Dalai Lama – Washington D.C. – Schedule, Tickets – Mind and Life Conference
On September 11, 2009 | 0 Comments

Mind and Life Conference in Washington, DC, USA on October 8 & 9: His Holiness will participate in a Mind and Life Conference on the theme of Educating World Citizens in the 21st Century. The conference will feature educators, scientists and contemplatives discussing issues on Cultivating a Healthy Mind, Brain and Heart to be held at the DAR Constitution Hall.

Contact Website: www.educatingworldcitizens.org

Speakers and Panelists


Tenzin Gyatso – The XIV Dalai Lama

Marian Wright Edelman, J.D. – Children’s Defense Fund

Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D. – University of Wisconsin – Madison

Linda Lantieri, M.A. – Inner Resilience Program

R. Adam Engle, J.D., M.B.A. – Mind and Life Institute

Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Ph.D. – University of Michigan


Peter L. Benson, Ph.D. – Search Institute

Martin Brokenleg, Ph.D. – Vancouver Institute of Theology

Ronald E. Dahl, M.D. – University of Pittsburgh

Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D. – Stanford University School of Education

Nancy Eisenberg, Ph.D. – Arizona State University

Mark Greenberg, Ph.D. – Pennsylvania State University

Takao Hensch, Ph.D. – Harvard University

Anne Carolyn Klein / Rigzin Drolma, Ph.D. – Rice University

Kathleen McCartney, Ph.D. – Harvard School of Education

Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D. – Shechen Monastery

Lee S. Shulman, Ph.D. – Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Moderators / Interpreters

Daniel Goleman, Ph.D. – Mind and Life Institute

Joan Halifax, Ph.D. – Upaya Institute

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. – Institute of Tibetan Classics


How can our educational system evolve to meet the challenges of the 21st century? How will we educate people to be compassionate, competent, ethical, and engaged citizens in an increasingly complex and interconnected world?

The urgent challenges of a globalized and interdependent world demand a new vision of world citizenship that is not confined to national boundaries, but encompasses moral and ethical responsibilities to all humanity. People coming of age in the 21st century will need to develop unprecedented levels of intercultural cooperation, mutual moral concern, creativity, and skill in effectively addressing the challenges of the world today – challenges economic, ecological, and inter-cultural/religious in nature. An education that will prepare young people to become competent and compassionate world citizens in such a context cannot be measured only in terms of cognitive skills and knowledge, but must address wider aspects of the heart, including skills and qualities of awareness associated with conscious self-regulation, ethical and social responsibility, and empathy and compassion for others.

Mind and Life XIX brings together world-renowned educators, scientists, and contemplatives, with the Dalai Lama presiding, to explore new avenues for science and educational practice related to the cultivation of these positive human qualities —mindful awareness, self-control, social responsibility and concern for the welfare of others –among children, youth, and the adults who educate them. This interdisciplinary dialogue will honor insights from various perspectives on this issue, including those from educational theory and practice, philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and the wisdom of contemplative traditions. Our intent is for the synergy of these converging disciplines to inspire and support visions of education that focus on the development of the whole person (including both students and educators) within more caring and effective school communities. At the heart of this dialogue is a shared vision of an educational system that nurtures the heart as well as the mind, and that creates compassionate, engaged, and ethical world citizens whose skills and abilities are not only used for personal growth and advancement, but also for the good of the world.

Educators have recently seen impressive results in the field of social and emotional learning (SEL), a form of education that helps children and adults develop fundamental social and emotional skills conducive to life effectiveness. Studies have documented that SEL has a positive impact on promoting ethical and pro-social behavior in young people as well as supporting their academic learning. The success of social and emotional learning programs is encouraging educators to explore other practices such as those found in the contemplative traditions that may also cultivate, strengthen, and extend skills that SEL teaches.

The world’s great contemplative traditions encompass a shared wisdom on key ethical virtues such as non-violence and empathic concern for the welfare of others, as well as a vast array of specific techniques, including different forms of meditation and reflective practices, that aim to cultivate such virtues. In adults, studies are beginning to document how these practices promote better emotional regulation, improved attention, increased calm and resilience, better stress management and coping skills, and the deliberate cultivation of qualities such as compassion and empathy.

