Perspective: Kit Sauder talks about his meeting with the Dalai Lama

At the 2006 Vancouver Dialogues, the Dalai Lama shared the stage with several of Vancouver's youth in what was one of the few times he has participated in a panel made exclusively of students. One of those students was Kit Sauder, a Earl Marriott Secondary School Grade 7 student at the time.

Kit, now 20, is about to enter his third year at UBC Okanagan, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Philosophy. He agreed to speak with the DLC about his experience 4 years ago at the Vancouver Dialogues. 

DLC: Describe your experience with the Dalai Lama in 2006. 

Kit Sauder: My experience leading up to and at the Dalai Lama dialogues is one I will never forget. Our development as individuals and as a group was something truly powerful. And when we finally did meet His Holiness it was a wholly moving experience. Upon meeting Him it was unlike any encounter I have ever had with another person. Without pretension or reserve there was a welcoming in every one of His actions, serenity in every pause, a grace that few could muster with years of training. He seemed a man who was simultaneously very conscious of the world’s troubles and at peace with His own inner troubles. Before we even saw His Holiness backstage you could feel His presence, and many of my peers burst into tears upon His arrival. His Holiness has a warmth in His eyes that can only be born of true compassion for all those around Him.

DLC: What is one moment that has resonated with you from the Vancouver Dialogues

KS: I have to say that I was completely overwhelmed by the experience and the only moment that sticks out in my mind sharply is when I asked Him about poverty in the developing world. When His Holiness told me that He thought in the West, our hearts were in the right place, but that throwing money at the situation in the developing world was not the way. That we needed to help empower the people, through education. That’s what stuck with me. A man can’t stand on his own, without feeling empowered. He can’t feel empowered without being sure of himself. To be sure of oneself, one needs education, because it is not only a tool of knowledge but the training in how to proper school ones mind to gain knowledge in the future. Education, not money, is the answer to the worlds problems, the more we know, the more tolerant we are, the more capable we are. With knowledge we can change not only our own lives, but the lives of all those around us. 

DLC: What is one thing you would like to see improved in education?

KS: In my own education, I wish that there had been more focus on the way in which we could apply our knowledge after we graduated high school. Too many of my peers seem to have rushed off to university, simply because it was the thing to do. There is something inherently respectable about the trades. About labouring under ones own skill and strength, to make something, something of worth to someone else. It should be encouraged in our society that we all have different skill sets, that we all have different ways in which we might make the world a better place. As a generation who has more than any generation before them, more knowledge, more wealth, more ability to travel and access information, we have an obligation to begun not only to educate ourselves and those who follow on academics but on self-respect, through which we might gain a happier and healthier. Those who respect themselves, respect others, and in turn can reach out to help them up.

Watch Kit's appearance at the 2006 Vancouver Dialogues

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