San Jose, CA: In a meeting organised by the Global Leadership Incubator (GLI) organisation on 25 February, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay met with leaders of Silicon Valley to discuss how critical it is to preserve Tibetan culture and provide education to Tibetan children. The meeting was attended by more than 65 Silicon Valley tech leaders, as well as with some representatives of Ivy League institutions and a few philanthropic organisations.
The event began with Dr. Michael and Ana McCullough, who introduced the purpose and the program of the event. They expressed their gratitude to President Obama for meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama a few days ago. It was mentioned that the purpose of the meeting was not to be a fundraiser as such but rather to network the resources of the tech leaders to contribute to the concerns of the Tibetan people. Department of Education (DoE) Secretary Ngodup Tsering then gave a brief presentation on the activities, projects and challenges of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and DoE.
His Holiness then joined the meeting, and in his remarks touched on various topics like the critical importance of both modern and traditional education for Tibetan children, as well as how to develop basic goodness, warm heartedness and compassion. His Holiness expressed agreement with the comment of a participant that Tibetan Buddhism could help spread the Tibetan cultural values of nonviolence, compassion and mindfulness. While agreeing to the shortcomings in modern education for cultivating warm heartedness, His Holiness dwelt on the efforts being made in collaboration with scientists to develop curriculum for promoting secular ethics in schools.
His Holiness concluded his participation by thanking the organisers and the participants for helping with Tibetan education, and mentioned that help is critical as Tibetan culture is on the verge of extinction. He joined the participants for a group photo.
His Holiness spoke for hour and a half before leaving for Los Angeles as the next stop on his busy itinerary. The floor was then taken over by Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay who related his personal story in the course of explaining the daunting challenges of his Administration. He discussed how education is important for the Tibetan people considering the number of Tibetans compared to the Chinese population. In the course of answering several questions, he mentioned how a small grant can lead to a huge impact and finally, invited the participants to visit Dharamsala, the seat of the Central Tibetan Administration. The participants were offered a traditional scarf by Sikyong.
A number of participants, deeply moved by the meeting, expressed their support and help in whatever way possible.
GLI was founded in 2012 in partnership with the Tibetan Department of Education. GLI enabled one student last year to be admitted to Amherst College (which she will attend this year) and three more students this year, depending on their TOEFL scores at the end of March. Based on the past experience, Sikyong announced that next year all the students who secure more than 90% in their Board Exams will be invited for a selection interview for the GLI programs, as compared to the current practice of only interviewing for Gadhen Phodrang scholars.