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‘Spiritual dream team’ to gather in B. C. for peace

March 31, 2009

From The National Post

The Dalai Lama will headline a “spiritual dream team” of Nobel Peace Prize laureates and international activists at a peace summit this September in Vancouver.

Victor Chan, co-founder of Vancouver’s Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, said the Vancouver Peace Summit: Nobel Laureates in Dialogue will take place Sept. 26-29.

Joining the Dalai Lama will be Bishop Desmond Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end apartheid, former Irish president Mary Robinson, and spiritual writer Eckhart Tolle, as well as educators, philanthropists and entertainers such as the Blue Man Group.

Environmental activist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, may also attend.

During his visit, the Dalai Lama will also serve as guest editor of a special edition of The Vancouver Sun. Mr. Chan said the summit’s lineup of moderated events will, ideally, be a “catalyst for change” in the world. The focus will be on the themes of peace, education, interfaith harmony, women and peacebuilding, and youth.

“This is an opportunity for all of us to have a conversation with people who have accumulated a lot of knowledge around issues confronting humanity, the search for peace, the search for happiness,” said Mr. Chan.

Although the venues for the events will be relatively small, with limited seating, most will be open to the public. In addition, said Mr. Chan, there will be a “significant online presence,” with many events being live-streamed “to reach a global audience.”

Tickets will be available in late May or early June, and Mr. Chan expects them to go quickly. The last time the Dalai Lama came to Vancouver, said Mr. Chan, he spoke at General Motors Place, selling out 30,000 tickets in a matter of hours.

“These guests attending have a global constituency. We won’t be talking about abstract concepts. These are people that have been rolling up their sleeves and effecting real change in the world.”

The summit will include events such as “Connecting for Change,” an invitation-only dialogue with the Dalai Lama on how people from diverse sectors such as corporate finance, philanthropy and spirituality can work together “synergistically” to create positive change in the world. “World Peace through Personal Peace” will feature the Dalai Lama in conversation with Bishop Tutu, Mr. Tolle and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, “the world’s happiest man,” and another event on creativity and its contribution to well-being.

Events are still in development as luminaries, Nobel laureates and intellectuals put forth their ideas.

“We look forward to having a rich discussion about peace, something that has almost become a cliche, and to see specific, concrete ideas for change,” said Mr. Chan.

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