Director, Fellows Program
Christian Simamora was born and raised in pre-hipster Brooklyn. His Puerto Rican mom and Indonesian dad met at Coney Island while waiting to ride the Cyclone. Their love resulted in two IndoRicans, Chris, and his sister Erica. Growing up in this household, and in a diverse section of BK, questions of identity and early efforts at bridge-building across people and cultures emerged.
Chris attended NYU, during a golden age of Hip Hop. Aquemini and When Things Fall Apart joined Illmatic, Liquid Swords, and Return of the Boom Bap in weekly rotation. There, against a backdrop of Abner Louima, Anthony Baez, and Amadou Diallo, Chris developed a growing awareness of identity, privilege, and access to power.
Post-NYU was a patchwork of seemingly disparate experiences: teaching 5th grade in the South Bronx, working at Teach For America, learning about international development at CARE, deciding to forego law school (phew!), joining a social enterprise startup that crashed soon after, and ending up in the tech sector working biz dev without any previous tech or biz dev experience.
Over the last 4.5 years, Chris was a founding team member of Dalai Lama Fellows, which seeks to teach leadership designed around mindfulness, compassion, and ethics to young people from all cultures and backgrounds. The vision is a world that works for all, a world with no throw-away lives and where people are equipped with tools to work across lines of difference.
Looking back, and being at CODE2040, the disparate experiences all connect for Chris.
Chris now lives in Oakland, with his amazing wife, Jamie, soon-to-be-born child, and their handsome cat Kumi. He strives to maintain a meditation practice and a Brazilian Jiujitsu practice.