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
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.

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. 

Islam
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.

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.

Julia Wise Boston Effective Altruism Group

Julia Wise is a social worker who, along with her husband Jeff, has made the decision to give away half their collective income to alleviate suffering around the world. 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.