Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Bob Woodruff Foundation Helps Fund Programs for Women Veterans at Omega

9 months 3 weeks ago

We are proud to announce that Omega has received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to support an Omega retreat for women veterans dealing with combat stress and trauma. BWF works to ensure injured veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home. Across the country, they find, fund, and shape innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families, and caregivers live and work. 

Receiving a grant from BWF is an honor that recognizes the dedication, focus, and effectiveness of Omega’s staff, volunteers, and supporters. As a grant recipient, Omega joins the Bob Woodruff Foundation grantee network, a collaboration of top-tier programs and advocates working to help our heroes on the home front. 

Learn more about the Bob Woodruff Foundation

Learn more about Omega's Veterans Initiatives

Omega Hosts #femfuture Retreat

9 months 4 weeks ago

This October, Jamia Wilson, member of Omega's board of directors, and Vanessa Valenti, Omega faculty and cofounder of #femfuture, organized the #femfuture retreat at Omega's Rhinebeck, New York campus. #femfuture is "an experiment in movement-building that develops solutions for sustainability and impact in 21st century feminism." They commonly convene feminist bloggers, online organizers, writers, educators, and activists to collaborate and explore the present reality and future potential of the current feminist movement. 

The retreat at Omega was focused on self-care, reflection, and connection for feminist activists. More than 20 women from around the country were selected to attend, encompassing mothers, poets, journalists, and teachers. 

In attendance was Catherine Okafor, who has been looking for a way to continue her activism and connect with other feminists after the grassroots organizing she did in college. She wrote about her experience saying, "This was a blessing that fell from the sky as I'm no longer a college student but now a young professional trying to navigate through 'the real world.'"

Read Catherine Okafor's full story.

Learn more about #femfuture.

Learn more about the Omega Women’s Leadership Center.

Gloria Steinem Awarded Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal

10 months 3 weeks ago

On October 13th Gloria Steinem, an Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) Advisory Council member, was one of six recipients of the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal. Recipients were celebrated for their work promoting social justice and human rights by the Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center in Hyde Park, New York, where the Roosevelts lived for many years. 

Michele Bertran, OWLC Director, attended in support as Gloria was recognized as an “extraordinary social justice activist.” Gloria joyfully shared her plan to live a long life in continuation of her work as well as upholding the Eleanor Roosevelt legacy. Since its inception, 111 individuals and organizations have been honored, “who through their service and contributions to their communities and the world exemplify Mrs. Roosevelt’s commitment to human dignity, social justice, enlightened leadership, and human rights for all.” 

Learn more about the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Ceremony

Learn more about the Omega Women's Leadership Center

New Musical, Broadway or Bust, Dedicated to Omega

10 months 3 weeks ago

Omega Arts Week faculty, Rosary O'Neill, has written a new musical, Broadway or Bust, that will debut at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College on November 13 and 14, 2013.

O'Neill developed the musical in collaboration with director Deborah Temple, and composer and concert guitarist David Temple. The husband and wife team met O'Neill when she was seeking a director to assist her in teaching Script Writing during Omega's annual Arts Week. The musical, written by Rosary O'Neill, will be directed by Deborah Temple, and features music and lyrics by David Temple. O'Neill has dedicated the musical to Omega. 

Broadway or Bust is about two lovestruck actors who audition for a musical and are confronted with questions they are afraid to answer and routines that lead them into questioning their lives. For tickets and more information please visit the box office.

Women Working for The World Invites Carla Goldstein to Speak at Upcoming Forum in Bogota, Colombia

11 months 3 days ago

Carla Goldstein, Omega’s chief external affairs officer and cofounder of the Omega Women's Leadership Center (OWLC), has been invited to join an international delegation of influential women speaking at the first Women Working for the World forum. The forum was organized by Catalina Escobar Restrepo, president of the Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation, and Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media, and a member of the OWLC advisory council.

In addition to Carla, some of the confirmed speakers include U.S. Ambassador Nancy Rubin, Princess of Greece Tatiana Blatnik, Former First Lady of Panama Vivian de Torrijos, and many more.

The forum was designed to explore gender issues such as poverty; the impact of women in the global economy; social inclusion for sustainable social development; leadership and empowerment; as well as key issues on reproductive health and the effectiveness and sustainability of interventions to communities that are at-risk and require focused and immediate attention. 

Approximately 400 opinion leaders will attend, ranging from government and corporations to NGOs and media from Colombia, Panamá, Venezuela, and the United States.

Learn more about the Women Working for the World forum.

