Admire PM Ardern for showing compassion in the aftermath of terror attack in NZ: Dalai Lama

NEW DELHI: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama Thursday praised New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for taking a compassionate approach in dealing with the aftermath of the recent terror attack in her country and said 21th century should be the century of peace and non-violence.

Responding to a question at a press conference here, he also said, New Zealand serves as a “living example” for others, as to how to respond with calmness and compassion in the wake of such incidents.

New Zealand is one example where a country’s leader tried to deal with a “very sad situation” through compassion, he said when asked about the incidents of violence in the last few years in many countries, stemming from hatred.

“She tried to tackle the problem through non-violence, compassion and respect for others. So, there are methods (to deal with violence). And, although what happened was a very sad incident, there was no further increase in violence,” the Dalai Lama told reporters.

“I really admire the New Zealand prime minister, that lady. She is wonderful. So, that is a living example, and everyone can learn from that,” he said.

At least 50 people were killed and several others wounded in a hate-filled terror attack by a shooter, targeting two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in March.

The attack sparked global outrage drawing condemnation from leaders and institutions around the world.

After the attack, Ardern’s humane approach in consoling a grieving nation and dealing with its aftermath, including meeting the Muslim community members, was widely praised.

The interaction here was held to announce the global launch in Delhi on Friday of a SEE (Social, emotional and ethical) learning programme, hosted by the Emory University in the US in partnership with The Dalai Lama Trust and Vana Foundation of India.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Tibetan spiritual leader asserted that the 21st century should be the “century of peace and non-violence”.

“We saw so much violence in the 20th century, two world wars, and, so we must deal with our problems now with dialogues and non-violent measures. And, through peace we can achieve it,” he said.

The Dalai Lama lamented that most of the problems the world is facing today is “our own creations”.

“Even the killings we are seeing today around the world, doings of humans only… Our education today is only teaching to be materialistic, and not seek happiness. So, in education, that horizon of emotion is necessary and compassion in heart to achieve happiness,” he said.

He also asserted that India is country based on secular philosophy and the country has the “potential to help humanity” by combining modern education with the ancient wisdom of the country.

SEE learning provides educators with a comprehensive framework for cultivation of social, emotional and ethical competencies that can be used in K-12 education as well as higher education and professional education, the university officials said.

“The programme also includes a segment on building resilience in the face of trauma or violence, and how to deal with it in a calm way, so that students do not suffer emotional breakdown or negative impact on their psyche,” said, Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Associate Director for SEE learning at the Emory University. PTI