Letter from the Chair

Candace Walworth, Chair of the Peace Studies Program at Naropa UniversityWelcome to the site of the Naropa University's Peace Studies program. Naropa University is a unique place and the Peace Studies program is no exception. Our program offers a unique and broad whole person approach that will enhance your ability to cultivate compassion and develop the knowledge and skills to engage complex, real-world issues.

Our classes are small and interactive (typically well below 20 students), letting us make your education a two-way street, rich with innovative assignments that engage you in contemplative inquiry, community-based learning and action, critical analysis, and artistic process.

Courses in the Peace Studies curriculum emphasize joining theory and practice. For example, students gain practical skills through mediation and restorative justice training, learn to "spot issues" and understand contemporary legal issues and trends, develop business model canvases for social enterprises, participate in a 90-hour internship, and create TED-style talks and digital stories as part of their course-work for "International Affairs" and "Conflict Transformation: Theory & Practice."

Our 36-credit major includes unique offerings, such as a seminar in Law, Human Rights and Social Change taught by Naropa's former President, John W. Cobb, J.D. Students in this course investigate and learn the essential elements of being a lawyer, such as reading and "briefing" Supreme Court decisions and applying those decisions to topical issues. They also practice the discipline of "relentless curiosity" and thereby cultivate critical problem-solving skills important not only to the preparation for law school but to dispute resolution in any field of endeavor.

The major culminates with your capstone thesis presentation delivered at the end of the year to an audience that includes Naropa faculty, students, staff, and community members. In your senior year, you will also complete a pre-professional capstone ePortfolio that includes an updated resume, final summative essay, and your capstone project.

Unlike many larger institutions, we provide an atmosphere of open doors, easy access, and approachability a well as a rich culture with dozens of community events, speakers and performances. Naropa's annual Bayard and John Cobb Peace lecture brings visionaries in the field of Peace Studies to the Naropa and Boulder community annually.

Cobb Peace lecturers also meet in small, intimate forums with Naropa students, giving Peace Studies students the opportunity to engage in conversation with renowned scholars, activists, and artists such as Sister Helen Prejean (CSJ), Dr. John Paul Lederach, Susan Griffin, Claude AnShin Thomas, and Dr. Ha Vinh Tho.

Titles of Cobb Peace Lectures

  • "From War Zones to the Happiness Country" by Dr. Ha Vinh Tho
  • "The Real Cost of War, Violence, and Denial" by Claude AnShin Thomas
  • "The Moral Imagination: The Art & Soul of Peacebuilding" by Dr. John Paul Lederach
  • "The Inner Life of Democracy" by Susan Griffin
  • "Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues" by Sister Helen Prejean


The Peace Studies program offers two scholarships—the John Cobb Peace Studies scholarship and the Mountain Forum for Peace scholarship, which are awarded annually on the basis of exceptional promise in the field of Peace Studies and demonstrated financial need.

Other unique opportunities emerge from Naropa's location in the heart of Boulder, Colorado. Recognized as a hub for social and environmental innovation, a vibrant arts scene and a lively local foods movement, Boulder is also home to internationally recognized peacebuilders and engaged citizens dedicated to working locally to build a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. In addition, Boulder is blessed with hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails and some of the best rock climbing in the States, easy access to skiing and snowboarding, and 300-plus days of sunshine a year.

In short, we have much to offer and know that you do, too.

Your presence at Naropa will change us and we are confident that our holistic approach to peace and conflict studies will inspire, challenge, and support your growth and development.

Candace Walworth, PhD, Peace Studies Program Chair