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HHDL-north ireland-childrens confDerry, Northern Ireland — His Holiness the Dalai Lama graced the Children in Crossfire conference held in Derry, North Ireland on September 11th, kicking of his 15-day trip across Europe.

Introducing the event, founder Richard Moore explained the importance of His Holiness’s support for Children in Crossfire’s initiative, and that the theme of today’s conference—Educating the Heart—arose directly from His Holiness’s comments in 2011. He added that he looked forward to a time when there is no need for Children in Crossfire, but in the meantime its aim is to reduce suffering so children have the chance to build a better life for themselves. He thanked His Holiness for his friendship and support.

Addressing the conference, His Holiness began, “Thinking about the world today, although basic human nature has been shown to be compassionate, still there is so much suffering that is of our own making. Why? Because our education system is inadequate in not paying sufficient attention to human values. When we are under the sway of attachment and anger we are disturbed and unable to exercise our intelligence properly. Therefore, we need a clearer understanding of the workings of our mind and emotions.

“Until now, Asia has learned about science and technology from the West, but now there’s also a possibility of the West learning from Asia about the mind. What is clear is that technological developments alone fail to ensure peace of mind. So we must make modern education more complete.

“The last century, for all its achievements, was too fraught with violence. As I’ve just said to the press, our aim should be a demilitarized world and yet we continue to produce and sell more weapons. Conflicts in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula are entangled with emotions and a sense that problems can be solved by the use of force. We have a duty to inform those who are young today, the generation of the future, that such old thinking is out of date. However, if they make an effort to adopt a different approach right now, a more peaceful world may emerge in the future. I don’t expect to see it, but I’ll keep an eye on them all the same.”

His Holiness also took questions form the audience, fielding questions on a variety of topics.

Questioned about training in compassion, His Holiness made it clear that the use of human intelligence is crucial. He recommended that programs for training teachers be based on scientific findings, common sense and common human experience.

With regard to teaching about gender equality, His Holiness explained his view of human development and the historic emergence of a need for leadership for which the criterion was physical strength. This is what led to male dominance. Availability of education has restored a sense of equality and now a time has come when the leadership of women, who are more sensitized to the sufferings of others, is what we need. He speculated that if more of the nearly 200 countries in the world were led by women, the world would be a more peaceful place.

Finally, His Holiness noted that a lot of the problems we face arise because we get too caught up in secondary differences among us. He stressed the need to focus instead on the oneness of humanity.

The event concluded as Mary Kabati from Tanzania presented a gift to His Holiness on behalf of Children in Crossfire.

His Holiness left the following morning for Frankfurt, Germany.

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