns (including Grosseto and Siena), via short articles we write for newspapers that cover the Region of Tuscany, and with notifications to local television stations.

The audience for the talks is drawn from the local community of villages in the area as well as members who come from the Universities of Siena, Florence and Pisa (some staying overnight.) We generally arrange for a dinner of some twenty persons in order to encourage discussion. Since the talks are held in the Pari Center library participants are encouraged to borrow books from our Religion and Science section.

(For a list of talks see Appendix 1)

(For membership and other statistics see Appendix 2)


The Pari Dialogues also hosts a series of Roundtables at which smaller invited groups meet to hold discussions at a higher level. Invited speakers at the public talks are encouraged to spend the night in Pari so they can be present at a Roundtable on the following day.

(For a list of Roundtables see Appendix 1)


See Appendix 1


Communications are effected via a website, e-mailings and an electronic newsletter. (See Appendix 2.)

Video, Webcasting and Teleconferencing

Many of our talks have been videotaped, as well as have interviews with speakers and visitors. Eventually we intend to have a full library of video recordings. At the moment a few short clips of these talks and interviews are from time to time made available on our website. We are currently investigating, with Fast Web, the possibility of increasing the speed of our Internet link to make these talks available over the Internet.

With a faster connection we will also be able to engage in teleconferencing.


As part of its activities, we have made an effort to reach out to other groups and individuals to provide contact, stimulation and encouragement. Fernando di Mieri, for example, has been a regular visitor and with our encouragement he and his colleagues have now formed an LSI group in Naples. Likewise we have fostered a connection with the Pisa/Perugia LSI group and with George Coyne, SJ and the Vatican Observatory.

(For a more comprehensive list of outreach activities, see Appendix 1)

Mission Statement

From the beginning we decided that our approach should be open and evolving, rather than fixed by a single mission statement. Likewise our emphasis has been upon spirituality rather than taking one single religious position. Thus during our talks series, we have touched upon Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Native American spirituality.


A number of publications have arisen out of our talks and roundtables. There appear on our website or in scholarly journals. See Appendix 1

3. Catalysis

One of the unique features of our organization is that we are small, yet at the same time strongly connected to a network of exceptional and highly qualified individuals. We are also located in a small and close-knit community which means that there is a great deal of communication and exchange. We are relatively new and have deliberately kept our mission and philosophy open for change. This means that we are flexible, able to respond easily, move in new directions and consolidate without becoming rigid.

It is for these reasons that we have been able to respond to the stimulus provided by both the Metanexus Institute and the Templeton Foundation. While the amount of funding for an LSI group may appear small, it left us with a strong sense of responsibility to work towards excellence and to chose speakers and topics that went beyond a simple ‘religion and science’ approach.

We have also been stimulated by several visits from Eric Weislogel of Metanexus. Our discussions with him on the notion of a Global Academy, for example, have encouraged us to explore the notion of a Network of Networks, as well as carrying out research on ways of displaying visually, including via computer animation, the flows of information and knowledge through such a network. Likewise, as is detailed below, Templeton’s interest in Spiritual Capital encouraged us to create the Pari Network of businesspeople and economists.

4. Spiritual Capital Pari Network

The Center has ongoing connections with a number of businesspeople including Geoffrey Bush, a director of Diageo plc (the world’s largest alcoholic drinks company), Ernesto Illy, CEO of Illy Caffè and of Centromarca (Italian association of brand names), Lord Stone, former CEO of the Marks and Spenser chain of retail stores, and Howard Stein, founder of the Dreyfus Fund. Together we have discussed issues of ethics, loyalty, community and spirituality in the field of business and economics.

When Templeton Foundation expressed interest in Spiritual Capital, we realized that we had already taken steps along that route and could now go further by putting together an international network to explore issues of spirituality and ethics within the field of economics and business.  These include:

  • An investigation of the ways in which insights from chaos theory and self-organizing systems can be applied to economic systems.
  • The notion that in order to be successful a business must work to discover its strange attractor.
  • The nature of ethical systems and how they relate to different religious traditions

The network operates through exchanges via the Internet and face-to-face meetings that have been held in Pari and, thanks to the generosity of Lord Stone, at the British House of Lords.