Neuroscience is beginning to build a body of evidence on the positive effects of contemplative practices on the minds, brains and bodies of adults. This leads to the question: would intervening earlier in life to teach young people healthy habits of mind, heart and body amplify the benefits of contemplative practices across the entire lifespans of individuals and provide a host of positive “downstream” preventative and health-promoting effects? As a starting point, research on practical applications for the promotion of stress reduction, health, and well-being is beginning to be examined in relation to the childhood and adolescent periods. Central to this emerging work is an exploration of how to provide contemplative practices to the adults in the lives of children and adolescents – parents, teachers, youth workers and so on – as one key way of “educating” the young in these practices through role modeling. Indeed, it is likely that the most beneficial effects of introducing contemplative practices to young people will occur when educators and parents model the positive qualities arising from such practices themselves. The goal is to “be the change we wish to see in the world” as Gandhi put it. Moreover, since school is often one of the most stable environments for children and youth exposed to developmental risks, focusing on school-based programs may be the best way to help children develop the non-academic skills necessary to be successful and contributing members of 21st century society.

The time is clearly ripe for scientists, educators, and contemplatives to plan collaborative research on how contemplative practices might be adapted for use in the classroom and how to assess their pedagogical value. Adapting contemplative techniques that were originally embedded within ancient cultures to the secular setting of public schools requires an interdisciplinary approach that includes those with expertise in educational practice, applied and basic science, and the wisdom of the contemplative traditions themselves. This meeting aims to identify new avenues of scientific inquiry and educational practice that aim to cultivate positive qualities that are particularly important in the global context of the 21st century.

Schedule and Sessions

Conference Overview

Session Title



Introduction and Welcome Thursday, October 8 9:00–9:15am
Session One:
Envisioning the World Citizen
Thursday, October 8 9:15am–12pm
Session Two:
Attention, Emotional Regulation, and Learning

Thursday, October 8

Session Three:
Compassion and Empathy

Friday, October 9

Session Four:
Integrations, Reflections, and Future Directions

Friday, October 9


Session Descriptions

Introduction and Welcome
Thursday, October 8, 2009 • 9:00–9:15am

R. Adam Engle, J.D., M.B.A.
CEO and Chairman, Mind and Life Institute

Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Ph.D.
University of Michigan

Session One: Envisioning the World Citizen
Thursday, October 8, 2009 • 9:15am–12pm


HH Dalai Lama
Marian Wright Edelman, J.D.


Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D.
Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D.
Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Ph.D.


Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D.

A deep understanding of our individual and collective responsibility to humanity as a whole, and to the environment, will be essential to our survival in the globally interdependent world of the 21st century. How do we prepare young people to take up and meet these challenges through novel forms of teaching and learning such as those involving contemplative practices in both formal and informal educational environments?

What are the positive qualities that future citizens will need to respond to these challenges with compassion, wisdom, creativity, and skill? Looking at exemplary individuals whose lives inspire us, can we determine what qualities constitute a ‘good’ person in the modern world? How do such qualities develop, and how can we support that development in formal and informal educational settings? Over many centuries, the world’s great contemplative traditions have refined various techniques to cultivate moral and ethical virtues such as compassion and caring, emotional balance and resilience, and calm and focused attention. Can contemplative practices be adapted from their traditional cultural settings to the secular context of schools and after-school settings so that they can cultivate disciplined habits of mind and heart in young people and those who educate them alike? Are there opportunities for synergy here with the historically strong focus in American public education on moral development and character education?

This session will present the shared insights of world-renowned leaders in education, moral philosophy, secular ethics and contemplative practice, and development science regarding a renewed vision of public education – one that draws upon both the wisdom of contemplative traditions and their associated practices as well as the cutting edge ideas in education and the sciences of human learning and development.

Session Two. Attention, Emotional Regulation, and Learning
Thursday, October 8, 2009 • 2:00–4:30pm


Richard Davidson, Ph.D.


HH Dalai Lama
Ronald Dahl, M.D.
Mark Greenberg, Ph.D.
Anne Klein, Ph.D.
Kathleen McCartney, Ph.D.


Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.

Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D.

