2011 Archives

The Dalai Lama delivers special lecture at SMU

Renowned spiritual leader and Nobel laureate receives honorary degree
Offers 10 thoughts on life and living

The Dalai Lama at SMU


The Dalai Lama's Visit

The Dalai Lama's Speech

The Dalai Lama and SMU President R. Gerald Turner
See a slide show of the visit. icon camera

May 9, 2011

DALLAS (SMU) — The Dalai Lama, renowned spiritual leader of Tibet and a Nobel laureate recognized for his unwavering message of peace, delivered a special lecture at SMU’s 10th Hart Global Leaders Forum on Monday, May 9, at McFarlin Auditorium.  He also received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to approximately 2,000 local high school students, SMU faculty and staff, and about 500 members of the general public.

“Basically we are the same human being – different faith, different race, different language, even different culture. These are secondary. . . The world belongs to humanity, not kings or spiritual leaders,” the Dalai Lama said. “Each country belongs to the people of that country.”

“To look at reality, your education must be broad and holistic. To look at reality, you must be calm. With too much emotion you cannot see,” he said.

The Dalai Lama is renowned for his focus on the commonality of faiths, the need for unity among religions, and the promotion of universal responsibility for other people’s suffering and for global environmental problems.

“The Dalai Lama is a man of peace. He describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk, but in truth, he’s an extraordinary leader whose life of selfless service has given inspiration and hope to generations of people worldwide,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “It’s our privilege to confer upon him our most prestigious and revered tribute, the honorary degree.”

Since its inception in 1999, the Hart Global Leaders program has brought a series of prestigious speakers to the SMU campus for seminars and forums, including former Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The program, which is committed to the development of young people into ethical, responsible leaders and citizens, is made possible through the generosity of Mitch and Linda W. Hart.

“We want to bring someone who would impart his or her experience and knowledge to each of you, and we want someone who would challenge you to think about global issues, opportunities and peace,” said Linda Hart, a graduate of Dedman School of Law. “Today we may have reached the pinnacle in our search for global leaders by bringing you His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to this Hart Global Leaders High School Forum.”

The Dalai Lama’s visit to SMU comes at an important period of transition for the 75-year-old leader. He announced in mid-March 2011 that he would retire as head of state for the Tibetan government-in-exile while retaining spiritual leadership ofTibet.  The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his consistent opposition to the use of violence in his campaign to end Chinese rule in Tibet. He has met with world leaders in 60 countries on six continents. He has authored more than 70 books and received more than 80 honors, including honorary degrees from institutions such as Miami, Lehigh and Rutgers universities.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was recognized at the age of 2 as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.  He assumed full political power at the age of 15 following China’s 1950 invasion of Tibet. Through his monastic education, he earned the equivalent of a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.

With suppression of the Tibetan national uprising by Chinese troops, he was forced into exile in 1959. Since then he has been living in Dharamsala, northern India, the seat of the Tibetan political administration in exile. In 1987 the Dalai Lama proposed a Five Point Peace Plan toward a solution to the situation, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize two years later.


SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.


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