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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.
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 www.vcsa.uci.edu/archives/DalaiLama and heard on radio via KUCI, which also provided an audio stream at www.kuci.uci.edu. 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 www.vcsa.uci.edu/archives/DalaiLama.
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.
*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).
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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.