Dialogue with the Dalai Lama – Educating the Heart in the Early Years

The Institute was thrilled and honoured to co-sponsor the Dialogue with the Dalai Lama – Educating the Heart in the Early Years, held October 23, 2014 at UBC's Chan Centre. 

The sold out auditorium of students listened intently as His Holiness the Dalai Lama provided insights to a panel of UBC researchers and to the audience about his own questions around science research, early childhood development, kindness and compassion.

Peter Wall Faculty Associate and UBC Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychology, Kiley Hamlin, was among one of the panelists. She shared her research in early development of moral cognition, which examines whether pre-verbal infants make judgments about which behaviors and individuals are good and praiseworthy, and which are bad and blameworthy. Her studies suggest that infants come into the world liking niceness and appreciating generosity, she said.  "Young humans are sensitive to goodness, they enjoy being helpful, compassionate and good," she indicated. This means that we need to give kids opportunities to see these behaviours and engage in these behaviours, she added. 

"I have seen no research prior to hers that shows how generosity is built into the human spirit," offered John Helliwell, co-panelist, UBC professor and co-Director of CIFAR's program on Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama ended the event with words of encouragement for the generation of the 21st century. He suggested that we must not think of ourselves as part of a nation, but as part of humanity – as part 7 billion other people living on the planet. He urged the generation of the 21st century to act now to see a more peaceful, humane and happy world at the end of the century.