World-renowned psychologist Dr Paul Ekman to give talk on March 11 in Vancouver

On Thursday, March 11, the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education will be hosting one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century for a special Speaker Series event.

Dr Paul Ekman will be giving a talk entitled “Darwin, the Dalai Lama and the nature of compassion”, which will be held at the SFU Segal School of Business. This talk will look at the connection between an evolutionary and a Buddhist view of human nature and will provide a new formulation of the nature of empathy, compassion, altruism and heroism.

(tickets at

A long-time friend of the Dalai Lama, Dr Ekman joined the stage in Vancouver with His Holiness at the 2006 Vancouver Dialogues (see video below).

He once read to the Dalai Lama a passage from Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man that said one of humankind’s noblest virtues “seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they are extended to all sentient beings.”

After hearing this, His Holiness told Dr Ekman, “I am a Darwinian.”

Dr Ekman’s work in psychology has led to many international awards and publications, some of which were based on his conversations with the Dalai Lama, and he was named one of last year’s 100 most influential people by TIME Magazine.

Internationally known for his studies on the correlations between facial expressions and human emotions, Dr Ekman is also the inspiration for the television drama series Lie to Me.

Dr Ekman’s talk is part of the Dalai Lama Center’s Speaker Series, which offers public events that focus on key areas of interest to the Center and to the Dalai Lama, including science and its relationship to spirituality, education of the heart, and the development of compassion and its contribution to the public good. Previous speakers include Daniel Siegel, Robert Putnam and Daniel Goleman.

For more details about the event and ticket information, please visit the event listing.

Below is a video of Dr Ekman on stage with the Dalai Lama at the 2006 Vancouver Dialogues.


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