This past week was an amazing one for Marcelle and me as we were fortunate enough to attend two remarkable events that were truly inspirational. First, we were at the Heart Mind Summit, at which His Holiness, the Dali Lama challenged British Columbians to "be the village".
The summit brought together a stellar panel of leaders from the business, community, education and arts sectors that discussed the progress of teaching youth the power of love and compassion. I have to admit that I had no idea as to the truly remarkable achievements that have been made already in introducing these concepts through concrete and measureable methods into the majority of B.C. schools.
The Dali Lama displayed the staggering humilty that he is known for as well as a playful wit and the charming ability to laugh at himself. At one point, a disciple brought him a towel to mop the perspiration from his brow, which he did, and then folded it and perched it atop his head, exclaiming that it was an admirable hat. He left it there for the remainder of the conference, using it to shade his eyes from the glare of the overhead lights.
His messages were profound, his replies to questions well-thought out and very meaningful, and overall it was both a treat and an honour to be in his presence.
Wednesday, we attended We Day Vancouver at Rogers Stadium, along with 20,000 public and high school kids from all over the province. WOW! This affair ran from 8AM until 2:30PM and was essentially a non-stop extravaganza of presentations by leaders of the global compassionate community, celebrities and musical acts.
Hosted by Selena Gomez, a hip and very together 22-year old actress, the day was a collage of short presentations about what remarkable progress has been made over the past year by the students attending the event such as building schools in third world countries, enabling women in Africa to start businesses that literally change their world, and so on.
Interspersed between the presentations were numerous performers who came out to do one, or in some cases, two songs, and the kids quite obviously adored them as the level of screaming was ear-splitting. Here are pictures of some of the acts.
When a short break was required to dress the set or to move the hosts, there were "crowd pumpers" who lead the kids in the We dance.
When Orlando Bloom came out to convey his personal story of how he became socially conscious, all the girls in the arena simply wilted (while simultaneously screeching). :)
Many of the stories being reported included people from the actual locations, such as these girls from Africa who told of their delight in being able to go to a newly-built school and learn a vocation rather than being married at fourteen. It was both remarkable and poignent.
As we came to the finale, everyone was in awe that the surprise special guest was none other than Jennifer Lopez!
J-Lo and band were simply incredible, and even though they only did two numbers, and the kids were an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.
It is truly remarkable that these young people have so much to offer and are so willing to make a difference in this world. With the widespread advent of social media and personal electronics, the global community is within reach of all of us, and seeing the incredible difference these youngsters, and most importantly, their teachers, who have enabled much of these ideas and thinking, it gives the theme of "Changing Me to We" a solid and profound resonance.
The energy all throughout the day was palpable and genuine and for those of us honoured to be guests there, it was an experience we'll never forget.