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Breaking Silos of wisdom traditions

Universal Enlightenment and Flourishing, UEF, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to human flourishing and religious literacy. Our approach is based on universal concepts, marrying ancient wisdoms with findings of modern physical and social sciences. UEF creates, curates, and distributes content related to human Flourishing and religious literacy.

Scholars from across disciplines and leaders of all faiths have battled with the fundamental questions of living a fulfilled life- that of good and evil, truth and falsehood, right and wrong, life and death, the meaning of life, and the purpose of our existence.While distilling through the vast array of these approaches, I found a beautiful simple insight that emphasizes a common universality for all humans. In our view, “To Flourish is to Love, Learn & Play”. These three are the most deep-seated of our existential longings. We can truly flourish if we approach everything we do with an LLP(Loving, learning, and playful) mindset. This framework is as simple as it is profound.

Our Vision

Our goal is to enhance Human Flourishing by integrating knowledge across the silos of time, civilizations, geographies, and the academic disciplines of social and physical sciences; and sharing actionable insights, which have been validated through science and lived experiences.

Our Mission

UEF facilitates the research and dissemination of ideas around human flourishing and religious literacy through published literature, dynamic social media content, partnerships with educators for school children, and events such as seminars and bootcamps. Our key insight is that we can truly Flourish simply by engaging in our three deepest human longings – Loving, Learning, and Playing in everything that we do.

UEF seeks to explore and demonstrate how the LLP framework is applicable at all stages of life, across all professions and vocations, across cultures, ethical traditions, and other belief systems. Most importantly, the insights from UEF’s flourishing framework are compatible with all belief systems and of high relevance for all faiths.

Over the past four years the UEF team has researched over 60 commonalities found across all religions, which we share with email subscribers in our Weekly Wisdom Bytes. You will be pleased to know these findings have been collected and organized in my first publication, Bridges across Humanity – Many Religions, Same Learnings, to be released this Summer. To the best of our knowledge, a literary work of this kind has never been done. You can read a summary of these themes here.

Two more books, one on Human Flourishing and another on Happiness, are in the works. Our team is composing a new series of articles on these and adjacent themes; focusing on the missing dimensions of happiness, and why happiness remains an elusive state for so many.

This year we continue to create and share new content, and will launch opportunities to connect with you through conferences, discussion groups, social media, and more.

We hope you are inspired by our mission, and our pursuit to unite humanity through Flourishing. We invite you to engage with us intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. There are several ways to contribute, be it pro bono or professionally, full time or part time, participation in discussion groups, as an editorial contributor, to sharing feedback.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Life Is our Journey, together. The internet enables us a historic opportunity to communicate our insights on human flourishing to a global audience. We at UEF believe our insights into flourishing will appeal to an increasing number of people disenchanted with traditional and modern religions (capitalism, consumerism, postmodernism); searching for new paradigms to finding meaning in life.

Our Team looks forward to your active participation in continuing our mission to enhance human flourishing and religious literacy.

Our Book

“Bridges Across Humanity” explores an amazing number of common themes (54 of them – yes, 54!) across the world’s religions. This book is a culmination of five years of research I undertook with the help of  Allen Simon, a Harvard Divinity School graduate.

In today’s world, which is torn apart by many divisive forces that play on our ignorance, “Bridges Across Humanity” offers a message of oneness, unity, and solidarity. There are many wonderful books on world religions that take a siloed approach in presenting each religion, focusing on the particularities of each religion. In the academy as well, religions are being taught primarily through a siloed approach. Religious practice, of course, also emphasizes particularities. With such little focus on building bridges between traditions, we should not be surprised that there is so much of an exclusivist mindset associated with religions.

“Bridges Across Humanity” is my attempt to break from the siloed approach of understanding each religious tradition as entirely separate and irreconcilable. This book takes one theme at a time and shows how it is present in all religions!!!

The book begins with a wonderfully written foreword by Francis X. Clooney SJ, Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School, and current president of the CTSA (Catholic Theological Society of America), which is the largest theological association in the world.

With religiously motivated conflicts and violence still being so prevalent in our world today, my hope is that this book will be just the first of many steps toward reconnecting humanity through the restorative meaning-making potential of religion.

Our Team

Founder & Director
Board Member
Board Member
Flourishing Child Program

Our Contributors

Editorial Contributor
Editorial Contributor

Varun Narayan



Harvard University's Human Flourishing Project

Tyler J. VanderWeele, PhD

Interdisciplinary program that “aims to study and promote human flourishing, and to develop systematic approaches to the synthesis of knowledge across disciplines.”

The Center for the Study of World Religions

Charles Stang, PhD

A research institute affiliated with Harvard Divinity School, which promote the study of religion through lecture series and other events.

Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project

Diane L. Moore, PhD

Professor Moore launched a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through HarvardX on January 8, 2018 entitled Religion, Conflict, and Peace in Contemporary Global Affairs.

Stanford University’s Stanford Civics Initiative (SCI)

Josiah Ober, PhD

A newly inaugurated program of interdisciplinary courses and faculty, run through the Political Science department at Stanford University.

Columbia University’s Center for Clinical Medical Ethics

Lydia Dugdale, MD

An organization concerned with fostering flourishing relationships between patients and medical professionals.

The Paul Hodges Trust

Jenny Carlen

Grant-giving charity breaking the cycle of poverty in Africa through women’s advocacy, education, and empowerment.

