Naropa University inaugurated its Varela Lecture Series with the lecture "Mindfulness & Neuroscience: Befriending the Mind" by renowned University of Miami brain researcher Amishi Jha, PhD. Her work explores findings from cutting-edge neuroscience on the profound and positive effects of mindfulness practices on the brain, psychological health, wellness, and resilience. These practices are finding broad application in corporate, medical, educational, and military settings.
Naropa University Peace Studies program presented the 2012 Bayard and John Cobb Peace Lecture series with Susan Griffin, author, poet, filmmaker, and winner of a MacArthur Grant, on March 21, 2012. Named by Utne Reader as One of the Top Hundred Visionaries for the New Millennium, Susan Griffin presented a talk entitled "Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy."
The 2011–12 Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellow at Naropa University, Alice Notley is the author of more than twenty-five books of poetry and prose. Once associated with the second generation of the New York School, Notley has become a poet with a completely distinctive voice. Her latest books are Songs and Stories of the Ghouls (Wesleyan, 2011); Culture of One (Penguin, 2011); In the Pines (Penguin, 2007); Alma, or The Dead Women (Granary, 2006); and Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems, 1970–2005 (Wesleyan, 2006), winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets.
The Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellowship is made possible by the generous support of the COMMITTEE ON POETRY, founded by the late Allen Ginsberg.
Poet, scholar, cultural critic, and Professor Emeritus of the University of California at Davis, Gary Snyder was Naropa University's 2011 Frederick P. Lenz Distinguished Lecturer in American Buddhism. Co-sponsored by Naropa's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Mr. Snyder presented a lecture on the topic of Buddhism, American Culture, and Values, as well a reading and book signing in November 2011.
Google's Chade-Meng Tan presented "Mindfulness at Work: Google Did It. You Can Too." Chade-Meng Tan, Google's "Jolly Good Fellow," who spearheaded that company's "Search Inside Yourself" initiative—one of the best known programs in the high-tech world for promoting wisdom practices in the workplace, spoke at Naropa University on September 8, 2011.
In February 2011, Naropa University hosted a two-day series of lectures, dialogues, and workshops titled Emerging Paradigms For Leadership: What's Needed Now?. Among the speakers was Peter Senge, PhD, prominent author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Since its publication, more than one million copies have been sold and in 1997, Harvard Business Review identified it as one of the seminal management books of the past seventy-five years.