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Tibet: News International Youth leaders from conflict zones in dialogue with leader of Tibet

Youth leaders from conflict zones in dialogue with leader of Tibet

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Dalai-Lama-Tibet-Youth-Leaders-World-2017-3Dharamshala — His Holiness the Dalai Lama hosted 25 youth leaders from conflict zones around the world at his home in Dharamshala in a dialogue organized by United States Institute of Peace and held on November 6-7. Youth leaders from some of the most violent and tragic parts of the world had the opportunity to share their experiences with the spiritual leader and gain insight on how to build peace in places of conflict.

Organizer Diane Zeleny from the US Institute of Peace said in an interview with TPI, "We're here to meet with HH and with one another to learn about how to build resilience after traumatic situations. These extraordinary people work around the world in countries where there is violent conflict and they work within their communities as leaders to build peace." She added that the leaders came from 12 countries including Afghanistan, Burma, Colombia, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and the USA.

In his opening remarks, His Holiness began, "I have a strong conviction that we are same humans- different hairstyle, different color, different shape of nose, but basically the same human beings. We emphasize different race, different nationality and unfortunately including different faith. When we emphasize these secondary differences, who suffers? Us.

“Usually I get eight or nine hours of sound sleep at night, but lately when I wake up I’ve been wondering how many people were killed while I slept; how many children died of starvation? The current situation is very sad, but just feeling despondent is of no help. If we ask ourselves who creates many of the problems we face, the answer is that we human beings do. Therefore, if we make the effort, certainly we can reduce suffering which we human beings created."

President of USIP, Nancy Lindborg thanked His Holiness for receiving them and set the tone for the day, beginning, "Thank you your Holiness for receiving us once again for the second annual US Institute of Peace dialogue with students. We cherish this partnership and appreciate our shared mission to see a world without violent conflict. I think we are very much aligned and share the conviction that we will not get there without the energy and the commitment and vision of our next generation of peace builders. We're gathered here at a time when unfortunately violence seems to be increasing... but we have enormous hope."

Dalai-Lama-Tibet-Youth-Leaders-World-2017-1Inviting the youth leaders to tell their stories and present the spiritual leader with a question, first a young man named Nadi from Sudan told his story, recalling getting taken in a pick-up truck, arrested and beaten after he organized an event calling for peace in his community. "For the next 16 days we were in a cell. We don't know where we are, we don't have lawyers, we don't know if our families know where we are. I kept telling myself that we didn't do any harm to anyone; we use nonviolence trying to get peace in our country and yet we are beaten. His Holiness I want to ask you how you deal with frustration?

Responding, His Holiness lauded the young leader, saying, "I really admire your action, it's wonderful. But there are limitless problems beyond our control, and there is this possibility to feel demoralized, but you already kept that optimism, so implement that. From you, you all and last year, I really do admire so many of you young people their determination for nonviolence and people."

Another story came from a young woman from Sri Lanka, who told His Holiness her childhood story as civil war took place just outside her home Sri Lanka. The young leader mused, "I started realizing that we people are so good. We see no differences in each other; we are always united. It is only some external force unknown to us that induces that division." She asked His Holiness his advice to the people of Sri Lanka, still recovering from war ten years later.

His Holiness responded, "I think you're doing a wonderful job peace building. We have also experienced problems over the past 60 years with Communist China. Over the past few decades more than 1 million Tibetans have died through killing, torture, and starvation, torture, killing. If we keep this anger, wishing some kind of revenge, there is no use. They are also human beings. For over a thousand years, Han people and Tibetans lived side by side, sometimes fighting, sometimes friends. There is no use in keeping that anger, hatred. The only alternative is to be friends and live side by side."

Dalai-Lama-Tibet-Youth-Leaders-World-2017-2Another leader from Myanmar, a young man from the most persecuted people in the world; the Rohingya Muslims. "Recently in my country on August 25th, there was an attack on the government by a group of extremists which killed 3,000-4,000 people, there were a lot of disappearances. Approximately 600,000 refugees fled in three weeks time to Bangladesh. Hundreds of villages have been burned, women were raped, children were killed. As a Rohingya Muslim, we're a big team. But, my question through this experience to His Holiness is, as victims, how can we contribute to build a better society through peace, harmony and social justice?

"Once in a public talk, one person who introduced me was a Christian priest. When he introduced me, he described me as a good Christian. So when I spoke, I said that I consider him as a good Buddhist. So you see we have common practice, though a different sort of costume and different philosophy, but this is on a secondary level. So, I think it takes time, but there is a profound basis on which we can develop religious harmony and a sense of oneness of humanity. For this we need effort."

Responding to all the other young people's stories, he encouraged them to be determined, just as those who engage in violence often are. He emphasized the special strength women can bring to promoting inner values, human values, in the world today. He added that responsibility for change rests with members of the younger generation like them. They must cultivate a vision of a better future and work hard to achieve it. Most of all, His Holiness stressed the need for a more holistic education.

The dialogue is scheduled to continue tomorrow, November 7th.

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 November 2017 23:06 )  


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