San Juan Public Library

Ms Connie Estades

Founded in 1987, the San Juan Community Library is one of the few lending libraries in Puerto Rico and has more than 30,000 books in Spanish and English in its collection.

Akhil Gupta

Founder & Director

Akhil Was inspired to conceive of the UEF mission during his two years of fellowship at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative(ALI) in 2015 and 2016. The University’s rich intellectual resources crystallized seminal insights which spurred him to start UEF.

His first publication, Bridges across Humanity – Many religions, Same Learnings, was published in April 2023. This book highlights 54 common themes across all religions. Yes 54!!!

He is working on a few more publications related to human flourishing.

Akhil is currently an Impact Leader in residence at Harvard University ’s Advance Leadership Initiative. Prior to Harvard, he served as Senior managing Director at The Blackstone Group, and as CEO -Corporate development of Reliance Industries Limited, India’s largest public company. Akhil has an MBA from Stanford University & a B.Tech from IIT. Akhil serves on the Dean’s Leadership Council at Harvard Divinity School and on the Advisory Board of Harvard’s Human Flourishing program. He served on the advisory Council of Stanford Business School from 2014 to 2021.

Anu Thareja

Board Member

Anu has a Master of Science degree in Speech Pathology from the University of Arizona, and a Master of Philosophy degree in linguistics from Delhi University. She worked in hospitals for over 10 years to rehabilitate geriatric patients with neurological impairments, and later switched careers and worked for 17 years as a software engineer.

As a board member of the UEF, Anu assists in all aspects of the organizational activities including content development and editing of all UEF publications, monitoring website user experience, overseeing LLP club activities in Africa and Puerto Rico, and exploring new opportunities to expand the global impact of the foundation’s mission to promote human flourishing.

Rajiv Thareja

Board Member

Rajiv has an MBA from the Wharton School with a concentration in finance, MS and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech, and a B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Rajiv has held senior executive and management positions at several tech companies in the US, and has over 35 years of diverse experience ranging from finance, enterprise software development, virtualization, product management, building and managing an ERP consulting services business, technical sales, and alliances.

Rajiv serves as a board member of UEF assisting in various operational activities.

Divya Rathore

Flourishing Child Program

Divya spent over a decade working in luxury goods, creating licensing deals and partnerships with celebrities and corporations. In recent years Divya has focused on aligning her personal values with her professional pursuits, supporting non-profits and leading community advocacy programs.

Divya leads UEF’s Flourishing Child Program in the US, and is passionate about inspiring and empowering people of all ages to Flourish.

Donald E Frederick

Editorial Contributor

Donald advised UEF on topics such as flourishing, religion, and technology. Donald is generally interested in concepts of flourishing, technology, and how to harness the latter to promote the former.In addition to advising UEF, Donald is an Associate of Harvard’s Human Flourishing Program and does tech consulting and builds start-ups. Donald received his PhD in psychology from the University of Chicago where he also received masters in computer science as well as divinity. His undergraduate degrees are in history and comparative religion.

Allen Simon

Editorial Contributor

Having graduated with an MTS degree in Religion and Literature from Harvard Divinity School in Spring of 2018, Allen lives in the Boston area and worked with Mr. Gupta on a book which explores common threads across the world’s major religious traditions. Allen also holds a B.A. in Religion from Rice University (2016).

Adam Rudolph


For the past four decades, composer and percussionist Adam Rudolph has performed worldwide and released over 30 recordings. Rudolph composes for his ensembles Moving Pictures, Hu Vibrational, and Go: Organic Orchestra, a 30-piece group for which he has developed an original music notation and conducting system.
Rudolph is known as one the early innovators of “World Music”. In 1978 he co-founded, with Foday Musa Suso, the Mandingo Griot Society, one of the first groups to combine African and American music and in 1988 he recorded the first fusion of American and Moroccan Gnawa music with sintir player Hassan Hakmoun.
Rudolph has received numerous grants and awards for his work. His rhythm methodology book, Pure Rhythm was published in 2006 and has been used by composers, performers, students and music institutions around the world. His newest book, Sonic Elements expands to include Rudolph’s concepts of intervals, spontaneous composition and philosophy.

Lisa Catterall


Lisa Catterall is a senior associate at the Centers for Research on Creativity and chair of the Science program at Mount Madonna School. She is a former Middle School Director, author of the California State Curriculum Frameworks and Foundations in Preschool Visual Art, and the founder of an innovative STEAM engineering program. She worked as a lecturer and trainer in Chaoyang District’s foreign experts program in Beijing, China. Lisa began her educational career as a middle school math teacher.

Lisa authored the Flourishing Child curriculum, and is collaborating with UEF on Flourishing initiatives for children and educators.

Father Francis X. Clooney

Father Francis X. Clooney, SJ is a Jesuit priest as well as the Parkman Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, where he teaches courses on  Hinduism and comparative theology. Father Clooney received his PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 1984 and has held numerous prestigious posts ever since. Before coming to Harvard, Father Clooney taught at Boston College and served as the Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He was for seven years the Director of Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions and served as the 2022-23 President of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA). He also has been the recipient of many other honors and awards, has many publications in his name, and sits on multiple editorial boards. His memoir, entitled Hindu and Catholic, Priest and Scholar: A Love Story, will be published this spring by T&T Clark/Bloomsbury. Father Clooney has contributed informally but crucially to UEF as an advisor and author, especially helping to review and support UEF’s book, Bridges Across Humanity: Different Religions, Similar Teachings.