Self-regulation—the ability to be aware of our attention and emotions, and to direct them consciously – enables the mind to focus in ways that support academic learning and positive social relationships. Self-regulation enables us to make conscious choices in response both to our outer experiences and to the feelings and thoughts they engender within us. The habits of mind and heart that are involved in regulating attention and emotion are the foundation of the ‘self-knowledge’ and insight that are among the classical aims of education. These habits are also essential for cooperation and responsible moral conduct as a community member, as well as for personal resilience in the face of adversity.

As neuroscience probes the brain’s executive functions that control attention and emotion, we are beginning to understand how malleable these mechanisms are. Self-regulation is a learnable skill as well as a prerequisite for other forms of learning. Beyond the common-sense observation that better attention in the classroom leads to better learning, practices that hone mindful awareness and focused attention may also foster critical thinking, deeper comprehension, and meta-cognitive skills associated with learning how to learn. We are beginning also to understand the brain mechanisms that link early experiences of either stress or nurturing care, to later emotional health and self-regulation, and to identify developmentally sensitive periods of growth.

Recent programs in SEL have shown impressive results in teaching children techniques for emotional regulation in social interactions. Meanwhile, neuroscientists have been studying contemplative practices that hone attention and emotional regulation in adults. The evidence from adult studies is compelling, and suggests that, with insight from developmental neuroscience and psychology, practices such as those found in the contemplative traditions like mindfulness meditation may also cultivate, strengthen, and extend the habits of mind and heart that SEL teaches.

In laying the groundwork for collaborative research projects to explore such possibilities, the dialogue participants in this session will consider how a variety of pedagogical practices, contemplative and otherwise, may be effective in fostering self-regulation among parents, educators and students; how ethical values form an essential part of the use of contemplative practices in this regard; and how important issues remain about how best to introduce contemplative practices in culturally- and developmentally appropriate ways. Developmental issues are especially important here: from earliest childhood, when self-regulation creates a stable and safe space for cognitive learning, through adolescence, when self-regulatory capacities can creatively and productively channel the energy unleashed in puberty; to adulthood where one continues to refine such skills and brings them into the world in more prominent ways with children and youth (e.g., in schools).

Back to Top

Session Three: Compassion and Empathy
Friday, October 9, 2009 • 9:30am–12pm


Linda Lantieri, M.A.


HH Dalai Lama
Peter Benson, Ph.D.
Martin Brokenleg, Ph.D. Nancy Eisenberg, Ph.D. Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D.


Mark Greenberg, Ph.D.


Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D.

Compassion and empathy are fundamental to moral and character development and to any vision of a kinder, more just, and more caring society and world. Complex emotions that embody an awareness of one’s interconnection with others, compassion and empathy serve as a foundation for altruism, cooperation, helping, and other prosocial behavior. The Dalai Lama notes that human beings have a natural propensity for compassion and empathy but “need specialized training” to extend this feeling beyond the immediate circle of family, friends, and others we identify with closely. A key challenge in educating world citizens is expanding this circle of concern to encompass the wider, interdependent world in all its diversity. Educational strategies that aim to build respect for diversity may be most effective when focused both on the value and experience of such diversity, as well as on deep commonalities in the human experience that transcend culture (e.g., the desire of happiness).

Contemplative traditions have approached compassion as a learnable skill that ideally develops into an enduring positive quality, transforming our automatic response to the world from a reactive and self-centered mode to a more reflective and other-centered mode. The cultivation of compassion, empathy, and other virtuous emotions is traditionally taught through a rich, culturally embedded repertoire of reflective and cognitive techniques, as well as role modeling. Is it possible to extract the core wisdom of these practices from their religious and cultural origins without disempowering them; and if so, may they offer a valuable resource for the aims of moral and character education in secular societal contexts like schools? What are the elements of school culture which would have to change to realize these benefits?

Contemplative practices that cultivate compassion and empathy may also support cognitive learning and help young people to discover meaningful purpose in their lives and passionate engagement in their immediate and far-reaching communities. Such practices could complement, or be integrated into, on-going curricular and instructional efforts aimed at teaching students about civic engagement, social justice, ethical responsibility, and moral decision-making in deep, enduring, and transformative ways. Research on brain processes underlying prejudice and intolerance suggests that contemplative practices that improve attention and emotional regulation can also bring prejudice into conscious awareness and thus offer a fulcrum for change. Other studies have examined factors that determine how empathy for the suffering of others may transform into compassionate, helping behavior rather than overwhelming sadness or fear. Collaboration between educators, scientists, and contemplatives on issues such as these could bring us closer to new understandings of how best to educate the compassionate heart in developmentally appropriate ways.

