The Dalai Lama, who has held the title of presidential distinguished professor at the private university since October 2007, is scheduled to participate in a series of lectures and panel discussions Tuesday through Thursday.
The focus of his visit this year is promoting “secular ethics,” which is described as a system of shared principles that go beyond religious differences while still respecting and valuing the meaning of religion in people’s lives.
“This visit as a distinguished professor at Emory University is creating a platform for His Holiness to articulate his patient and rational thoughts about what secular ethics looks like, what are its basic foundational principles and how can we go about incorporating that into education,” said Geshe Lobsang Negi, a senior lecturer at Emory and director of the Emory Tibet-Partnership.
The public events during the Dalai Lama’s visit include: a lecture on “The Pillars of Responsible Citizenship in the 21st Century Global Village” and a panel discussion on “Secular Ethics and Education” at the Gwinnett Center Tuesday; an “intro course” on secular ethics with questions from Emory students on Wednesday; and a panel featuring Emory faculty and advanced graduate students and the Dalai Lama discussing his book, “Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World,” also on Wednesday.
The relationship between Emory and Tibet began in 1991 when Negi moved to Atlanta with the blessings of the Dalai Lama to establish the Drepung Loseling Institute, a Buddhist monastery and learning center near campus. In 1998, the university formally launched the Emory-Tibet Partnership.
Emory and the Dalai Lama share a basic vision of a desire “to educate both the heart and the intellect,” Negi said.
The Dalai Lama has visited Emory’s campus five times, including delivering the commencement address in 1998 and two significant, multi-day visits in 2007 and 2010.
Among the programs included in the partnership is the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, which has included the publication by Emory professors of a general science textbook translated into Tibetan. And faculty and students from Emory travel each year to the Dalai Lama’s home of Dharamsala, India, to work with monks and nuns. And monks from Dharamsala have come to Emory to take undergraduate science courses so they can become teachers back in India.