Naropa University Announces Dr. Jasmine Syedullah as 2021 Lenz Foundation Distinguished Guest Lecturer

Syedullah to Give Free Online Lecture on ‘Surviving White Supremacy’

Boulder, CO (January 22, 2021)

— Naropa University is happy to announce Jasmine Syedullah, PhD, as the 2021 Fredrick P. Lenz Foundation Distinguished Guest Lecturer. Syedullah is a black feminist political theorist of abolition and holds the first Assistant Professor line in Vassar College’s Africana Studies Program.

Syedullah will offer a free, public lecture on February 4th at 6 pm (MST), on “Surviving White Supremacy: Towards a Radical Dharma of Staying Fugitive” that will be broadcast live on Naropa’s Facebook page and YouTube Channel. Syedullah’s lecture will take us beyond binary moments of allegiance with antiracism efforts into The Radical Dharma Framework for Liberation. Her talk will outline “a collective, cumulative step-by-step contemplative alternative to all the ways we might ‘defund the police’ in our minds, our communities, and even our dreams of freedom.”

Before joining the faculty at Vassar, Syedullah taught at the University of San Francisco and the University of California Santa Cruz where she completed her PhD in Politics with a designated emphasis in Feminist Studies and History of Consciousness. Her current research centers on the fugitive writings of formerly enslaved mother Harriet Jacobs and her abolitionist vision of freedom. Out in the world, Syedullah is a core member of the Radical Dharma Movement Project bringing embodied practices of liberation to spaces of social justice, community organizing, and institutional change.

Syedullah explains, “To live with fearlessness and grace (as Rev. angel Kyodo williams instructs) in the face of our greatest teachers—trauma, uncertainty, and change—we need well-worn practices to bring us closer into integrity with our whole truth, uniting everyday priorities with our highest ideals in real-time, in community with each other, and in honor of our living ancestor, mother earth. Especially in times of collective emergency, how we protect and serve Black futures matters—not just for us, but for all our future generations.”

This lecture is part of an annual series hosted by The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism and Naropa University. The Lenz Foundation promotes the benefits of Zen Buddhism, meditation, yoga, and related Buddhist practices in a manner complementary to modern American society.

Regina Smith, Vice President of Mission, Culture, & Inclusive Community, said, “Having Dr. Syedullah as our guest could not be more timely or more needed, especially for our more marginalized community members. Many of us are experiencing deep spiritual fatigue as we are asked to rise, again and again, to the occasion of ‘surviving white supremacy’ on a local, national, and global level. Often times we forget we have the tools we need and that nourishment is available in our communities, in our homes, and in our very own hearts. We need each other and leaders like Dr. Syedullah to remind us.”


About Naropa University ( Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. As the “birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement,” Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, an approach to learning and teaching that integrates Eastern wisdom studies with traditional Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

About The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation ( The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism promotes the benefits of Zen Buddhism, meditation, yoga, and related Buddhist practices in a manner complementary to modern American society. Past Lenz Foundation Distinguished Lecturers at Naropa University have included Sharon Salzberg, Meredith Monk, Gary Snyder, and Joanna Macy, among others.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.