Jonathan Leighton grew up in Montreal, Canada. After studying at Harvard University he moved to Switzerland, where he obtained a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Basel. Initially interested in improving wellbeing through biomedical research, he became increasingly attracted to the bigger question of how to create a gentler, more compassionate society. After several years in the fragrance industry in research and marketing, and then a stint at a Geneva-based communications agency working for the Gates Foundation and other clients in global health and biotech, he decided to embark on an independent path. His book The Battle for Compassion (2011) is a philosophical exploration of existence that methodically addresses the question “What matters?” He also produced a short film with the same name to communicate some of the book’s core ideas. Jonathan is the Executive Director of the Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS), a Swiss think-and-do tank he founded in 2016, dedicated to making the prevention of suffering of sentient beings our highest ethical priority. Jonathan writes articles and gives public talks, and he is currently working on a new book that develops a more holistic ethical framework for society.
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