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.
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.