Members of the Network include:

Edy Altes, Former Dutch ambassador to Spain, Honorary president of the World Conference of Religion and Peace, Holland

Helen Ampt, EFA, Siena

Jena Alexrod, financial market, NY

Luk Bouckaert, SPES, Belgium

Geoffrey Bush Director of Corporate Citizenship for Diageo, Chairman of the Diageo Foundation.

Simona Capace, EFA, Siena

Maggie Callaway, Callaway Group, USA

Napier Collyns, London and California, founder Global Business Network

Arthur Cordell, economist, Government of Canada, Ottawa

Linda Dennard, ETHOS, Cork, Ireland

Mark Edwards, Still Pictures, London

Luciano Fioroni, Monte dei Paschi Bank, Siena

Warwick Fox, philosopher, University of Central Lancashire’s Centre for Professional Ethics

Habitat Jordan, Jordan

Peter Hindle, Spirit in Business Foundation, UK

Ernesto Illy, President Illy Caffè and of Centromarca, Trieste

Siraj Izhar, artist/curator and social catalyst, London

Richard Layard, London School of Economics, London

Don Liebich, Friends of the Pari Center, USA

Andrew Meikle, The Meikle Files, Australia

Ed Nell, economist, New School University, NY

Marcello Palazzi, Progressio Organization

David Peat, Pari Center for New Learning, Pari, Italy

Shantena Sabbadini, co-director, Pari Center for New Learning, Italy

Therese Schroeder-Sheker, Chalice of Repose, Oregon

Hetan Shaw, economist, Policy Director, Compass, London

Lord Stone, Former CEO of Marks and Spencer, London

Lily Swann, New Economics Foundation, London

Daniel Truran, Baha’i Business association, Spain

Colin Tudge, author and science writer, UK

Massimiliano Ugolini, EFA, Siena

Alessandro Vercelli, economist, University of Siena

Perry Walker, New Economics Foundation, London

Ruth West, author, Oxford

Network of Networks

Arising out of discussions with Eric Weislogel of Metanexus on the notion of a Global Academy or University we are currently considering what role we could have in the creation of a ‘Network of Networks.’ We are also putting together a small team (animator, artist and programmer) to carry out research on ways of displaying visually, including via computer animation, the flows of information and knowledge through networks.

5. Ethics and Spirituality in Economics.

In 2004 the Pari Center/Dialogues entered into a formal relationship with the Siena-based association of EFA (Etica, Finanza, Ambiente). EFA was formed by one of the directors of Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank—one of Italy’s largest banks—and comprises economists and scientists from the University of Siena and Monte dei Paschi bank. Its aim is to develop new ethical approaches in economics and banking. Since that time EFA and the Pari Center, Pari Dialogues in Religion and Science, have been holding joint meetings.

Conference: Ethics and Spirituality in Economics, Business and Society.

In May 2006 the Pari Center/Dialogues and EFA will be organizing an international meeting for 120 participants in Siena. The Pari Center will be responsible for the speakers and academic program, while EFA will provide the logistics of the meeting. The meeting will focus on ethics and spirituality within the context of economics and society. The conference website can be found at http://www.eticaeconomia.org/

Speakers Include:

Edy Altes, President of the World Conference of Religion and Peace, Netherlands

Henk van Arkel, Social Trade Organization, Netherlands

Salvatore Bimonte, University of Siena

Geoffrey Bush, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Diageo, pls, London

Simona Capace, EFA, University of Siena

Mark Edwards, United Nations Global 500 Award

Giampaolo Gabbi, University of Siena

Paul Glover, creator of Ithaca Hours, Ithaca, NY, USA

Ernesto Illy, Chairman of Illy Caffè and Chairman of Centromarca, Trieste

Siraj Izhar, artist and social catalyst, London

Sebastiano Maffettone, Libera University Internazionale degli Studi Sociali, Rome

Hendryk Opdebeeck, University of Antwerp

Marcello Palazzi, Progressio Foundation, Netherlands

David Peat, Pari Center for New Learning

Francesco Rinaldi, Director, Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank

Shantena Sabbadini, Pari Center for New Learning

Diana Schumacher, Schumacher Foundation, UK

Lord Stone, former CEO of Marks and Spencer chain, London

Massimiliano Ugolini, EFA, University of Siena

John van Praag, CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group, President of East West Foundation

Alessandro Vercelli, University of Siena

6. Pari Publishing

We have established a publishing house in Pari and will be publishing our Pari Dialogues series, both in an English version and in Italian, as well as a number of other books that reflect the philosophy of the Center and the Dialogues

7. Pari Center Activities

In addition to its public lectures and roundtables in religion and science, each year the Pari Center offers a series of 5–7-day courses in English, plus shorter courses in Italian. It has also organized conferences in the fields of education, publishing, and structuring knowledge and research on the Internet. The Center also has a visitor’s program so that academics, writers and researchers can spend anything from a week to several months at the Center.