2nd Annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award Goes to Scenic Hudson

11 months 1 week ago

Omega CEO, Robert "Skip" Backus presented the second annual Leadership in Sustainable Education Award to Scenic Hudson on October 5, 2013, during the Omega Center for Sustainable Living Conference: Where We Go From Here. The award includes a $10,000 grant and an organizational development grant for a strategic planning retreat at Omega.

The largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley, Scenic Hudson has preserved numerous sites, including Storm King Mountain, and has worked tirelessly for the protection and restoration of the Hudson River. Upon receiving the award, Ned Sullivan, executive director of Scenic Hudson, said, "We will take heart and inspiration from our partnership with Omega in our work for a sustainable Hudson Valley."

Learn more about Scenic Hudson

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Reaches Epidemic Levels Among Veterans

11 months 1 week ago

Omega Offers Alternative Treatment Options for Health-Care Professionals

RHINEBECK, NY – According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 20 percent of Iraqi War veterans, and 11 percent of those returning from the war in Afghanistan, suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental health issues among service members have reached a crisis level. The Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration have recognized the gravity of this epidemic and are now actively supporting mind-body modalities, from yoga to mindfulness practice, as a complement to traditional drug and talk therapies for veterans.

“The number of veterans suffering from PTSD is alarmingly high, and growing on a daily basis. Suicide, homelessness, drug use, and spousal abuse are just a few of the ways that PTSD affects veterans and their loved ones. For more than 20 years, Omega has provided programs to support the healing of veterans and affected family members,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer. “Our Veterans, Trauma & Treatment conference helps provide new tools for treatment so more veterans can experience healing.”

Veterans, Trauma & Treatment is an unprecedented gathering of experts in resiliency, trauma, and the treatment of trauma for veterans using complementary and alternative medicine. Health-care professionals, psychologists, social workers, caregivers, and counselors working with veterans suffering with PTSD and their families are welcome.

The Veterans, Trauma & Treatment conference begins on Friday, October 18 at 8:00 p.m., with an opening keynote by Tracy Gaudet, director of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, followed by a keynote from Dr. Peter Levine, whose international best seller, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, has been translated into twenty-two languages. Throughout the weekend, conference participants will explore the best ways to use mind-body modalities to treat veterans who suffer with trauma.

In addition to hearing keynote talks from ten expert presenters, participants can choose from a variety of workshops, including mindfulness-based stress reduction, adaptive yoga for traumatically injured service members, the Social Resilience Model for healing communities with trauma, and attachment-based family interventions. Each workshop and keynote presentation has distinct learning objectives for the participants. The conference will end with a keynote address by Col. Richard R. Petri, MD, the chief of Physical Medicine and Integrative Health Services at William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Omega welcomes anyone who seeks professional information on the mind-body modalities that the military is currently exploring. Continuing education credits are available.

For more details or to register, please visit eOmega.org or call 800.944.1001.

A limited number of media passes are available. Photography restrictions may apply. To apply for a media pass, visit eOmega.org/press.

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world. eOmega.org

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Carla Goldstein to Speak at Womensphere Global Summit

11 months 3 weeks ago

Carla Goldstein, cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and chief external affairs officer at Omega will speak at Columbia University in New York City on Monday, September 30th at the 6th annual Global Summit & Awards. The theme of this year’s event is “Creating the Future: Evolution + Revolution,” and brings together international leaders in education, business, policy, foundations and NGOs, entrepreneurship, and social innovation.  The speakers and delegates at the Summit are divided into nine councils, according to their topics of expertise. Carla Goldstein will be speaking about “The Future of Women & Girls.”

The Womensphere Foundation seeks to advance women’s leadership on a global level. During the Summit, speakers will address questions that are crucial to the progression of women as innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries, and key creators of the world’s future. Among the many ideas discussed, the Summit hopes to answer important questions about how participants can collaborate to create enlightened leadership and how global stakeholders can unite to create a world that is inclusive and sustainable, in which women play an active part.

President Bill Clinton to Deliver Keynote Address at Omega Conference

11 months 3 weeks ago

Where We Go From Here Conference Will Examine Sustainability as a Question of Values & a Challenge of Systems Design—Now Including Conference Live Stream

RHINEBECK, NY—Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy demonstrated just how real the threat of climate change is, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) is hosting Where We Go From Here: Opportunities & Solutions for an Interdependent World, a conference that addresses the imperative for examining sustainability issues from a holistic perspective based on the interconnection between human behavior, economic and social systems, and the environment. The conference will be held October 4–6, 2013, and will feature keynote speaker President Bill Clinton, 2005 MacArthur Fellow Majora Carter, environmentalist Paul Hawken, economist Jeremy Rifkin, and other major leaders in sustainability. The conference also will be available free to the public via live stream on Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6.

