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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama to rock GM Place in 2009

October 6, 2008

The Dalai Lama will be in Vancouver next year to deliver the keynote
address at a youth event to promote social justice.
Catherine Rolfsen
The Vancouver Sun
October 3, 2008

The Dalai Lama will be in Vancouver next year to deliver the keynote
address at a youth event to promote social justice.

What do you get when you pack GM Place with 16,000 like-minded
youngsters and bring the Dalai Lama on stage?

The seeds of social change -- or at least that's what Marc Kielburger hopes.

On Sept. 28, 2009, Kielburger and his children's rights organization,
Free the Children, will bring the spiritual leader of Tibet to
Vancouver to headline a one-day extravaganza he describes as a "rock
concert for social good."

It will be the first Vancouver version of Free the Children's annual
Me to We Day, an event that brings Canadian students together with
top leaders and activists in order to motivate them to change the world.

It's the brainchild of Marc and Craig Kielburger, brothers who began
philanthropy in their youth and have since co-authored several
bestselling books.

This year's Oct. 17 Toronto event -- the second held in that city --
features celebrity guests including Mia Farrow, Sarah McLachlan and
the cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Marc Kielburger said he's already getting excited about bringing the
party to Vancouver in 2009.

The Dalai Lama has confirmed he'll deliver the keynote address,
Kielburger said, and anti-poverty guru Prof. Jeffrey Sachs will also be there.

"It's going to be an amazing group of people," Kielburger said.

But, he says: "It's not just an event -- it's really a movement."

The students who come to GM Place will have pledged to take part in
local and international action in the months following the gala,
including Free the Children's Adopt a Village program.

The organization says that after the inaugural Me to We Day in 2007,
student-led initiatives saw 50 schools built, 10 clean water projects
implemented and 200 alternative income projects created in countries
like Kenya, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka. Kielburger wants to see that
number keep growing.

"Now that we're actually bringing it to Vancouver, and the fact that
His Holiness is serving as the keynote speaker, the sky now is the
limit," he said.

Me to We Day events will be held in both Vancouver and Toronto in
2009. But they will be viewed by thousands more via live Internet
feed, and in the months after, youth speakers will bring the message
to hundreds of schools across Canada. Free the Children has already
been talking with several Metro Vancouver boards of education about
how they can support the initiative in the classroom, Kielburger said.

Although participating students are welcome to work on whatever
philanthropic projects inspire them, Kielburger says the movement is
linked by an underlying philosophy: creating a community committed to
positive change.

"The '80s and the '90s were known literally as the 'me'
generation.... We need to swing the pendulum back very far to the
other direction, so people focus more on 'we,' " he said. "And that
has to start with young people."

crolfsen@vancouversun.com
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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