Bela Shah, J.D. is the Interim Program Manager and Contemplative Leadership Coach for the Contemplative Sciences Center (CSC). In this transitional role she is managing the continued success of a year-long international Fellow's program focused on young social innovators who are immersed in contemplative and ethical leadership training. As a Contemplative Leadership Coach, Bela also mentors 26 international Fellows as they work to advance social change in their local communities.
Before joining CSC, Bela served as the Director of Fellows for Dalai Lama Fellows, where she successfully led their recruitment and selection program, produced and co-designed week-long gatherings for international Fellows, and mentored Fellows in mindful social change.
Bela is a first generation South Asian American raised in two cultures, which has inspired her interests and work in international exchange, education, and leadership programs through organizations such as Amigos de las Americas and the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Along the way Bela also studied law with a focus on humanitarian immigration law and represented individuals seeking protection from persecution and other forms of violence. In addition to her work experiences, Bela has also brought her passion for designing thoughtful learning experiences to organizations such as BloomBars, the Pollination Project, and Commonweal.
Vipassana meditation training under S.N. Goenka, serving with the Gandhi Ashram in India, and volunteering with ServiceSpace.org has deeply influenced Bela's perspective on impacting change. Simply put, we cannot change the world without first changing ourselves.
Bela graduated with Honors in Political Science from the University of Chicago and also earned her Juris Doctorate in Law from the University of Houston Law Center and the American University Washington College of Law.