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28september20096Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama opened a two-day "peace summit" in Vancouver Sunday, urging an audience of some 12,000 people to nurture a spirit of "warm-heartedness" to help foster world peace and harmony.

The peace conference organized by the "Dalai Lama Center" for Peace and Education comes as part of his two-week visit to the United States and Canada. His Holiness said the media needs to remind people that compassion and caring exist in the world as well as violence. "The media too often sensationalizes the bad things, which spreads a view that for us human beings, human future is doomed," he told the audience.

"I think technology may have some benefits for a smart brain but no capacity to produce compassion........ Compassion and awareness will lead to peace," His Holiness told about 12,000 devoted fans.

28september20095His Holiness said that people must look within themselves for peace and compassion. "Real change must start with individuals, then family, then community," he said in a low, quiet voice that was difficult to hear. "We really need to embrace the concept of the whole world as ’we.’ "

Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean appeared via video. She described the gathering of global spiritual leaders in Vancouver as "a dazzling constellation of global change agents." She called on the guest speakers and the crowd to use the summit as a catalyst for change. "You have a unique opportunity to dream big," she said.

Also making an appearance at the event are writer Eckhart Tolle, California's first lady Maria Shriver, activist Jody Williams, Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, and others from the world of government, education and philanthropy.

28september20098South African Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, who was unable to attend because of a back injury, sent a video message reminding attendees "that war, poverty, violence are not the whole picture, the whole story, about us, in fact they are aberrations.  "It is goodness, it is love, it is compassion, it is caring, it is those wonderful things that each one of us knows from the depths of their hearts for which we are made."

Nobel Peace-prize winners, spiritual leaders and corporate and social leaders have all been invited to speak on the theme of peace at the three-day summit. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu were both presented with the Fetzer Prize for love and forgiveness.

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