In addition to a number of active networks the Center also maintains a website with a library of articles on Science, Education, Economics and general Culture.

One of the research activities of the Center is that of developing the notion of ‘Gentle Action,’ a new form of appropriate action for organizations, institutions and society in general.

8. Education


We are supporting a program to make available a complete education in science and mathematics via a series of WorkBooks that can be downloaded without charge from our website. The aim of this program is to encourage education for those in the Third World who may not have access to up-to-date text books. The first five of these books are now on-line and are being field tested in Africa.

New Learning

The Center came into existence with a conference on the future of universities and education, it continued with conferences on the future and structuring of knowledge in the world of the Internet. Part of our philosophy is to explore new paradigms in learning and education. To this end we have formed a small group consisting of:

  • Maureen O’Hara, President Emerita, Saybrook Graduate School, S.F. and her colleagues interested in New Learning, S.F,
  • Joan Bartlett, educational consultant to the Sizewell School (Quaker School), Washington. D.C.
  • Wilson Winnitoy, educator currently completing a book on alternatives to the present school system, Calgary, Canada
  • Elena Liotta, educational consultant to the province of Orvieto, Orvieto
  • David Peat, Pari Center
  • Maureen Doolan, former special education teacher and co-founder of People, Words and Change (Ottawa), Pari Center
  • Shantena Sabbadini, Pari Center
  • Roy McWeeny, Professor Emeritus, University of Pisa
  • Virginia del Re, University of Pisa 


1. Public Lectures

Religion and Science: Sources of conflict or of resolution?
Father Jose Adriano Ukwatchali, Angola
Virginia del Re, ‘Women in Black,’ Pisa
Silvia Landi, Director of Amnesty International for Tuscany
Egidio Grande, Director of Amnesty International for Siena
Prof Roy McWeeny, Dept Chemistry, University of Pisa

A Voyage around God
Dr Shantena Sabbadini

Sacred Mathematics, Music and Mysticism
Maestro Hans-Eberhard Dentler

The Spirit of St. Frances in an Age of Genetic Engineering
Professor Almedo Alpi, Department of Plant Biology, University of Pisa.

Native American Elders/Western Scientist Circles
David Peat, Pari Center

A Heart and Soul for Europe
Dr Edy Korthals Altes, former Dutch Ambassador to Spain

The Relationship between Faith and Science.
Professor Fernando di Mieri, University San Tommaso Aquino, Naples

Deep Issues on Human Consciousness and the Link to Mysticism
Arnold Smith, National Research Council of Canada

Embodiment and Spiritual Teaching
Arnold Smith, National Research Council of Canada

Sacred Icons and Medieval Symbolism
Manuela Minacci, Icon maker
Dr.  Susan Scott, Curator of Sacred Objects, Siena Cathedral 

Unlimited Love from the Perspective of the Neurosciences
Dr Jan Updike, neurosurgeon, and President, Summit Alliance for Global Health, USA

Hindu Science and Hindu Religion
Gaonkar Narendra Sakharam.

Buddhism and the Science of the Mind
Prof. Andrea Pasquino, University of Pescara

How is it Possible to Know and to Believe in God.
Prof Fernando di Mieri, University San Tommaso Aquino, Naples

Do we have Sufficient Bread?
Father MichaelDavid Semeraro, Benedictine Monastery, Como

The Wave Theory of Angles: Metaphors between Medieval Religious Symbolism and Contemporary Quantum Theory
Dr Alison MacLeod, writer, Brighton

Love in Spiritual Tradition and its Possible Role in an Objective Science
Arnold Smith, Pari Center.

