Latest From Spotlight News- The Ria Kinzel Story

Special Bulletin: Ria just had her dissertation accepted for her Ph.D. and will receive her doctorate from MUM on June 27th!                                                                                

Ria Kinzel is a schoolteacher at Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment. Meeting Ria, one notices a twinkle in her eye. She appears calm, balanced and happy. Little would anyone guess the interesting and quite dramatic past that led Ria to where she is today, and how these events shaped her present career in teaching.

Between 1959-65, Ria traveled extensively. One summer she spent time in Greece on an archeological dig looking for prehistoric flints. She traveled back and forth by boat from South Africa to England. This she recalls was "very romantic.”

In 1959, at age 21, Ria took her first teaching job in South Africa. She taught forty-five 7th graders in a classroom with a pot-bellied stove that smoked.  She said, "They were never all quiet at the same time for the entire year,” an observation, she discovered, that later became deeply meaningful to her.

Ria had become innocently aware of civil rights as a child. In 1962, after she gained English Honors at Rhodes University, she became politically active as more and more apartheid laws were passed, confining the black population and destroying civil rights.  Ria was passionate about the subject and protested vigorously.

In 1964, she was detained without trial for her activism and placed in solitary confinement in a police prison cell. Ria took it all in stride and even enjoyed some significant spiritual experiences during her time of captivity. “The police couldn’t work out why I looked so happy a lot of the time. They told me they had not been able to figure me out.” Fortunately for Ria, her case fell through the cracks of political and legal maneuvering and she was released after three and a half months. She said "I thought I’d used up a whole lifetime’s luck, but then I’ve always been lucky.”

In 1965, Ria immigrated to Canada and went to the far North, close to the Arctic Circle on Hudson Bay, where she taught Inuit students in an isolated settlement called Inoucjuac. With nearly 24 hours of daylight in summer, and nearly all day darkness in winter, Ria said "the change in daylight time was so marked you could feel the earth swing beneath you.”  During her time there, Ria also witnessed the marvelous Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), dog sleds and seal hunters.

Ria's 27 students ranged in age from 8-16, most of whom had hardly any English.  At first this was very confusing for all, until Ria started telling them stories with much dramatization and cartooning on the blackboard. "After that", she said, "we all got on famously.”

In 1967, Ria married Cliff Kinzel whom she met in Inoucjuac. Cliff was working at the weather station sending up weather balloons in the days long before satellites.

In 1968, she moved to Edmonton to the University of Alberta, and two years later, Ria's son Matthew was born. In 1970, Ria, her husband and their 9-month old baby moved to Ottawa.

In 1975, Ria was instructed in the Transcendental Meditation technique, and in 1979 she took the advanced TM-Sidhi Course. She later became very active in her local TM center and organized Ghandarva Veda (Classical Indiana Music) concerts with her husband, Cliff.
In 1985 Ria brought her son to Fairfield in Iowa where he could attend three years of high school.  After one year, she went back to Canada, and Matthew stayed on as a boarding student at Maharishi School, graduating in 1988.

Ria ran for election twice for the Natural Law Party in Canada and again was very active in the TM center there along with Cliff. During that time, Cliff flew to England to also stand as a candidate for the Natural Law Party.

Cliff and Ria came to Fairfield in 1996, to join a TM Assembly, and within two days, Ria was hired by Maharishi School to fill an emergency vacancy. Ria has been teaching English at Maharishi School ever since.

In 2000, Ria graduated with her MA in Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management, and has been working on the last stages of a PhD in Vedic Science during her teaching years at Maharishi School. On May 30th, in Veda Bhavan on MUM campus, Ria will be presenting her dissertation defense on ‘The Use of an Analytical Model Based on the Sixteen Elements of Nyaya In Teaching English Literature with Middle and High School Students in Consciousness-Based Education.’

Ria is now in the process of moving slowly back to Canada, to live in Golden, British Columbia, just west of Lake Louise, to be near her son and three granddaughters. Maharishi School is very fortunate and blessed to have had Ria's sweet, silent and dynamic dedication for the last 13 years. Thank you Ria!