July 23, 2014

Iowans pleased at chance to see Dalai Lama

During his first visit to Iowa, the Dalai Lama urged thousands of people to spread the message about the importance of non-violence and education. His Holiness encouraged a curriculum that would teach students moral ethics and compassion toward others during a speech at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Rick Goodvin of Corning was one of the 5,400 people who packed the McLeod Center for Tuesday’s historic event.

“I enjoyed the simplicity and straight forward accessibility of it,” Goodvin says. “It was a very good message that’s a message that needs to be heard by more.” Goodvin made the trip from southwest Iowa, along with his mother and a friend. He said it was a rare chance to see the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

“It’s an important opportunity, something that hasn’t happened in this state or within an arm’s reach of the state for quite some time,” he says. Stephen Hart attended both of the Dalai Lama’s events – the afternoon keynote address and a morning panel discussion on “Education in a Non-Violent World.” Hart says he liked the Dalai Lama’s message.

“It was very informative and it was up-to-date with our current events,” Hart says. “He talked about our president going over to other countries and disarmament. His message has been, since he was born, peace. He was born in turmoil and had to leave his home but since then, he’s become an ambassador of peace.” Hart graduated from U.N.I. this month with a degree in general studies. He’s one of the “new generation” of people the Dalai Lama challenged to respect the views and beliefs of the others in order to bring less violence to world.

The speech wrapped up a day of events at U.N.I. for the Dalai Lama. The exiled Tibetan leader was also presented an honorary degree by U.N.I. President Benjamin Allen during his visit.

By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein