Trondheim: - The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his hopes and concerns for young people across the world on 9 February at the International Student Festival in Trondheim, Norway (ISFiT).
His Holiness returned as a guest speaker to ISFiT – the world's largest student festival of ideas which takes place every two years – for the first time since 1994. This year he was invited to speak on corruption, ISFiT's theme for 2015.
Addressing a crowded hall of 1800 students – including 500 from outside Norway – he made a plea for his audience to carefully consider their future.
"Time goes on. It doesn't stand still. The past is gone so we can't change it, although we can learn from it. We are still at the start of the 21st century so it may be possible, before it ends, to create a better, happier world."
The Dalai Lama later reflected on the 20th century being a period of both unparalleled technological development and of unjustified bloodshed and violence. The latter, in his eyes, is a form of corruption.
"If people really had respect for moral values, for moral principles, there'd be no corruption. The killing, stealing and rape that take place would be impossible if people properly respected each other."
He specified the widespread corruption that takes place in India, where he and the Tibetan government-in-exile reside, and China, who have occupied his motherland since 1949.
"My Indian friends tell me that if there was less corruption India's development would have taken place much quicker."
Yet while corruption in India is supposedly tempered by the rule of law, an independent judiciary and a free press, China does not exercise these civil liberties. It is estimated that just half of funds allocated by the Chinese government reach the projects for which they are intended.
Asked what the solution should be to such occurrences, the Dalai Lama stated: "Corruption is essentially about being dishonest so people have to hide it. No one is proud of corruption. By contrast, honesty, transparency and openness bring peace of mind."
"We need moral principles in all fields of human activity, even in our religious traditions. We need an approach to education that engenders moral values in students from nursery right through to university. This will produce a different outlook."