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Kira Board


Pema PeraPiet HutPiet Hut is Kira Board President. He is currently Professor of Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, NJ, where he has been on the faculty since 1985. He is also Head of the Program for Interdisciplinary Studies, a new program at IAS that he founded in 2002 (see for the program and  for his web site). He is a native of the Netherlands, where he obtained his Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam in 1981, before immigrating to the United States.  His research in Astrophysics has led to the development of novel algorithms, some of which are now used for simulations in widely different fields, from collisions between galaxies to the folding of proteins.  He has also made contributions to our understanding of mass extinctions, working with geologists and paleontologists.  He has been a founding member for a number of different interdisciplinary initiatives, including the B612 foundation, the GRAPE project, and MODEST and MUSE.  In Second Life he is known as Pema Pera.

Stim MoraneSteven TainerSteven Tainer is the Kira Board Secretary. Originally trained in academia as a philosopher of science, he then became one of the first students of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice in the West, earning an advanced degree from his original Tibetan teacher. He has studied Eastern contemplative traditions intensively for thirty-nine years with many Tibetan, Chinese and Korean masters, and has also served on the faculty of the Institute for World Religions and the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery since the mid-1990’s. Working on behalf of his teachers, Steven has written or edited many books on Buddhism and Taoism (including Dragon's Play, and Time, Space, Knowledge), and is the Editor of WoK ( In Second Life he’s known as Stim Morane.

Donald Beetham is the Kira Board Treasurer. He manages the half million images of the Visual Resources Collection of the Department of Art History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Donald was trained as an architectural historian and librarian; he has far ranging art historical interests honed by 30 years of working with images. In Second Life he is known as Adams Dubrovna.

Maxine WaldenMaxine AndersonMaxine Anderson, MD, is a Kira Board member. She is an adult and child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and a Clinical Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. Born in San Francisco, she earned a BA degree from Stanford University (1963), and an MD degree from University of California San Francisco (1967), before pursuing post-graduate medical training at McGill (Montreal), University of Cincinnati, University of California San Francisco, and University of Washington, Seattle.  She trained in psychoanalysis, which studies the unconscious regions of the mind, in Seattle (1971-78) and London, England (1984-92). Currently she is a Training and Supervising Analyst in several training facilities in North America as well as being active in several local, national and international psychoanalytic organizations. In addition she writes and speaks on many psychoanalytic subjects, including her current interests in the wisdom of the dream and how our narcissistic pre-occupations encumber our wider learning. At home in Seattle she maintains an active practice, as well as speaking and teaching schedule. In Second Life she is known as Maxine Walden.

Genesis ZhangsunSaki BaileySaki Bailey is a Kira Board Member. In the past she has served as Kira Treasurer and webmaster. She currently holds the post of Student Dean at the The International University College of Turin, Italy. She holds a J.D. from UC Hastings emphasizing in Comparative Law. She spent her last semester in Chile at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción where she studied Latin American legal systems and International Trade Policy. While at Hastings, she also assisted in a study on "Access to Justice" on behalf of the Academie Internationale Droit Comparé, Paris. Her work experience includes Property and Family Law in the private sector and Immigration Law and Third World Development in the government and nonprofit sectors. Before embarking on her legal career she worked as General Manager for KCSB, a nonprofit community radio station in Santa Barbara, California. In Second Life she is known as Genesis Zhangsun.

Davina ChanDavina Chan is a Kira Board Member.  She did her graduate work in Psychology and English Literature at Berkeley, Harvard, and Stanford and holds a doctorate in Psychology from UC Berkeley.  Trained in cognitive neuroscience and clinical psychology, she is currently a professor at the University of San Francisco.  In addition, she teaches at the California School of Professional Psychology and serves as a field placement liaison to hospitals in San Francisco.  Her areas of special interest are dreams, meditation, English romanticism, and Western esoteric literature.  In Second Life, she is known as Davina Bazylinska.

