News Release: International, Religion and Ethics, University News

Sep. 28,  2009

Dalai Lama Presents Gift to Emory University-Tibet Science Initiative; Announces Campus Visit, Oct. 17-19, 2010

News Article ImageThe Dalai Lama

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, who will visit Emory University Oct. 17-19, 2010, in his role as Presidential Distinguished Professor, has announced a gift of $50,000 to the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, an historic and ambitious undertaking to develop and implement a comprehensive science education curriculum for Tibetan monastics.

The Dalai Lama’s 2007 professorship––the first university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the Tibetan people––is an outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which was founded in 1998 to bring together the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions.

The ETSI, a collaboration of Emory and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, grew from a shared vision of the Dalai Lama and Emory. The initiative aims to bridge the best of modern science education with the wisdom and insights of the ancient monastic tradition, through a long-range commitment to foster dialogue and exchange knowledge.

“In just three years, the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative has made notable progress,” wrote the Dalai Lama. “However, it is a large and far-sighted project that will require significant resources to ensure its success and sustainability. I am therefore happy to make a contribution…towards this important work at Emory.”

In acknowledging the gift, Emory University President James W. Wagner said, “This extraordinary and entirely unexpected gesture bespeaks the remarkable generosity of spirit in a great human being like His Holiness. The “Professor” has taught us another lesson from afar—the truth that people, when we are at our best, invest our treasure and our hearts in the same place. We at Emory are very grateful not only for his recent gracious gift but also for the heart he has long invested in the Emory-Tibet Partnership. ”

The ETSI, along with many of Emory’s university-wide strategic plan initiatives, addresses the interface between religion and science. As part of the five-year ETSI pilot program, Emory faculty travel to Dharamsala, India, each summer to teach a 10-week western science curriculum to more than 100 monks and nuns, and have worked with Tibetan Buddhist scholars to produce science textbooks printed in English and Tibetan.

On Oct. 9 the ETSI will receive additional visibility and support at a reception and panel discussion on “Science and Spirituality,” hosted by actor Richard Gere and including psychologist Daniel Goleman, author, scientist and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, and Lobsang Negi Tenzin, co-director of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative. The Washington, D.C., event (www.tibet.emory.edu/scienceandspirituality) also will feature remarks by Emory College Dean Robert Paul and Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, special envoy of the Dalai Lama.

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.

As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama provides private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory study-abroad programs in Dharamsala, as well as providing opportunities for university community members to attend his annual teachings. He makes periodic visits to Emory to participate in programs, most recently in 2007 when he delivered his inaugural lecture as Emory’s Presidential Distinguished Professor. Emory has established a fellowship in the Dalai Lama’s name to fund annual scholarships for Tibetan students attending Emory undergraduate and graduate schools.

During his October 2010 visit, the Dalai Lama will participate in several programs open to the general public and to the Emory community.
 
For information regarding the Dalai Lama’s visit, and to register for listserv updates, go to (http://dalailama.emory.edu). All program information regarding public events will be posted to this site as it becomes available.

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