Dalai Lama accepts Atlanta professorhip

United Press International, Feb 6, 2007

Atlanta, GA, (USA) -- Atlanta`s Emory University named the Dalai Lama as a professor, reflecting a partnership between Emory and Tibetan exiles that includes a comprehensive science curriculum for Tibetan Buddhist monks, the university said Monday. It is the first such appointment the Tibetan spiritual leader has accepted.

Emory named the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner a presidential distinguished professor. He he will deliver a lecture and take part in a conference on science and spirituality Oct. 20-22, IANS reported Tuesday quoting an Emory press release.

The Dalai Lama said, 'I look forward to offering my services to the Emory students and community. I firmly believe that education is an indispensable tool for the flourishing of human well-being and the creation of a just and peaceful society, and I am delighted to make a small contribution in this regard through this appointment,' the release said.

'I have long believed in and advocated a dialogue and cross-fertilization between science and spirituality, as both are essential for enriching human life and alleviating suffering on both individual and global levels. I deeply appreciate that Emory University has made a commitment to fully collaborate with the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives to develop and implement a comprehensive and sustainable science education programme for Tibetan monastics,' he added.

The Dalai Lama is also scheduled to hold an interfaith session on religion as a source of conflict and a resource for peace and give a public talk, 'Educating the Heart and Mind,' at Emory.

'To have a colleague of the Dalai Lama`s stature in our community will be a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to our faculty, staff and students as we strive to realize the vision of educating both the heart and mind for the greater good of humanity,' Emory President James Wagner said. 'His presence will contribute significantly to fulfilling the university`s strategic goals, including bringing engaged scholars together in a strong and vital community to confront the human condition.'

The appointment is the most recent outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, founded in 1998 to combine the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the release said. Emory is recognized as one of the West`s premier centers of study of Tibetan philosophy and religion, largely due to the university`s ties with Tibetan Buddhist institutes of higher learning in India, including the Drepung Loseling Monastery and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet`s government-in-exile.

Many of Emory`s initiatives address the interface between religion and science. The Dalai Lama pioneered a dialogue between science and spirituality, the release said. Emory`s science education program for Tibetan monks and nuns will help realize the Dalai Lama`s vision, IANS said.

As Presidential Distinguished Professor, he will provide private teaching sessions with students and faculty in Dharamsala as well as teach university community members in periodic visits to Emory, which will establish a fellowship in the Dalai Lama`s name to fund annual scholarships for Tibetan students, the release said.

Congress passed a bill in September to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest U.S. civilian honor, for his advocacy of religious harmony, peace and human rights and for his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Tibetan issue through dialogue with China.