Young Global Leaders Attend Dalai Lama’s Birthday Celebration

New York, N.Y. Our Summer Young Global Leaders attended the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebration. Here is what they had to say about the event:


Ben Salom: 

I was honored to attend the 81st birthday celebration of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan school of Buddhism. While he could not attend the celebration in New York City, at Essex House, he was with us in spirit through a prominently displayed portrait and two monks acting as his emissaries. After we sat down to eat, the monks offered an opening prayer in the form of throat-singing accompanied by a sitar played by a woman in traditional Tibetan clothes. After this, and some brief speeches by attending philanthropists including Mr. Luce, everyone in attendance participated in a prayer. We were all given flags, one from every single nation, and prayed for peace to prevail on Earth. It was a deeply moving event.

Israel Santana:

My experience at H.H. the Dalai Lama’s 81st birthday was marvelous and very humbling. Seeing so many people gathering to celebrate H.H. birthday made it a great occasion to network. It was a special moment to take pictures and meet with others who share the common goal of “world peace.” It brought me to tears knowing that New York City is filled with individuals that deeply care for each other and who are taking the necessary steps to help others. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity that my mentor Jim Luce has provided me. The amount of smiles and support that I saw that night gave me the feeling that eventually peace will prevail on Earth.

Leyla Wahedi:

One of the most well respected and spiritual individuals, the Dalai Lama has turned 81 years old this year. Not only as a person was his birthday well celebrated, but also his soul. Throughout history, the Dalai Lama has played an influential role in the world representing peace and overall goodness.

The Dalai Llama’s birthday was not just celebrated by the holiness himself but also by people right here in New York City on July 6th 2016. On Central Park South in the Essex House, people from all walks of life came and celebrated the life of the Dalai Lama and all that he represents.

When walking into the celebration, guests were greeted by people dressed in traditional Tibetan clothing. Before entering, guests were asked which country they would like to represent and given a flag for that country. During cocktail hour, the attendees were able to mix and mingle and talk with others where the center of conversation was about their country. Interesting conversations stirred and many people bonded over having a similar heritage or experience with that particular country.

As the event continued into dinner, people had taken their seats and enjoyed an ensemble of Tibetan throat singers who wore Tibetan monk dressings. The voices of the singers echoed throughout the room and impressed many with the talent that they carried. The singers were then followed by beautiful Tibetan dancers who wooed the crowd with their poise and performance. Not only was their dancing delightful, but their clothing and how they performed as if their costume was a part of their routine was noteworthy.

The key note speaker of the night was a Tibetan monk who has quite a prominent role in Tibetan Buddhism. As he spoke, he stated why the Dalai Lama’s birthday was important to the world. Through bringing everyone together and celebrating someone who represents peace and was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1989, the peace and happiness being contributed in the Essex House can be infectious to the entire world. The Dalai Lama and all of his predecessors should be well celebrated because even more so since the 20th and 21th centuries, they have played an active role in the politics on a global scale. The Dalai Lama has advocated to the United Nations and has gotten more recognition for the Tibetan people, where Tibet is currently an autonomous region for more than 60 years. From all of the strife the present Dalai Lama has gone through where he is currently a refugee of India, he still fights for the independence of the Tibetan people and for them to have their land back from China’s jurisdiction. From his actions and seemingly humbled attitude regardless of his fame, it is important to celebrate the Dalai Lama and also recognize the Tibetan people.

For the ending of the evening, the celebration wrapped up in a flag ceremony. All attendees were asked to take a flag and stand. A woman stood at the podium reciting every country in the world, after reciting every country from one continent, together everyone in the room waved their flag and said “May Peace Prevail on Earth” three times. The repetition and the power of the unison statement rocked the room and a righteous feeling swept over. As people waved their flags together, smiles were taking over people’s faces. The wishing peace upon everyone directly represents from one’s imagination what the Dalai Lama wished as he blew out his birthday candle.

The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation ( There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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