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Forest Whitaker to moderate a panel with the Dalai Lama at the invitation of Starkey Hearing Technologies

On June 23, our CEO/Founder was in Minnesota to moderate exchanges at a panel with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and philanthropist Bill Austin, the CEO of the Starkey Hearing Technologies, and the host of the event. While active in different domains, these three figures have been guided by a common sense of humanity that has shaped the friendship they have developed over the past years.

Two years after his participation in the 80th birthday ceremony of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Forest Whitaker was delighted to officiate again in his company. The Dalai Lama has always been a source of inspiration for our CEO/Founder, including in his humanitarian work where the notion of inner peace is a central part of the training process he has designed to empower young women and men from vulnerable communities as peacemakers and community leaders.

The theme of the discussion, “A Call for Compassion and Conscious Kindness” was an opportunity for the participants to share their views on how to achieve peace in a world of complexity with the invited guests, many of whom business and community leaders.

In his introductory remarks, Forest Whitaker praised the Dalai Lama and Bill and Tani Austin: “All of us are graced today to be here in the presence of his holiness the Dalai Lama who Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa  describes as a beacon of light for our world and this is so important in a time when so many people are feeling that the darkness, pain and fear are starting to control our universe. Let’s remember, when you’re in a darkened room it only takes one match to ignite, and bring light. When many of these matches come together creates a flame. And Bill and Tani Austin have been working tirelessly to bring light and hope so the world may hear.”

In the ensuing exchange, the panel, facilitated by Forest Whitaker, addressed the issues of leadership, education, and compassion.

There was agreement that good leadership should be recognized as a capacity to develop trust among people through compassion. In the words of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, "To be a leader, you need trust. And in order to be develop trust, you need compassion, vision & foresight". A true leader must have a long term vision and awareness of the full picture. Leadership means that one can look at issues from several angles knowing that people are the core of everything. They concluded on a concept of servant leadership whereby leadership is measured by how one serves the others.

In the minds of the panellists, education is key to build healthy minds, bodies, communities and families. Education systems should cover the education of the mind. People collectively need to know more about the mind and emotions so as to practice kindness and better handle emotions. Constructive emotions should be considered as academic subject, just like physical and mental health.

The panelists discussed also on how to nurture compassion.

CEO of Starkey Hearing Technologies and founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation, Bill Austin declared: "Everything we say matters. Everything we do matters. Your small act of caring can make a difference in the world."

In the present world, though, making such differences requires, they concurred, to change materialistic attitudes towards culture and life. Material things only provide physical comfort. Experience of a mental level is crucial. We should be more attentive to the world: consciousness is key.