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Dalai Lama's ideals fuel new ethics center at MIT

Nobel laureate to launch center during April 30 visit, followed by Philip Glass benefit concert
The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama
Photo / Donna Coveney

A new center will promote the Dalai Lama's vision of a better world by sponsoring interdisciplinary programs and deliberations on ethics. The center will be formally launched by the Dalai Lama during a visit to MIT on April 30.

"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 alone can fulfill this need," said Tenzin Priyadarshi, the Institute's Buddhist chaplain and the director of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT.

"That is why this center is needed," Priyadarshi continued, noting that the center comes as MIT focuses more intently on preparing students for the challenges of global leadership. "In addressing the very question of what it means to be human and how we can create and sustain positive societies, the center will nurture a new generation of enlightened leaders who will be luminaries for a better world."

Priyadarshi said the center will engage faculty, students and various partners to examine a range of topics, possibly including what biological or behavioral components make a person generous or visionary, for example, or how and why a person's sense of creativity and leadership can be fostered through contemplative techniques.

A collaborative think tank, the center is supported through the generosity of friends who recognize its potential to help shape tomorrow's leaders. It will invite distinguished researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, artists and others from diverse cultural, religious and educational backgrounds to contribute to its objectives through workshops and lecture series.

The center will host its first public conference, "The Human Impact," in late April, featuring remarks by Richard Davidson, Carol Gilligan and Daniel Goleman, among others.

The conference will culminate with an April 30 talk by the Dalai Lama on "Ethics and Enlightened Leadership." The event is open to ticketholders only. Information on obtaining tickets is available at the center's web site. A limited number of tickets will be offered to MIT students via a lottery; details on registering for the lottery will be posted at the center's web site.

Members of the news media wishing to cover the talk should contact the MIT News Office.

Composer Philip Glass will perform a benefit concert, "Ahimsa: A Tribute to Non-Violence & Humanity" following the Dalai Lama's talk. Like the talk, the concert is open to ticketholders only. Information on obtaining tickets to the concert is available at the center's web site.

The Dalai Lama is speaking at MIT as part of a wider visit to New England. He is scheduled to deliver a public address on Saturday, May 2, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

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