Back to Top

Session Four: Integrations, Reflections, and Future Directions
Friday, October 9, 2009 • 2:00–4:30pm


HH Dalai Lama
Takao Hensch, Ph.D.
Lee Shulman, Ph.D.
Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D.


Roshi Joan Halifax,


Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D.

This final session will offer reflections on the previous two days of dialogue and will serve to integrate and explore new ideas that have been sparked by the process. For example, participants in the final session will discuss windows of opportunity in which the developing brain is optimally receptive for the cultivation of particular mental qualities associated with attention, emotion, empathy and compassion that have been discussed in the meeting. They will also discuss the institutional and social contexts of schools today that could facilitate or hinder efforts to introduce contemplative practices in K-16 education. Furthermore, the question of how the introduction of contemplative practices in formal educational settings could complement, expand upon or reframe contemporary educational reform efforts at these various levels, to the extent such practices are adapted for public education settings in culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate and thoroughly secular ways will also be discussed.

The overarching aim of this session is to develop a set of tractable scientific questions regarding the use of contemplative practices in educational contexts that can be researched in the near future, and that ultimately may inform educational practice and policy in ways that benefit teachers, students, and their families. As just one example, consider a key principle in the contemplative traditions – the importance of embodiment. Embodiment refers to our ability to “give form through our verbal and non-verbal behavior” to certain cherished qualities, for instance, kindness to others. In this context, one hypothesis is that the embodiment of qualities like compassion, empathy, and mindfulness in adults and older peers is a powerful form of social role modeling that teaches the young important lessons about how to become a responsible member of a family, a peer group, a school, a community and a society. For students to learn the skills needed for world citizenship and personal responsibility in the 21st century world, one hypothesis is that if these qualities are to be successfully developed in students, teachers must model such skills and behaviors themselves in a school context that is supportive of such skills and behaviors at all levels. That is, teacher embodiment of these skills, as well as a supportive school environment, really matter for students’ motivation and capacity to learn and embody such qualities themselves. From this perspective, a key priority in this work going forward is to inquire into how teacher training and direct service programs on compassion and mindfulness for teachers and parents may form a necessary, but not sufficient condition for the cultivation of these qualities in young people. In addition, such work will need to address issues of context: How can school leaders support the cultivation of positive habits of the mind and heart in the whole school culture? How can educational leaders design and implement “mindful and compassionate communities of learning” for students, teachers, parents and educational leaders alike?

Ultimately, we envision an education system in which young people are recognized and educated as cognitive and emotional, ethical, and social beings whose lives are deeply interconnected with others; one that lifts their spirits and engages them fully in active, meaningful learning, and that cultivates the positive qualities necessary to be a caring and contributing member of the world community in the coming years The world’s contemplative traditions are a precious resource that can contribute to the education and development of people who are compassionate, ethically responsible, and in control of their mental lives and who, as a result, are positioned optimally to meet the extraordinary political, social, and spiritual challenges of our time

Contact Website: www.educatingworldcitizens.org

Receive News about our Transformational Films:

New Inspiring Films, Red Carpet Premieres, Personal Stories and insights from Director Khashyar Darvich:

Sign up for our Wakan Films email newsletter and receive the very first and latest news from Director Khashyar Darvich and Wakan Films about the release of our new inspiring films, and where they are screening near you.

We will never share your email address with anyone, and will only send occasional important updates

You Might Also Like:

Leave a reply

  • SIGN UP to receive our Newsletter Updates about our Transformational Films:

    Sign up for our Wakan Films email newsletter and receive the latest news from Director Khashyar Darvich and Wakan Films about the release of our new inspiring films, and where they are screening near you.

    Your E-mail:
    Your Name:
    Location: (City, State, Country)
    We will never share your email address with anyone, and will only send occasional important updates