The newest episode of our university podcast, ‘MindfulU at Naropa University,’ is out now! This week’s episode features Naropa professor Anne Parker, PhD.
“When people hear the words ‘gross national happiness,’ they tend to envision a sort of idealization of what’s really going on in Bhutan, the country that originated the concept. I watch our students while we’re in Bhutan sometimes idealize things, and then hit a sort of crash as they see the reality, and then come out with a really deep sense of excitement and amazement about what’s actually happening. We’d like to take that idealization off its pedestal altogether.”
Anne Parker, PhD, is passionate about serving life and renewing our connection to and deep reverence for the Earth in her teaching and life work. She is a Professor of Environmental Studies, a full-time Naropa University faculty member who has taught in both the BA in Environmental Studies and MA in Resilient Leadership since 1996.
She grew up in the Bay Area of California, in love with her costal habitat and with the Sierra Nevada where she walked, skied and communed with the mountains with her family from a very early age. She lived in Switzerland during her middle school years and returned to California where, during her BA studies in Conservation of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley, she joined in the forefront of the emerging environmental movement. Focusing on National Park management and soil science, she worked within a self-directed team of students who researched, designed and created Yosemite National Park’s first wilderness permit system to protect this precious land.
Her path led her to study Tibetan History and Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University under the Dalai Lama’s older brother Takser Rinpoche, carrying out fieldwork in India interviewing refugees about land use and traditional agriculture in Tibet prior to the period of the Chinese invasion. Continuing in her studies to a PhD at the University of Oregon, she focused on research in eastern Nepal on traditional agriculture in a community comprised of seven ethnic groups and their Hindu, Buddhist, and Shamanic traditions regarding perceptions of the land and life.
Following this, she became the Program Director of Interface in Boston organizing cutting-edge programs in meditation, alternative therapies and spiritual modalities before coming to teach at Naropa University. Since arriving at Naropa in 1996, she has devoted herself to innovative and creative curriculum design in environmental studies and environmental leadership, joining perspectives in sustainability, social/environmental justice and contemplative practice. She has also engaged over the last 12 years in extensive practice and study in her European earth-based spiritual heritage, as well as study, publication, and consultation in sacred geometry design. She is currently doing research on sacred sites in Europe, Israel, and the Himalayan region. She is a key co-designer of Naropa’s Bhutan study abroad program at the Royal University of Bhutan. She led the very first student group there in 2015 and is researching and developing curricula on contemplative intercultural studies. She loves teaching and adores her students.