As the problems of climate change and dwindling resources manifest themselves more clearly and urgently, the conference will assess the shortcomings of current sustainability efforts—and create a road map for going forward that places whole-systems thinking front and center.

“With ever more frequency and intensity, we are seeing the effects of being out of balance with the earth and each other. We cannot solve this problem without considering the whole—understanding the big picture and finding our place within it,” said Robert “Skip” Backus, chief executive officer at Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL). “We are thrilled that President Clinton will deliver the keynote speech. Omega is proud to initiate the discussion about where we go from here, and to serve as a model for a whole-systems approach to sustainability.”

Founded four years ago, the OCSL includes the first green building in America to receive both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certifications, and has evolved into an emerging environmental leader, offering programs that teach the regenerative environmental practices modeled by the building. Omega Institute is integrating similar designs into other facilities on its Rhinebeck, New York campus. A recent addition to the Omega Women’s Leadership Center is the first commercial project in the United States to meet Passive House certification standards—the building uses very little energy and the space is designed to reduce heating costs by 75%.

“Recognizing our interdependence—to each other and to the planet—is key to finding solutions to our pressing environmental challenges,” said Backus.

Where We Go From Here will include keynote talks, panel discussions, stories from the field, and a tour of the award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living.

Leading economists, environmentalists, philanthropists, designers, architects, and activists round out the list of speakers, including:

  • President Bill Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, and led the U.S. to the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs. After the leading the White House, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens to turn good intentions into measurable results. clintonfoundation.org
  • Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, is an authority on economic sustainability. His books include The Third Industrial Revolution and The Empathic Civilization. foet.org
  • Janine Benyus, a biologist, consultant, and author of six books, including the classic Biomimicry, is cofounder of the Biomimicry Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs. biomimicry.net
  • Majora Carter, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 when few were talking about sustainability, and even fewer, in places like the South Bronx. Since 2008, her consulting company, Majora Carter Group, has exported climate adaptation, urban micro-agribusiness, and leadership development strategies for business, government, foundations, universities, and economically underperforming communities. majoracartergroup.com
  • Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, author, and entrepreneur who founded some of the first natural food companies in America to rely solely on sustainable agriculture. paulhawken.com
  • Bob Berkebile is an influential sustainable design architect and community planner, a founding principal of BNIM Architects, and a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Nature Conservancy, and the Center for Global Community. bnim.com
  • Robert “Skip” Backus is chief executive officer of Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL). He helped lay the foundation for Omega’s environmental and conservation initiatives, including campus recycling and composting, sustainable purchasing and support of local agriculture, water conservation, and 100% sourcing of campus electricity from wind and solar technology.
  • Carla Goldstein, JD, is Omega Institute’s chief external affairs officer and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. An attorney with 25 years of experience in public interest advocacy, she has contributed to more than 100 city, state, and federal laws, and has worked extensively on issues related to women’s rights, poverty, public health, and social justice.
  • Peter Buffett is an Emmy Award-winning musician, composer, philanthropist, and author of the New York Times best-seller Life Is What You Make It. peterbuffett.com
  • Maya Azucena is an award-winning singer, activist, and cultural ambassador. At the 2010 United Nations Summit, she was selected by the Office of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as the exclusive performer at the Every Woman, Every Child event. She is also a cofounder of the multimedia website MDGFive.com, which raises awareness for maternal health. mayaazucena.com
  • Rob Hopkins, author of The Power of Just Doing Stuff and The Transition Handbook, is cofounder of the International Transition Network, a charitable environmental organization. The Independent lists him as one of the top environmentalists in the United Kingdom. The Observer calls him “one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals.”

Speakers are subject to change.

People can join the conversation about where we go from here on Twitter @Omega_Institute (conference hashtag #OCSL2013), and on Facebook.com/Omega.OCSL.

For complete details or to register, visit eOmega.org/ocsl2013 or call 800.944.1001.

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world. eOmega.org

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Veterans Tap Into the Healing Power of Music

11 months 4 weeks ago

Music is known for its ability to soothe souls and mend broken hearts, but research is showing that it can also heal the brain after trauma. A current example of how this works is found in Musicorps, a restorative program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which rehabilitates injured veterans through music. Since music involves several integrated aspects of brain functioning, Musicorps offers wounded veterans a chance to heal mentally and emotionally.

"Music involves so much brain geography,” explained Arthur Bloom, the director of Musicorps, “it can help an uninjured part compensate for an injured part or [even help] an injured part heal.”

Watch the video

Learn more about Musicorps

Explore Omega's veterans programs

Learn about other alternative therapies for veterans

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