Nobel Peace Prize Forum

Posted on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 by Madeline Johnson

At 2:45 AM, my phone buzzed violently and woke me from a deep slumber. My body protested, along with my roommate’s kitten who was sleeping next to my head. I laid in bed until 2:55 AM, a precious ten more minutes, only to rise, shower, and greet the day.

What could motivate a person to rise at such an early hour on a Saturday morning, during their “spring break?” His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

After a four hour drive cramped in a van where I only slept and drooled on myself a little, the Concordia group arrived at the Minneapolis Convention Center only to wait and wait until we could be seated the see the Dalai Lama speak. The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is an event that studies the work of Nobel Peace Prize winners and is used for “crossing boundaries to create common ground.” Before the Dalai Lama Spoke, Anastasia Young, a Cobber who was one of the Peace Prize Recipients from last year, eloquently introduced him. During the introduction, he walked on to the stage mid introduction and seemed to surprise Anastasia. His endearing and welcoming personality was seen through this action and was exemplified further when he began to speak.

My group was sitting in one of the back pods of the convention center and because of our location and the Dalai Lama’s accent, I wasn’t able to pick up on everything he said. But there were a few key points I wanted to highlight from his speech.

  • Every person has the same right to achieve a happy life without suffering. Flowers and plants also have this right. As I am currently in a class called Religion and Ecology, I loved that he tied in the importance of the environment with his speech.
  • Freedom is necessary to utilize human creativity
  • When asked: What allows you to transcend despair? His Holiness answered that both optimism of attitude and keeping your mind fresh are important.

The Dalai Lama was light hearted in his answers and that made me want to listen to him because he didn’t appear to see himself as superior to anyone else. An online Google Plus user asked, what are the top three things a small committed group can do to help the human race take positive steps forward? He just smiled and said “I don’t know.” He wasn’t able to narrow down the answer to just three key points.

DSCF1570

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

The final question for His Holiness was just a request for his blessing. The Dalai Lama responded by saying “Blessing? Blessing must come from our own action.” I am blessed to have seen this religious leader speak today and am a little bit more hopeful for this complicated world.

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  1. Real Macaroon says:

    I like to kick back, slow down, and make people smile. I hope that brings a little peace to the world.

  2. Maddie says:

    I think it does Mac!

  3. Thomas Shane says:

    Absolutely correct.

  4. Real Macaroon says:

    Thank you Maddie and Thomas.

  5. Mei says:

    Thanks very nice blog!

    Feel free to surf to my weeb site: credit ratings table (Mei)

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About Madeline Johnson

Junior

Madeline Johnson

Biology/History with a minor in Chemistry

I may have the most generic Scandinavian name but I like to think I’m far from ordinary.

For 20 years of my life, I have rocked the suburbs like Jon Bon Jovi did, except that he was talented (as Ben Folds would say). In high school, I was involved in speech, debate, concert band, marching band, and volunteer work. To this day, I enjoy tossing the Frisbee disc with friends, reading an absurd amount of books, writing poetry and listening excessively to every genre of music excluding country.

At Concordia, I play the flute in the Symphonic Band, play ultimate frisbee, am an orientation leader, am a leader in science academy, work for the admissions office, do biology research, and am working to bring an organization to campus called Girls In Real Life which is meant to improve the self esteem of women everywhere. I also enjoy volunteering at Sanford hospital on the weekends. My majors are biology and history with a minor in chemistry and I will be graduating in 2015. I hope to join the peace corps after college and then attend graduate school for public health and possibly law.

In the future and in the present, my main goal is to make a difference in the world. I believe people are inherently good and I search for the upside in every situation. People have described me as a ray of sunshine, but I’d just say I am an opportunist who believes in love and lifelong happiness.