Dharamshala: - Speaking at final session of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates which was held in Rome, Italy, from the 12th, 13th & 14th December 2014, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet said that "the 7 billion people in the world must all work to create a happier more equal world."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived to the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome on 12 December for the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. This year's summit had three sessions, ending on 14 December, and was dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela.
At the first session, the Mayor of Rome recalled that Mandela was made an honorary citizen of Rome in 1987, while he was still imprisoned. He quoted Mandela, "A winner is simply a dreamer who never gave up."
The Mayor, Prof Marino, summed up the theme of this year's meeting by declaring a need for the globalization of human rights. Co-chair of the summit and former Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, elaborated on this by saying that peace is a human right for everyone and is a necessary precondition of all other human rights. She stated that everyone has a right not to be killed and a responsibility not to kill. Veltroni also urged Pope Francis to replace the theory of 'just war' with one of peace.
The them of the first session of discussions was "Living Peace, Living Democracy," which reflected on 20 years of democracy in South Africa. Patricia de Lille, the only South African able to attend the meeting, spoke on South Africa and how the country has changed.
She first apologized on behalf of the people of South Africa for the behavior of their government that had led to the summit's venue being moved to Rome. She affirmed that there is no peace without justice and looked forward to working to preserve the ideals for which Mandela strove.
The theme of the second session was "Living Peace for Human Development," and focused on threats to sustainable human development. It was moderated by Yalda Hakim, correspondent with BBC World, and His Holiness was invited to explain how peace is more than an absence of war.
"Peace or violence is ultimately related to our emotions. The demarcation between violence and non-violence lies here in the heart. If we have genuine concern for others, then naturally we defend their rights and our actions become non-violent. So long as we are motivated by anger and fear, the opposite will be true." His Holiness spoke on the importance of focusing more on the sameness of human beings rather than superficial differences like nationality, race, color, social class, and level of education.
He spoke with urgency on the topic of changing the world's education system, "At present the education system and our way of life are very materialistic with little attention paid to inner values." He said that while religion works for some, there are many who do not have a religion; thus necessitating a "secular approach to promoting basic human values."
He closed this speech by pointing out the responsibility of the 21st century generation to build a better world. This could be done, he advised, by taking a secular approach: using common sense, common experience, and scientific evidence. He said we can change ourselves, our way of thinking and our engagement with the world through consistent education. Lastly, he insisted that his words are not just unrealistic idealism, but that they are the only way to a peaceful world.
His Holiness was later interview by Franco de Mare of RAI television. His Holiness responded to questions about the lack of meeting between him and Pope Francis.
"I feel a little sad," His Holiness replied, "because I have paid my respects to several other new Popes and I have been eager to meet him. But for now it's inconvenient, which is understandable. I don't want to make things more inconvenient. We share an interest in moral values, religious harmony, peace and the relief of the poor. I admire him - that's all."
De Mare asked if in giving in to Chinese pressure to deny His Holiness a visa the South African government had put business before values. His Holiness responded that under a materialistic outlook a priority is placed on money. However, money is no guarantor of inner peace.
His Holiness spent much of the second day of the summit giving interviews to major European news outlets and also addressing members of Italian Parliament. "Since 2001 I have been semi-retired," he told the parliamentarians, "and since 2011 I have completely retired from political responsibility. Now I concern myself only with the preservation of Tibetan culture and spirituality, which is a culture of peace and non-violence, and the protection of the Tibetan environment."
The final session was held at Giulio Cesar Hall on Rome's Capitol Hill. Proceedings opened with Ekaterina Zagladina, President of Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, delivering a message from President Mikhail Gorbachev. He expressed concern about ongoing conflicts in the world and the neglect of climate change. Amongst his hopes was an appeal for the Ukraine crisis to be settled. He said, "Every Nobel Laureate can contribute to leading us back to the path of peace."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was on the discussion panel along with Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee, Betty Williams, Mairead Maguire and Rajendra Pachauri to address the Peace Crisis, particularly warfare in Africa, but also related to conflicts throughout the world.
His Holiness began, "When it comes to Africa, I think you, Mrs Gbowee, know much more about it than me. I have been to South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon and my main impression is of the gap between rich and poor...This gap between rich and poor is not only morally wrong, even from a practical point of view it's a source of problems." He concluded that, "The world's problems cannot be solved by the actions of a few individuals...The 7 billion people in the world must all work to create a happier more equal world."
After the discussion, Tawakkol Karman stepped forward to present the 2014 World Peace Summit Award to veteran Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci. Bertolucci entered the hall in his wheelchair and His Holiness the Dalai Lama came down to present him with a white scarf in greeting.
Leymah Gbowee closed the summit by reading the Summit Declaration and reminding everyone that the aim had been to honor the legacy of Nelson Mandela She also acknowledged the general sadness that this could not be done in South Africa because the government declined to grant His Holiness a visa.