Message from the Organizers

As two of the lead organizers for the Vancouver Peace Summit and Connecting for Change, Charles Holmes and Brenda Eaton had a front-row seat for the three-day event. Now, a year later, they’ve had some time to reflect on what was accomplished in Vancouver.

For Charles, as a lead facilitator at Connecting for Change, he was able to help ignite a number of connections that led to necessary medical supplies being delivered to a health clinic in Uganda. (Read the stories of Robert Kalyesubula, Janice Levine and Mary Tidlund).

Charles Holmes at Connecting for Change“It was incredibly fulfilling to see those people connect,” says Charles. “Connections that I know have in many instances led to both friendships and collaborations, but also connections with personal aspirations and what mattered to those people.”

Charles believes that the success of delivering the medical supplies to Uganda highlights the unique qualities of Connecting for Change.

“There are lots of events where people are brought together to discuss a certain issue. But there aren’t many where people are brought together to co-discover,” says Charles.

“What’s unique about Connecting for Change is the extent to which we combine, not only face-to-face, but the music, arts and personal reflection time. It’s a combination of elements that enhance the likelihood of people connecting with others in ways they normally wouldn’t.”

Brenda, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Dalai Lama Center, has also championed the Summit’s ability to bring people together.

“Wherever, the Dalai Lama goes, there’s a bit of a buzz. But there’s also an added buzz when you bring together so many thinkers of great renown and you have a chance to interact with each other,” says Brenda.

“But the real buzz, was on the other side of the curtain, where there was a huge audience of thousands and thousands of people. Just being in that environment with that buzz was indescribable.”

Brenda says one of the successes of the Summit for the Dalai Lama Center is the amount of attention the Dalai Lama can bring to issues that are important to the Center, specifically educating the heart. However, she was also quite proud to point out how fortunate Vancouver is to have so many renowned local experts who also raise the profile of educating the heart.

“ABrenda Eaton at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summitt Educating the Heart, we had experts from around the world, but we also had our local experts from UBC (read Clyde Hertzman’s story). And we had a chance to see in many areas how leading edge we are in our own backyard. Sometimes, we forget to celebrate things that are happening right around us. I felt really proud to be associated with the Dalai Lama Center and Vancouver, where so much work is happening in our own backyard.”

What’s perhaps even more exciting for Brenda is the fact that many successes of the Summit may not materialize for years to come.

“There’s probably ripple effects that we will never know about, and hopefully they extend across the city, across the country and beyond.”