Life Worth Living Guests

Our guests are an essential part of the classroom experience in the Life Worth Living course. Each year, we invite practitioners of various traditions to share with our students their thoughts and experiences of the life worth living that are rooted in their practice. We also produce a video interview with each guest that participates. Click on the guests listed below to view these interviews, and to find out more about each.

Buddhism
Judson Brewer University of Massachusetts Medical School

Judson Brewer is the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Department of Psychology at Yale University School of Medicine, and Research Affiliate at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT. A psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Dr. Brewer has developed and tested novel mindfulness programs for addictions, including both in-person and app-based treatments. He has also studied the underlying neural mechanisms of mindfulness using standard and real-time fMRI, and is currently translating these findings into clinical use.

Rev. Kanji Ruhl Yale Buddhist Sangha

Rev. Steve Kanji Angyo Ruhl is an ordained Zen Buddhist minister. A 2008 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, with an M.Div. in Buddhist Ministry, and a 2005 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, with a B.A. in Religious Studies, Kanji has been engaged in Zen Buddhist practice for two decades. In addition to his work with the Yale Buddhist Sangha, Kanji teaches Buddhist practice at Deerfield Academy, and at the The Rowe Center in Rowe, MA. Kanji is a contributor to the book The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work, and is a published poet.

Christianity
Mark Colville

Mark Colville founded the Amistad Catholic Worker house in New Haven, together with his wife Luz, in 1994. Together, they have committed to a life of service and fellowship among their neighbors in the tradition of Dorothy Day. Mark has been a frequent advocate on behalf of the poor and has also demonstrated for peace in protest of United States government actions. 

Luz Colville

Luz Colville founded the Amistad Catholic Worker house in New Haven, together with her husband Mark, in 1994. Together, they have committed to living a life of service and fellowship among their neighbors in the tradition of Dorothy Day. Luz has advocated for policy change on behalf of the poor at the state and local levels.

Alysia Harris Yale University

Alysia Harris is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, has an MFA from NYU, and is a Linguistics PhD student at Yale University. Harris is a two-time national spoken word champion, being a member of the winning BNV 2007 and CUPSI 2007 teams, and was featured in the HBO Documentary Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices.

Islam
HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought

H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad is the Personal Envoy and Special Advisor to H.M. King Abdullah II and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. A leader in interfaith relations, he chaired steering committees for the Anman Message and has spoken about interfaith issues at premier institutions.

Hamza Yusuf Zaytuna College

Often called “the most influential Islamic scholar in the western world,” Hamza Yusuf is the president of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, California. He advises Stanford University’s Program in Islamic Studies and the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. He also serves as vice-president for the Global Center for Guidance and Renewal, which was founded by Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, one of the top jurists of Islamic sciences in the world. Hamza Yusuf’s published books include The Burda, Purification of the Heart, The Content of Character, The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi, Agenda to Change our Condition, Walk on Water, and The Prayer of the Oppressed.

Judaism
Jonathan Sacks New York University, Yeshiva University, and King's College London

Jonathan Sacks is the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at NYU, the Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University, and Professor of Law, Ethics, and the Bible at King’s College London. Previously, he served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. 

Utilitarianism
Jeff Kaufman Boston Effective Altruism Group

Jeff Kaufman is a software engineer who, along with his wife Julia, has made the decision to give half their collective income away to alleviate suffering around the world. Over the last seven years, Jeff and Julia together have consistently given a great deal of money to support charities that most reduce worldwide suffering, including those that fight childhood malaria. Jeff is an advocate for effective altruism, the notion that those with wealth should give with an eye towards making the greatest impact in the world. Jeff works at Google and is a graduate of Swarthmore College.

Jason Trigg

Jason Trigg holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from MIT and currently works as a data scientist in Silicon Valley. He is best known for his decision to pursue a career in quantitative finance, so that he can use his earnings to help save lives. Trigg has been featured in articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times for his philanthropy, and donates a considerable portion of his money to the Against Malaria Foundation.

Julia Wise Boston Effective Altruism Group

Julia Wise is a social worker who, along with her husband Jeff, to give away half their collective income to alleviate suffering around the world. income. Over the last seven years, Julia and Jeff together have consistently given a great deal of money to support charities that most reduce worldwide suffering, including those that fight childhood malaria. Julia is an advocate for effective altruism, the notion that those with wealth should give with an eye towards making the greatest impact in the world. Julia holds a Bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College, and a Master’s in Social Work from Salem State College.