Vancouver Students To Share Stage With Dalai Lama

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 17:00

The Dalai Lama Comes to Vancouver for the Vancouver Dialogues 2006

A select group of local high school students will kick off the school year on Sept. 8, 2006 by meeting His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, the internationally renowned advocate of peace, tolerance, mutual respect and universal responsibility.

The Dalai Lama is in Vancouver from Sept. 8 to 10, to inaugurate the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education and to participate in the Vancouver Dialogues 2006 -- discussions among leading global experts on cultivating happiness, compassion and universal responsibility. The Dialogues resume a series that the Dalai Lama began in Vancouver in 2004, when he appeared with other Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including South African Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu and Iranian human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi.

A significant innovation in this year's event will be the youth dialogue, Nurturing Compassion; this will be the first time that the Dalai Lama has ever participated in such a forum exclusively with a group of students. The students, aged 13 to 17, distinguished themselves among participants across Lower Mainland schools who submitted stories on powerful personal experiences of empathy, kindness or compassion.

"This is an exceptional group of students," says Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl, chair of the Nurturing Compassion event and leading educator from UBC’s Faculty of Education. "Today's adolescents are frequently depicted as self-centered and callous -- as individuals who have little concern for the welfare of others. These teens will debunk that view. I’m sure that they will inspire other teens. Their stories and questions will touch the hearts of all who attend the dialogues."

During the event, which will be webcast to select school sites throughout the province, students will tell their stories, after which the Dalai Lama will entertain questions on compassion, kindness and empathy.

A dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the continent's leading experts on education will follow the Nurturing Compassion event. Mary Gordon, founder of the Roots of Empathy program and Dr. Mark Greenberg from the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State are among the guests.

"We know that this event and every event at the Vancouver Dialogues will accurately set the tone for the new Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education," says Schonert-Reichl. "It will be a showcase of the Centre’s potential to educate the heart and mind of all those who care about peace and tolerance."

Tickets to Nurturing Compassion are available at For full program details, visit

Event Details

Nurturing Compassion
Friday September 8, 2006
9:00 am – 11:30 am

Educating the Heart
Friday September 8, 2006
1:00 pm – 3:45 pm

Happiness & Stress as Determinants of Mental Health
Saturday September 9, 2006
9:00 am – 11:30 am
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Cultivating Happiness
Saturday September 9, 2006
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
GM Place

Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education

The Center, which is scheduled for completion in 2009, is a non-political, non-religious institution that acts as a beacon for promoting peace through education, research and dialogue. "My religion is kindness," the Dalai Lama famously stated. The Center is aligned with this ethos and to the Dalai Lama's belief that each person must "cultivate the heart, and work for peace within yourself and in the world."

The vision of the Vancouver-based Center reflects the Dalai Lama's life-long commitment to compassion and inner well-being. The Center will be a world-class institution, grounded in Vancouver yet global in nature. While its physical home will be in Vancouver, its reach will be world-wide.

Media Registration for Dialogue Sessions and Public Talks

Media wishing to cover any of the dialogues or the public talk must register on-line prior to August 18, 2006 at for credentials.

Please note that the Dalai Lama will not be available for individual interviews. Various participants in the Dialogues will be available for individual interviews at various times prior to and throughout the visit. Interview requests must be made in advance by contacting Kelly Walker at the number above.

Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl, Dr. Mark Greenberg, Mary Gordon and Stephen Boles, student participant, are currently available for interviews.