Storm NordwindStormerne HuntStormerne Hunt is a Kira Board member, Virtual Worlds Coordinator and webmaster. In the past he has served as Kira Treasurer. Originally trained as a Computer Scientist and later in Life Long Learning, he has worked as both an engineer and an educator in commercial environments for over 30 years, in many diverse industries including communications and flight simulation. Outside the technical realm, Storm also has extensive research and educational experience in the reconstruction of historical polytheist religious cultures, and has broadcast regularly on public radio. Originally from the UK, he emigrated to the United States in 2009. In Second Life he is known as Storm Nordwind. As Virtual Worlds Coordinator, Storm has managed Kira's Second Life presence, creating and maintaining spaces for Kira's short-term and long-term projects and initiatives. 

Eiko IkegamiEiko Ikegami is a Kira Board Member.  She is currently Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at the New School for Social Research in New York.  Her research focuses on the question of how non-European societies construct their own versions of modernity without following the route taken by the West.  Born and raised in Japan, she came to the US on a Fulbright Fellowship, and received a Ph.D in Sociology at Harvard in 1989. Ikegami also holds fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, the Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library, and the University of Kyoto.  She was also an Associate Professor at Yale. She is the author of Taming of the Samurai (Harvard University Press), and her recent book, Bonds of Civility (Cambridge University Press) received five book awards in various fields such as: the John W. Hall Book Award from the Association for Asian Studies, the Best Book Award in Cultural Sociology, and the Distinguished Contribution Book Award in Political Sociology from the American Sociological Association. In Second Life, she is known as Kiremimi Tigerpaw.

Robert MagrissoRobert Magrisso is a Kira Board Member.  He is a general internist physician in private practice and a faculty member of the University of Chicago, involved in the teaching program.  He has practiced palliative care and hospice medicine.  An artist, he has also presented locally and nationally on the effects of his near death experience on creativity.  He has been a member of Cafh Order (, a spiritual path for over 30 years, and one of the founders of Cafh in Chicago.  In Second Life, he is known as Vector Marksman.

Zenon SidewaysZenon PylyshynZenon Pylyshyn is a Kira Board Member.  He received a B.Eng. in Engineering-Physics from McGill University, an M.Sc. in Control Systems from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan.  In 1994 Pylyshyn joined the faculty of Rutgers University as Board of Governors Professor of Cognitive Science and Director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science.  He is author of Seeing and Visualizing: It's not what you think (MIT Press, 2004), winner of the Association of American Publishers Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division Annual Awards competition, and Computation and Cognition: Toward a Foundation for Cognitive Science (MIT Press, 1984).  Pylyshyn's current research deals with theoretical analysis of the nature of the human cognitive system and on the experimental side exploring his Visual Indexing Theory (sometimes called the FINST theory), dealing with how human visual attention is allocated and how humans cognize objects and space. In Second Life, he is known as Zenon Sideways.

Caledonia HeronStephanie SmithStephanie Smith is a Kira Board Member.  She received her MLIS from the University of Texas Austin and has 15 years of experience with information and education technologies in academic, commercial and government settings. She has managed university and corporate technical libraries, developed information retrieval systems and currently works at the forefront of development in the area of online instructional technology tools and virtual worlds for NASA Learning Technologies. Stephanie is interested in the interplay between science, information and natural philosophy. In Second Life, she is known as Caledonia Heron.

Eos AmaterasuMark SzpakowskiMark Szpakowski is a Kira Board Member. He studied philosophy of Being, phenomenology, and cognitive science at Boston College and Fordham University, and has spent several decades learning, practicing and teaching in Buddhist and Shambhala traditions. As a software developer, he helped create Community Memory, the world's first public electronic social space; Prograph, a pictorial programming language; and several collaboration systems. He seeks to develop systems of care driven by human intentionalities, and personal and social practices to clarify those. In Second Life he is known as Eos Amaterasu.


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