His Holiness the Dalai Lama (4th L) interacts with fellow Nobel Laureates - Maried Maguire, Betty Williams, Jody Williams - and Mary Robinson, former Irish President and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the Vancouver Peace Summit on 27 September 2009.
Vancouver, Canada - India’s Consul General Ashok Das and his wife called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday morning (27 September). Thereafter, His Holiness left for the Chan Center at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to participate in the Vancouver Peace Summit: Nobel Laureates in Dialogue hosted by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education. There were a horde of media people waiting to cover his arrival at UBC.
Center’s Victor Chan welcomed the gathering and introduced a video message by Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada. The Governor General described the gathering of global spiritual leaders in Vancouver as "a dazzling constellation of global change agents." "You have a unique opportunity to dream big," she said. "Please be inspired. The world is counting on you. Peace is within our grasp."
Thereafter, Tom Beech, president and CEO of the Fetzer Institute announced the awarding of the Institute’s Prize for Lover and Forgiveness to His Holiness and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Institute said the Prize honors the courage and persistence with which His Holiness and Archbishop Emeritus Tutu have both worked to bring love, compassion and forgiveness to all that they do, as well as their ability to inspire these same impulses in others around the world. Archbishop Tutu was indisposed and could not be present.
Mr. Beech introduced a short video tribute from fellow Nobel Laureates, including Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Alfonso García Robles, Betty Williams, and Shirin Ebadi, who highlighted the contribution of His Holiness and Archbishop Tutu.
Mr. Beech then announced that Archbishop Tutu was watching the ceremony through the live webcast. He then addressed the two winners saying, “In the face of disruption you have brought calm; in places of violence you bring peace; in times of fear, you offered love; into an atmosphere of bitterness and hostility, you bring forgiveness; you can do this day by day, from year to year, with steadfastness and grace.”
“Love, compassion and forgiveness have the power to change, the power to heal and the power to transform any situation—no matter how violent or troubled—into something that is generative and life-giving,” Tom Beech had said in a statement. “The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu are renowned, revered, respected and loved the world over. In giving this award, the Fetzer Institute celebrates their humanity and the consistency with which their lives stand for compassion in the face of isolation, love in the face of fear and forgiveness in the face of violence.”
Archbishop Tutu appeared via video to accept the Prize. His daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, accepted the prize in person on his behalf.
In his video message, Archbishop tutu said, "I have seen in the world a great deal awfulness . . . but it is goodness, it is love, it is caring, it is compassion for which we are made."
“The Dalai Lama is one of the holiest peoples I have ever come across,” he said.
"We know in our hearts that many of our problems stem from our disregard of these virtues — the capacity to forgive, the capacity to reconcile, the capacity for caring for our fellow human beings," he added.
Archbishop Tutu also announced a global gathering in 2012 that he would be co-hosting with His Holiness.
In his remarks accepting the prize, His Holiness praised Archbishop Tutu saying, "I very much miss Archbishop.” His Holiness said as soon as the Archbishop entered a place the whole atmosphere changes. He wished the Archbishop speedy recovery so that he can resume his normal meaningful life.
His Holiness said real change must start from the individual, expanding to the family and the community at large. His Holiness supported the idea of the Global gathering that the Archbishop announced and said it would be an effort to impact a change in the mindset of the leaders who “sometimes seemed concerned only about immediate problems” and failed to take a holistic view.
The Fetzer Institute is a private foundation based that engages with people and projects around the world to help bring the power of love, forgiveness and compassion to the center of individual and community life. Founded by broadcast pioneer John E. Fetzer, the Institute carries out its mission by sharing compelling stories of love and forgiveness at work in the world; by convening conversations to help community leaders explore the practical application of love and compassion in their work; and by supporting scientific research to understand how to increase the human capacity for love, compassion and forgiveness.
Thereafter, His Holiness participated in two sessions. In the session on “World Peace through Personal Peace” His Holiness was joined by four other speakers who included spiritual writer Eckhart Tolle; Episcopalian priest and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mpho Tutu; Ven. Matthieu Ricard; and eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyan. This session dwelt on the meaning of compassion and how individuals could cultivate the same.
In the afternoon, His Holiness participated in another session, participated by fellow Noble Laureates Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams, Jody Williams, and Rev. Mpho Tutu. This session touched on how the action of each of the individuals related to compassion and what their views were about global action on compassion. Prior to this session, there was a special event with Karen Armstrong who presented a gist of her project on the Charter for Compassion.
Before the afternoon session, His Holiness gave an interview to Craig Kielburger, a Canadian activist for the rights of children who founded Free the Children. In the interview His Holiness responded to questions about compassion and the role of youth as well as his message to children. This interview will be aired in a documentary.
His Holiness’ last program for the day was meeting with a group of NGO representative in a session entitled, “Connecting for Change.” His Holiness talked about the special role of NGOs in promotion of basic human values. This session saw moving reactions from some of the NGO representatives about the impact of His Holiness’ messages to them.
The Vancouver Peace Summit continues on Tuesday. On Monday, His Holiness will address a gathering of Chinese writers and scholars as well as give an audience to the Tibetan community.Report prepared by Mr. Bhuchung K. Tsering of ICT