BROOKLYN — Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a rare private audience with a revered and inspirational world dignitary. But two weeks ago, several students at LIU Global had just that opportunity when they met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan Buddhist, in India.
The “simple monk,” as he describes himself, spoke with the students about compassion on Saturday, March 2, for 45 minutes.
“He left us with a message: to use our positions as Americans to make the world a better place for future generations by spreading compassion,” said student Carly Wyman. “It was truly an inspiring meeting that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
The 16 Long Island University students were in Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama resides, to study religion and culture and to build cross-cultural understanding and communication skills.
“One of the central lessons we learn is that we must understand ourselves, the particular perspectives we bring to our experience, in order to truly engage others,” said Kerry Mitchell, who directs LIU Global’s Comparative Religion and Culture Program. “Overall I was struck by how fully human he was, and how fresh and different he was from other people.”
This private meeting came about through the efforts of Debi Goldman, assistant director at LIU Global, who spent years working on the Board of the Tibetan Nuns Project. Through her connections, the group also met with the Chief Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dr. Lobsang Sangay; the Nechung Oracle, whose ritualized trances yield prophecies and advice for His Holiness; and the Tibetan Youth Congress.
LIU Global offers the only program in the world that integrates a series of yearlong cultural immersions into a progressive, four-year Bachelor of Arts degree. “I can say without exaggeration that these opportunities yield an experience and learning that are unparalleled in the classroom or through media,” said Mitchell.