“I never wanted to live in the US, especially not in a small town like Boulder. Being mixed-race from Denmark and Comoros, I was drawn to dynamic and diverse spaces. And then, Naropa found me. A small liberal university that made space for emotional process in a contemplative setting — who would have known an institution like this existed?
Today, I am a somatic therapist serving predominantly marginalized populations, including immigrants, people of color, bilingual, and trans clients. In addition, I am also Adjunct Faculty at Naropa, as well as an anti-oppression facilitator. I love having the ability to hold multiple hats, and in all my work, I integrate a strong passion to challenge power, privilege, and oppression.
At Naropa, I learned the wisdom of staying with discomfort, as well as many practices to support me in my ability to do this – not only with myself but also with others. This growth happened for me in connections with my fellow peers, teachers, and community members.
Everyone at Naropa has a unique story about their journey in arriving at this contemplative space. As an international student, it is particularly frightening to take the leap on multiple levels, including financially, culturally, emotionally, and in terms of language.
These challenges pushed me to look into my edges and expand my community. I see this growth as a contemplative practice.
For example, as a visa holder, I was not able to legally work outside of Naropa. I, therefore, took every possible opportunity, and worked in every department, from Admissions, the Student Counseling Center, and International Student Services. And now I am privileged to be able to teach at Naropa and continue expanding my contemplative skills.
Not only has Naropa given me a professional career that I could not have dreamed of, but Naropa has also introduced me to my spouse, who today is also a fellow contemplative social justice therapist. If it weren’t for the scholarships, graduate assistantship, and work-study positions I received, as well as the unconditional support from the previous Vice President of Student Affairs, Cheryl Barbour, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
For all of this, I am forever grateful to Naropa.“
– Nora Ahmed-Kamal, Naropa Alumnx
It is not an exaggeration to say that Naropa’s strength, growth, and commitment to mindfulness, compassion, sustainability, and justice is—and always has been—reliant on broad support from private donations. Naropa’s various student scholarship funds such as the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship and the Naropa Student Scholarship Fund, continue to open the doors to a life-changing Naropa education.