February 5, 2007
Dalai Lama named Emory distinguished professor
BY Nancy Seideman
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama has been named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University, the first university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the Tibetan exile community.
The Dalai Lama will deliver his inaugural lecture during an Oct. 20-22 visit to Emory, during which he will participate in a conference on science and spirituality, and an interfaith session on religion as a source of conflict and a resource for peace building. His Holiness is scheduled to give a public talk, "Educating the Heart and Mind," at an Emory-sponsored event in Centennial Olympic Park Oct. 22. For information, go to www.dalailama.emory.edu.
"To have a colleague of the Dalai Lama's stature in our community will be a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to our faculty, staff and students as we strive to realize the vision of educating both the heart and mind for the greater good of humanity," Emory President Jim Wagner said. "His presence will contribute significantly to fulfilling the university's strategic goals, including bringing engaged scholars together in a strong and vital community to confront the human condition."
"I look forward to offering my services to the Emory students and community. I firmly believe that education is an indispensable tool for the flourishing of human well-being and the creation of a just and peaceful society, and I am delighted to make a small contribution in this regard through this appointment," the Dalai Lama said. "I have long believed in and advocated a dialogue and cross-fertilization between science and spirituality, as both are essential for enriching human life and alleviating suffering on both individual and global levels."
The Dalai Lama's appointment is the most recent outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which was founded in 1998 to bring together the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions.
Emory is recognized as one of the premier centers of study of Tibetan philosophy and religion in the West, primarily due to the university's extraordinary relationship with Tibetan Buddhist institutes of higher learning based in India, including the Drepung Loseling Monastery and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile. One of the most ambitious projects of this partnership is an historic initiative to develop and implement a comprehensive science education curriculum for Tibetan monastics.
"I deeply appreciate that Emory University has made a commitment to fully collaborate with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives to develop and implement a comprehensive and sustainable science education program for Tibetan monastics," the Dalai Lama said.
Many of Emory's university-wide strategic plan initiatives address the interface between religion and science. His Holiness has pioneered in promoting a genuine and substantive dialogue between science and spirituality. Emory's commitment to developing and implementing a science education program for Tibetan monks and nuns will help realize the Dalai Lama's vision of offering comprehensive science education within the monastic curriculum.
As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama will continue to provide private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory study-abroad programs in Dharamsala, as well as to provide opportunities for University community members to attend his annual teachings. He also will make periodic visits to Emory to participate in programs. Emory will establish a fellowship in the Dalai Lama's name to fund annual scholarships for Tibetan students attending Emory undergraduate and graduate schools.
The Dalai Lama has devoted his life to the non-violent resolution of Tibetan-Chinese conflict and to the preservation of the Tibetan history, education, culture and traditions. The 1959 occupation of Tibet by China forced the Dalai Lama to flee his country and take exile in India, where he serves as the political and spiritual leader of 6 million Tibetans worldwide, including the Tibetan community and government-in-exile based in Dharamsala.
In September 2006, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the nation, for his advocacy of religious harmony, nonviolence and human rights throughout the world, and for his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Tibet issue through dialogue with Chinese leadership.