Women and Peace-building

While the afternoon session got off to a bit of a late start – His Holiness was having too good of a time at WE Day Vancouver with 16,000 local students – when Women and Peace-building began it didn’t fail to please.

The session began with a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Maria Shriver. California’s First Lady asked His Holiness a number of tough questions including what he thought about the “re-branding” of the word “compassion”, suggesting that it might be losing its significance through overuse. The Dalai Lama thought about it for a while and said that while the English word for “compassion” may need re-branding, the word in Tibetan is doing just fine.

The panel discussion, moderated by Susan Davis, saw people from all across the globe gather in discussion. Canada (former Prime Minister Kim Campbell), the United States (pianist Peter Buffett), India (SEWA founder Ela Bhatt), Bangladesh (BRAC founder Fazle Hasan Abed) and to some extent Austria (former US Ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt) were all represented.

The theme of the discussion was that in order for women to become empowered, their capacity for power must first be recognized.

Peter Buffett, who many might not know is the son of billionaire Warren Buffett, used his father as an example of the feminine nature.

He said his father would find struggling companies who had all the necessary tools to succeed except for the most important tool – an opportunity – and he would give them that opportunity.  The elder Buffett is the richest person in the world, thanks in some part to this fostering and empowerment, and the younger Buffett thinks that all women can flourish likewise if given a similar opportunity.

His Holiness said he believes that someday a woman may be named the Dalai Lama, which he of course would have no problem with since he has admitted on a number of occasions this week that he accepts the label, if not begrudgingly, of a feminist.

In fact he said he doesn’t really mind what he’s called.

"The other day I mentioned whether you call me God king, or Buddha or demon it doesn't matter,” he said. “I emphasize a special rule for females very much to this world so many people describe me as a feminist."

Women and Peace-building certainly left a positive feeling in the air, a perfect end for the Vancouver Peace Summit 2009.

If you missed any of the Summit, check back on the DLC web site over the next week for details of how you can watch it online.

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