Science and Religion: Reaching the Public
Dr Paul Buckley, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto

Science and Religion: Sacred Cows?
Professor George Coyne SJ, director of the Vatican Observatory

Structuring Space: How does the way we structure the space around us affect the way we relate, our ethical behaviour and our values?
Wanda Hurren
Warwick Fox, Professor of Ethics, University of Lancashire,
Kim Williams editor of Nexus Journal of architecture and mathematics
Wilson Winnitoy, supervisor of schools in the Province of Alberta, Canada.

The Miracles of Creation: Sufism and Science
Professor Virginia del Re, University of Pisa.

The Metaphysical Object: Material Objects from the Perspective of Science and the Sacred
Dr. Andrea Calabresi, Rome assisted by
Alessia Cervini, Rome
Fabio Severo.

The Anthropic Principle and the work of Teilhard de Chardin
Professor Silvana Procacci, University of Perugia

Building Towers, the Spiritual Dimensions to Ethics and Globalization
Professor Hendrik Opdebeeck, University of Louvain and Founder of  SPES the European Forum on Spirituality in Economic and Social Life.

The Evolution of Consciousness through the Lenses of Science and Religious Tradition
Prof Allan Combs, University of North Carolina.

The Universe Large and Small: what are the underlying laws that relate to the appearance of form
Lisa Jacobson: artist working on a PhD thesis under Prof Brian Greene, the superstring physicist.

Photographing Light: Light as a Metaphor for the Divine
Rhea Quinn, photographer who has developed a new technique for making images of light
Manuela Minacci, Icon maker

So Shall we Reap: Science and Religion
Colin Tudge, science writer and author of So Shall we Reap

2. Roundtables

The Wound in Matter

Dr Lee Robbins spent time in Pari to work on her new book, The Wound in Matter, on the spiritual and scientific dimensions to nature. She found her roundtable discussions valuable in her final revisions of the manuscript.

Religious Curriculum

This roundtable on the degree to which science could enter in the religious curriculum was led by two Dominican nuns, both from Santa Sabina College in Sydney, Australia, Sisters Judith Lawson and Margaret O’Shea.

 The Liverpool Philosophers

The group, created in coordination with The Society for Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education, spent a week in Pari with daily roundtables plus two days of formal discussions with David Peat, Shantena Sabbadini, Arnold Smith, David Oakley and Franklin Abrams

Quantum Measurement Problem

The relationship between discussions of quantum measurement and discussions of the ineffable within mystical traditions. To what extent are out deepest experiences compromised when put into words?

The Spirit of St Francis and Modern Economics

A series of roundtables with members of EFA, Monte dei Paschi Bank and the University of Siena. During the discussions, Francesco Rinaldi, one of the bank’s directors, called for a major paradigm change in economics and in the role of money which has become increasingly ‘dematerialized.’

Notai and Italian Law

A group of Notai from all over Italy met for a day at the Center. (A Notaio is a type of lawyer concerned with such transactions as property transfer. As an organized group, they have an enormous influence on the Italian legal system and any projected change in the law must first meet with their approval.) Their concern was with the currently fragmented nature of Italian law. In a call for a radical rethinking, they wished to investigate how the new insights of physics about self-organization and complexity could be integrated with traditional ethical and religious considerations of Italian society

The Human Face of Globalization

Dinner and roundtable with a group of international economists, some of whom who were particularly concerned with an integration of the Islamic perspective into economic practice.

Ethics, Spirituality, Business and Economics

In the fall and winter of 2005-2006 we held a number of joint meetings with members of EFA to discuss the context and academic background to the international conference we will be hosting in May 2006. The context includes the ways in which lessons of chaos theory and self-organization can be applies to economic systems. Can ethical bases of actions be determined independent of any religious tradition, and how are economic systems (such as Quaker, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist business practices and economics) related to religious traditions?

3. Conferences

We have organized three international conferences dealing with religion and science.

A Dialogue between Three Religions (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) and Science

The Next Horizon: Re-examining Deep Values in Religion & Science.

Unlimited Love: Self-Transcendence and Personal- Social Transformation
Co-sponsored by the Summit Alliance for Global Health

In addition to these conferences that deal specifically with areas of spirituality and science, the Center has run the following international conferences

Pari Roundtable on Publishing

 Con le Mani non Armate: Una mostra e una giornata sulla storia delle donne

 The Future of Knowledge in the World of the Internet

Pari Roundtable on Corporate Ethics, Globalization and Economic Instabilities

Chaos Theory and the Arts in the Context of Social, Economic and Organizational Development

The Future of the Academy

4. Publications in Religion and Science

David Peat Eine Begegnung mit Ausserirdischen in Leben im All, ed Tobias Wabbel, Patmos, Dusseldorf, 2005

David Peat The Dialogue between Science and Religion, (to appear in an Indian journal of religion and science).

