Omega Institute

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"Founded in 1977 by Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D., and Elizabeth Lesser, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies was inspired by scholar and Eastern meditation teacher, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. Together, they envisioned a dynamic "university of life" designed to foster personal growth and social change. The name "Omega" came from the teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a renowned 20th-century philosopher, who used the term "Omega Point" to describe the peak of unity and integration toward which all life is evolving.

"In 1981, Omega expanded from rented facilities in New York and Vermont to our current Rhinebeck home on the former grounds of Camp Boiberik, a popular Yiddish camp. Over the years, we have lovingly restored the campus while maintaining its simplicity as it has grown to nearly 200 acres and more than 100 buildings, including the Sanctuary, the Ram Dass Library, and the new Omega Center for Sustainable Living.

"Today, Omega is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth, welcoming more than 23,000 people to our workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck and at exceptional locations around the world." [1]

2007 Highlights

"Former Vice President Al Gore praised the Omega Center for Sustainable Living during his keynote speech at Being Fearless, our annual spring conference in New York City. The April 13-15 event drew more than 1,700 participants. Gore would later go on to receive the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to call attention to the issue of climate change. Additional keynote addresses at Being Fearless were given by Jane Goodall, Nora Ephron, Arianna Huffington, and Caroline Myss.

"Omega welcomed a full house of 2,675 people to the Beacon Theater in New York City to experience the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, one of the great spiritual masters of our time...

"Omega’s Women, Power & Peace conference, September 14-16, drew an extraordinary roster of speakers from around the world, including Nobel Peace Prize winners Betty Williams (1977 winner from Ireland), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992 winner from Guatemala), and Jody Williams (1997 winner from the United States). Additional speakers included Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Raine Eisler, and Carol Gilligan. Singer and songwriter Natalie Merchant opened the conference with a moving performance of some of her best-loved songs." [2]


Accessed May 2012: [3]

Board (2007)

Accessed May 2012: [4]

  • Rechtschaffen, M.D. - Board Chairperson, Omega Cofounder, Entrepreneur
  • Elizabeth Lesser - Omega Cofounder, Senior Advisor, Writer
  • Gail Gross (through July 2007) Writer, Family and Child Development Specialist
  • Tom Kearns - (through April 2007) Private Investor
  • Gary Krauthamer - President, Krauthamer & Associates
  • Sheryl Lamb - Organic and Sustainability Advocate
  • Walter Link - Chairperson of The Global Academy and Cochairperson of Global Leadership Network
  • David Orlinsky - Private Investor
  • Arman Simone - (through April 2007) Retired Businessman



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Omega Institute History, organizational web page, accessed May 5, 2012.
  2. Omega Institute 2007 Annual Report, organizational web page, accessed May 5, 2012.
  3. Omega Institute Board, organizational web page, accessed May 5, 2012.
  4. Omega Institute 2007 Annual Report, organizational web page, accessed May 5, 2012.