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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

Dalai Lama joins estimated 5,000 students for 'Youth Dialogue' on responsibility and ethics

34 California middle and high schools attend UCI event; five students receive ‘katas’ from the Dalai Lama

Irvine, Calif., April 16, 2004

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama joined approximately 5,000 students at UC Irvine this morning for a “Youth Dialogue” on ethics and responsibility. During the dialogue, the Dalai Lama spoke on the importance of including compassion in our daily lives and its potential to create positive changes affecting all of humanity. 

“To achieve a more peaceful environment for all and to create more friendliness in our communities, compassion is necessary – it can give us the positive changes we want,” the Dalai Lama said. “Educational institutions have the important responsibility of nurturing students and developing, through compassion, students’ inner values necessary for forming a caring society.”

The Dalai Lama was introduced to the audience by Manuel Gomez, vice chancellor of student affairs. “Every action we take echoes out into the world,” Gomez noted in his introductory remarks. “Compassion and the desire to end suffering can help create a better world.”

Students came from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area to attend the dialogue, and included groups from 34 middle and high schools, nine community colleges and universities, 12 youth organizations and 11 religious groups.

Five students, including four from Southern California, joined the Dalai Lama on stage, giving presentations about community and ethical activism. The students were selected for their own commitment and interest in advancing personal responsibility and ethical behavior. The Dalai Lama presented each of the five students with a silk scarf or ‘kata’ – an auspicious symbol in Tibetan culture that indicates the good intentions of the person making the offer. The students were:

• Jessica Gutierrez, 9th grade, Orange High School – selected by her fellow volunteers at Orange County Human Relations Bridge Program, a program designed to enhance the understanding of race-related issues throughout Orange County.
• Cassidy Scott, 9th grade, Estancia High School, Costa Mesa – selected from an essay competition by Global Connect@UCI, a partnership between UCI’s School of Social Science and area schools that enhances and supports social science teaching of middle and high school students.
• Judith Mun, junior, UCI – selected for her service with UCI Alternative Break, a student group that provides community services during academic breaks.
• Andrea Reyna, senior, UCI – selected for her work with Global Connect@UCI.
• Bunthoen Hack, 12th grade Independent Studies, San Lorenzo School District – selected for his service assisting the Dalai Lama Foundation.

The students represented four different types of community-service groups: a partnership between the university and K-12 schools, a community-based initiative, a university student-based initiative, and a not-for-profit organization.

The Dalai Lama also presented 108 seedling trees donated by the Dalai Lama Foundation in honor of “Seeds of Peace,” an internationally acclaimed peace organization that promotes understanding and friendship among youth in areas of conflict.

Along with the students, an estimated 500 chaperones attended the morning event. In the afternoon, the Dalai Lama will give a public presentation to more than 5,500 people. His talk will address ethical self-awareness and personal transformation.

The morning session was webcast at  and heard on radio via KUCI, which also provided an audio stream at The same features will be available for the afternoon session, which begins at 4 p.m. today.

The Dalai Lama is a world-renowned spiritual leader of Buddhism and recipient of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. A biography of the Dalai Lama and other event information may be found at

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with approximately 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,300 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

"Ethical Leadership Through Compassion" participating schools & organizations

Bell Gardens Intermediate School
Costa Mesa High School
*Estancia High School (Costa Mesa, CA)
TeWinkle Middle School (Costa Mesa, CA)
Middle College High School (Costa Mesa)
Cerro Villa Middle School (Villa Park, CA)
Santiago Creek School (Orange, CA)
Nicolas Junior High School (Fullerton, CA)
Newport Harbor High School
Rancho Buena Vista High School (Vista, CA)
Spurgeon Middle School (Santa Ana, CA)
Bell Gardens High School
El Rancho High School (Pico Rivera, CA)
Magnolia High School (Anaheim, CA)
Western High School (Anaheim, CA)
Fremont Union High School District (Sunnyvale, CA)
Saint Joseph Ballet (Santa Ana, CA)
Sage Hill School (Newport Beach, CA)
Corona del Mar High School
Trabuco Hills High School
Mission Viejo High School
Jordan High School (Long Beach, CA)
La Vista High School (Fullerton, CA)
Ocean View High School (Huntington Beach, CA)
Pathway School (Irvine, CA)
Laguna Beach High School
Saint Margaret Episcopal School (Newport Beach, CA)
Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School (Irvine, CA)
San Clemente High School
Cypress High School
Rio Contiguo High School (Santa Ana, CA)

UC Irvine
Soka University of America
California Lutheran University
Chapman University
Fullerton College
University of San Diego
Cal Poly Pomona University
California State University, Fullerton

Unity Church of Tustin
Volunteers of America - Talent Search
Orange County Department of Education
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Homeboy Industries
The Friendly Center, Inc.
Chinmaya Mission of Southern California
Model United Nations
Home School Religious Studies
Orange County Human Relations
Community Service Programs, Inc.
United Methodist Student Fellowship at UCI
University Buddhist Association, UCLA
Society of St. Vincent De Paul
Pathways Par
City of Santa Barbara Teen Programs
Puente Program
*Global Connect
*Orange County Human Relations Bridges Program
*UC Irvine Alternative Spring Break
*The Dalai Lama Foundation

*Youth groups presenting representations of their work and testimonies of future commitments to ethical leadership, peace building and compassionate action to His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.

The UCI planning group for the youth dialogue included Soka University; Orange County Department of Education; Tarbut V’Torah; Orange County Institute for Conflict Management; Chapman University; California State University, Fullerton; Orange County Human Relations; Bowers Museum; and numerous UCI programs (UCI Peace Builders, Dean of Students Office, Housing and the Center for Educational Partnerships).

The students are wearing katas, a Tibetan silk scarf offered by the Dalai Lama in goodwill and as a greeting. For their ethical leadership, five students joined the Dalai Lama on stage. Left to right are Judith Mun, UCI; Cassidy Scott, Estancia High School, Costa Mesa; Bunthoen Hack, Independent Studies, San Lorenzo School District; Jessica Gutierrez, Orange High School; Andrea Reyna, UCI.

Related Links

"Ethical Leadership Through Compassion" participating schools & organizations

The Dalai Lama to visit UCI April 16th


Jim Cohen
(949) 824-7913


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