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Dalai Lama to launch think-tank at MIT

April 15, 2009 10:28 IST

The Dalai Lama will launch a think tank named after him at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on April 30, with an inaugural public conference.

The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values, the fourth such center in the world, seeks to promote the Dalai Lama's vision of a better world by sponsoring interdisciplinary programs and deliberations on ethics. Attending the two-day event, among others, will be former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam.

The event will also feature a benefit concert, 'A Tribute to Non-Violence and Humanity,' by composer Philip Glass.

MIT said that as one of four centers to which the Dalai Lama has lent his name, the center hopes to set up educational programs that transform the conversation about the social, economic and environmental impact of decisions being made by a new generation of leaders.

The center aims to nurture self-aware, responsible and caring leaders with moral purpose, and to foster dialogue between scientists, technologists, policy-makers and religious leaders concerning ethical responsibility and enlightened leadership.


Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Betty Williams, all Nobel peace laureates, are founding members of the initiative.

'Economies and societies can no longer be thought of separately, for they are intertwined in a global community,' said Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. 'Our actions as individuals and as societies affect not just ourselves but our global neighbors. It is imperative that we contemplate and understand our relationship to each other as individuals, as countries, and as inhabitants of our planet,' he said in a statement ahead of the event.

'There is much work to be done to integrate the various fragments of life and its general understanding through interdisciplinary inquiry, and no one intellectual discipline can fulfill this need,' said Tenzin Priyadarshi, the institute's Buddhist chaplain and the director of the new center. That, he said, was why this center was necessary.

Priyadarshi said the center would engage faculty, students and various partners to examine many topics, including what biological or behavioral components make a person generous or visionary, and how creativity and leadership can be fostered through contemplative techniques.

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York