Arnold Smith, Concepts, Boundaries, and Ways of Knowing,

Leonardo Electronic Almanac Volume 13, Number 9, September 2005

David Peat From Certainty to Uncertainty: Thought, Theory and Action in a modern world, Futures Journal, to appear

David Peat World Religion and World Politics, Ethical Perspectives, to appear

David Peat Schopfer und Schopfund, (Creator and Creation) Im Anfang war ein Gott, Ed Tobias Wabbel, Patmos, Dusseldorf, 2004

David Peat Parallel Lines: Pasteur and Faraday, Metanexus Electronic Journal and Pari Center electronic library

David Peat, The Alchemy of Love, Metanexus 2004 conference electronic proceedings

David Peat, Divine Contenders, Wolfgang Pauli and the Symmetry of the World, Pari Center website

David Peat, A Global Academy? Pari Center web site, and Metanexus annual conference 2005

Edy Altes, Spiritual Renewal and the move towards Peace, Pari Center electronic library

Roy McWeeny, Three Religions and Science—a Position Paper for the Pari meeting, Pari Center electronic library

Fr MichaelDavid Semeraro Avremo ancore Pane? Pari Center electronic library

Andrea Pasquino Elemento di Psicologia e Logica Buddista Pari Center electronic library

Fr MichaelDavid Semeraro  In Principio era il Dia-Logo Pari Center electronic library

George V. Coyne S.J. Scienza e Fede: I Limiti e le Speranze Pari Center electronic library

Shantena Sabbadini Una rivoluzione culturale mancata (Introduzione a David Bohm, Universo, Mente, Materia Pari Center electronic library

Shantena Sabbadini Tao: I Racconti della via Pari Center electronic library

David Peat De Fisica dei Piedi Neri e menti europee Pari Center electronic library

David Peat Nature and Ethics Pari Center electronic library

Jan Updike Modern Philanthropy Pari Center electronic library

Gianni Tibaldi, Ethics and Economics, Pari Center electronic library

Virginia Del Re Una dura parabola sulla Guerra: Agota Kristof e La trilogia della città di K. Pari Center electronic library

Virginia del Re Preparare la Pace: Le Donne in Nero Pari Center electronic library

Shantena Sabbadini Circumnavigando Dio Pari Center electronic library

5. Outreach and Other Activities

San Tommaso d’ Aquino

The Center is in discussion with San Tommaso d’Aquino University, Naples on the development of a Masters’ program in Science and Religion.

Art, Science and Spirituality

Arnold Smith went, as a representative of the Pari Dialogues, to a conference on Art, Science and Spirituality held in Melilia. The conference was sponsored by the El Andalus Society and Leonardo magazine.

European Forum on Spirituality in Economic and Social Life (SPES)

Because of our contact with Edy Altes (former Dutch ambassador to Spain) and Luk Bouckaert of the University of Leuven, the Pari Center/Dialogues became a founding organization of SPES, attending their inaugural meeting in 2004 and their follow-up meeting in 2005 to decide on future directions.


The Pari Center is a founder member of ETHOS, a group concerned with the future of governance and civil society and sent representatives to the inaugural meeting in Cork, Ireland

Renaissance Europe

David Peat attended the inaugural meeting of Renaissance Europe in Brussels as the Center/Dialogues representative. Renaissance Europe are concerned with the economic, ethical and spiritual dimensions of an enlarged Europe

Bodhisattva Productions

This film company from the UK visited 2003 to carry out a series of interviews exploring the connections between Buddhist teachings and modern physics. The video they made is now commercially available.

Stjolen Tod

This Dutch based television and film company visited in 2004 to carry out interviews and discuss a projected television program on the connections between Buddhism and modern physics. They are not in the financing stage of the project.


David Levitt of this US documentary film unit carried out interviews during the conference ‘The Next Horizon: Re-examining Deep Values in Religion and Science’


Following the disruptions brought about by the monastic community of Siloe moving to a new location, we have resumed talks about the possibility of exploring a mutual area of study and research.

