DALAI LAMA FELLOWSHIP
It was a nice experience to be a fellow of the Dalai Lama fellowship. The Dalai Lama Fellowship offers emerging leaders a rigorous, interdisciplinary program on ways to be a different kind of leader, a leader that connects and cares for self, extends genuine compassion to others, and works for the common humanity. Fellows cultivate practices in mind-training for increasing self-awareness, self-care and resilience, for connecting with others and working across differences, and in building solutions for generations to come. Over the course of the year, with the support of mentors and coaches, each fellow designs and implements an original field project addressing a global challenge. Upon graduation, fellows join a lifelong community, where they connect with and support each other while continuing to advance their leadership journeys.
The program awards year-long Fellowships to next generation leaders that are working on social change projects in local communities to address one or more of the following areas: mitigating economic disparity, diminishing violence, gender inequity, improving cross-cultural and interreligious cooperation, and enhancing environmental sustainability.
The fellowship is a yearlong training and community service. This year, 26 fellows, 10 males and 16 females were selected. Fellows’ projects address issues such as mindful and compassionate city planning, empowering formerly incarcerated individuals with free education and utilizing bikes to generate electricity and potable water among others.
The residential training for the programme was at University of Virginia from 18th of June, 2018 to 22nd of June, 2018. It was a programme that was really insightful for me. I got insights on how to be a better leader and change maker. The programme started officially on the 18th of June, 2018 at University of Virginia, U.S.A with an opening ceremony led by Martin Krasney. I was really inspired b this. Later on, introduction was made on our shared values and the overview of the assembly schedule and expectations.I enjoyed the period we were told to show objects that represented our core values. I chose a wrist watch in relation to how the second, minute and hour hand tell us the time. For me, the value of interdependence was so particular to me as a person. The essence of partnering and collaborating made more meaning to me over the years. Another part of that day that really struck me was walking across the line where everybody was vulnerable. Different categories of people were told to walk across the line which showed divides, divisions and gaps in this world. This section was really great for me.
The second day was the visit to Monticello where I learnt about Thomas Jefferson, the former president of the United States of America likewise the founder of University of Virginia. The place we visited was the UNESCO heritage site and it was an emotional one for me. I learnt a lot as I love history. Series of lectures were held like psychology of interconnectedness, compassion in action and radical listening. Later on, I found the storytelling part inspiring as past fellows spoke on their works for the year. I was really amazed on how they pulled their projects through.
The third day was likewise remarkable with the continuation of the storytelling and sections we had later on. In the evening, it was dinner time which was a period of bonding for us all. We got to connect better among ourselves and also with people from another organization. The president of the University of Virginia gave the speech for the night.
On the fourth day, I presented my project. I also also opportune to listen to different projects. I saw compassion at work in the eyes of those I listened to. It was even quite emotional for some as they shed tears. Some had personal stories attached to their motivation to their projects. In the evening, there was talent show. I really loved the show of cultural diversity that night and we all shared common humanity.
The last day was a great one as there was graduation for the 2017 fellows. I saw show of resilience, perseverance and determination. I was motivated to do more for people back in my community. In all, these 5 days were very memorable for me. It was indeed enlightening for me as the power of meditation and deep listening made more meaning to me. The guided nature meditation really was a big one for me. Thanks to everyone who made this possible.