Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Dalai Lama to get his day in Botswana

His face is recognisable everywhere, and his stature as a religious leader has garnered mass appeal, resounding through bestselling books and his famous talks on spirituality. 

Known popularly as the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso will on the August 17 to 19 touch base on our home soil to converge with various scholars, healers and spiritual leaders to delve the essence of Ubuntu and its ties to humanity and spirituality.

Curated by The Mind & Life Institute, the three-day historic conference is scheduled to take place at the new Indoor Sports Centre on the campus of the University of Botswana and is expected to attract guests from all over Africa. 

“The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and is an internationally revered proponent of secular ethics, inter-religious harmony and human happiness. He is co-author with Archbishop Desmond Tutu of the best-selling Book of Joy. He is also the recipient of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his message of non-violence, reconciliation and reverence for all living beings,” states the Institute’s release.

On what the talks will address, spokesperson of the conference, local author Donald Molosi says there will be several issues discussed: “We will be examining African values and healing practices in light of new scientific research on social connection and trauma. The Mind & Life Dialogue in Botswana explores the potential of Botho/Ubuntu as a framework for healing the legacy and trauma of wars and colonialism, and advancing social justice and women’s equality. In addition the Dalai Lama will also speak from his heart to the public during a separate address.”

“My dear friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu has told me about the beautiful African notion of Botho/Ubuntu, which means: “I am because you are. In participating in the Mind & Life Dialogue, as well as meeting and talking with members of the public, I hope to gain a clearer understanding of this idea and explore ways in which it may help promote compassion and understanding,” states His Holiness.

Some of the dignitaries expected include President Ian Khama and Ponatshego Kedikilwe who is celebrated among the foremost leaders of the liberation struggle in southern Africa.

Conference participants and panelists include renowned international human rights advocate Gra├ºa Machel, Carsten de Dreu, Michael Onyebuchi Eze, and Uri Hasson amongst others. 

Special guests Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, Van Furth and South African musician Vusi Mahlasela are will also feature in the conference.

Thupten Jinpa, Chair of the Mind & Life Institute’s Board of Directors and the principal English interpreter to the Dalai Lama since 1985, described the upcoming conference in Gaborone as “a historic opportunity for the people of Africa to benefit from the unique wisdom of the Dalai Lama”.

The Mind & Life Institute is a non-profit organisation founded in 1991, providing grant funding for research projects and think tanks, and hosting academic conferences.


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