Vatican Observatory

The Pari Group also made a visit to the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo to meet staff of the Vatican Observatory and hold discussions. An afternoon of discussions was held with the director, George Coyne SJ, who expressed an interested in a collaborative program involving Pari.

California Institute of Integral Studies

July saw a visit from Joseph Subbiondo who is President of the California Institute of Integral Studies. In discussions at Pari, Subbiondo proposed forging a link between the Pari Center and CIIS and his colleague, Alfonso Montuori, to establish a formal association.

The Graduate Institute

Allan Combs visited the Center, in part to speak on Conscious Evolution and in part to explore the facilities. His colleague, A.H. Stone, president of the Graduate Institute of Connecticut has now proposed that part of their Masters’ program should be carried out in Pari.



The LSI group began with a basic membership of thirty persons who became regular participators in all our talks. These were supplemented by visitors coming from

  1. Other villages
  2. The towns of Florence, Pisa, Siena and Grosseto
  3. Academics and others who happened to be visiting the Center
  4. Visitors from universities such as Rome, Siena, Florence and Pisa
  5. Members of Casa della Donna—a women’s organization
  6. Monks from the community of Siloe

Several of these visitors tend to return for subsequent talks.

No charge is made for membership and no entrance fee is charged for attendance at the talks.


November 2002-April 2003

Initial membership November 30

Additional members 34

May 2003 – October 2003

Additional member 199

November 2003 – April 2004

Additional members 145

May 2004 – October 2004

Additional Members 121

November 2004- April 2005

Additional Members 135

May 2005 – September 2005

Additional Members 120

September 2005- January 2006

Additional Members 50

(Palazzo closed for part of this period for repairs)

Fund Raising

  • Public Funding
    The LSI group has free use of a Palazzo located at the top of the village. Electricity and heating costs are covered by the local government and 50% cost of telephone and Internet are paid by the village association.

The design and maintenance of the website is also donated as is a contribution towards printing flyers and brochures

We have also applied to the Province of Grosseto for funding of a series of Study Circles. We have recently learned that we were successful for five circles at 2,000 Euros per circle. Payment is provisional on the Provincia obtaining additional funding from Regione di Toscana.

Partial funding for our conferences has come from Monte dei Paschi bank who have also donated to our talks. Additional funding has come from Centromarca.

  • Private Funding

It is our philosophy not to make an active appeal for funding. Rather we believe that if we are doing the right thing then a reward will come. We have been lucky to have had a number of donations from private individuals, these are listed below. Note that in some cases the donors did not wish to have their names made public and are identified below by profession and location.


€ 913 Banker in Siena

£ 1,000 Brenda Fiala, London

£ 1,000 Neil Moroni, Cambridge, UK

€ 1,000 Roy McWeeny, University of Pisa


€ 2,000 Businessman in Italy

€1,000 Lawyer living in Switzerland

$200 C & E Edelsack, Washington DC

€100 Peter Herring, Germany

€1000 Janet Roberts, Australia


$ 500 Jim Kemp, lawyer, USA

€ 600 Virginia del Re, University of Pisa

$ 1,000 Member of the medical profession dealing with death and dying, USA

$ 1,000 Mary Flanagan, New Jersey, USA

$1,000 A visitor to the Pari Center, USA

€ 200 Philip Franses, France


$1,000 Member of the medical profession dealing with death and dying,

Plus a number of small donations ranging from 50-100 Euros

In addition to cash donations we have also had donations of a number of paintings, including a series of contemporary icons, plus approximately 100 books donated to our library.

  1. Courses

The Center gains much of its income via fees for courses. This can be used to supplement the talks series and other activities.

  1. Non-Profit in the USA

Recently a group of friends in the USA have formed a 501c3 ‘Friends of Pari’ with the purpose of fund raising in the USA. This has only now begun operating and must still satisfy all conditions set by the IRS


Public Talks and other Activities are advertised via:

  1. Flyers placed in shops and community centers
  2. Selected emailings
  3. Short news items, about the topic or speaker, in the following newspapers Il Tirreno, Corriere della Maremma and Siena Dove 

Web site

Total visits per month 5,500

Total pages visited per month 17,000

Total kBytes per month 2,191,443

Electronic Newsletter

Four times per year to a mailing list of 700