Before, after, and in between the forum events with the Dalai Lama at Syracuse University Monday, the Schine Student Center was abuzz with the excitement of the day.
“I just think he represents hope, for so many people,” said SU junior Tara Wyant, whose family is Tibetan. She says that her father was one of 20 children chosen by the Dalai Lama to leave Tibet in the 1960’s.
“Without the Dalai Lama, I wouldn’t be here. So much wouldn’t be happening.”
Students lined up hours before the doors opened to ensure a good seat during the panels, as security buzzers chirped in the background.
Rebecca Wilson, who comes from Los Angeles, said that when the morning forum discussed oil as a source of international conflict, something clicked for the audience. The words of one panelist, Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, stood out to her.
“When a country is dependent on taking resources from the monies accrued from oil and wealth other than the taxpayers, then that is a significant barrier to peace,” Wilson said. “Because that’s what creates the dictatorial regimes that blockade human rights.”
For another listener, the day served as inspiration. Originally from the Cote d’Ivoire, Madeleine Sialou is studying as a Humphrey Fellow at SU’s Maxwell School.
“I know now the kind of strategy I can figure out to contribute to the peace building process in my country,” Sialou said. She is currently doing research about the role of women in post-conflict reconstruction. “Because if we destroy, we are destroying ourselves. So we need to keep everything as reconstructed people, and think about sustainable development.”
Christine Allen is an adjunct professor at psychology at SU. She says she most remembered the Dalai Lama’s message of keeping a peace of mind.
“People get very hopeless when they see all the pain in the world but they don’t know what they can do. But this is a very practical thing that everyone can do differently,” Allen said, sitting next to her daughter, Hannah.
The Dalai Lama will also appear tomorrow during the One World Concert at SU’s Carrier Dome. Ticket sales went towards a scholarship fund in memory of an SU filmmaker killed in Syria, Basel Al-Shahade.