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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."

His Holiness Begins LA Visit With Special Programme On Care For Orphan Children

February 22, 2010

Report filed by Tenzin Dickyi, Office of Tibet, New York
Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)
February 19, 2010

His Holiness the Dalai Lama had two main events.
In the morning he joined a small group discussion
on improving childcare worldwide, particularly
care for orphan children. In the afternoon, His
Holiness attended a luncheon reception where he
received the first Whole Child International
Humanitarian Award and participated in a question
and session with TV journalist Giselle Fernandez.

His Holiness started the day at 9 am by holding
private audiences in his room at the Hotel
Montage with members of the Whole Child
International, a charity organisation dedicated
to improving orphanage care-giving that is hosting His Holiness in Los Angeles.

Then from 9:30-11:30 am, His Holiness
participated in a small discussion held in the
hotel titled "Compassion in Action: Cultivating
the Intimate Care for Vulnerable Children
Globally”. There were about fifteen attendees who
included Whole Child representatives, child-care
experts and academics, philanthropists. They
explored how to improve care giving in orphanages
around the world while at the same time promoting
government and institutional funding for better
care-giving for orphan children.

Among the attendees were Nilmini Rubin, Senior
Member of the US Senate Foreign Relations
Committee; Ruth Levine from the Center for Global
Development; Gary Newton, US Government Special
Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children; and
Robert McCall, Co-Director of the University of
Pittsburgh Office of Child Development.

Mrs Karen Gordon, founder of Whole Child
International, which is dedicated towards
improving the lot of orphans worldwide by
shifting the focus in orphan care from speed and
efficiency to love and compassion, introduced the
organisation. Mrs Gordon isolated three elements
that Whole Child seeks to change in the way
orphanages function: management, the caregiver’s
relationship to the orphan and the physical
environment for the child. She added that Whole
Child seeks sustainable improvement in childcare
by focusing on local capacity building, creation
of early childhood specialisation in academia and
elevation of childcare through regulation.

Mrs Gordon’s presentation was followed by a
discussion on the challenges involved in
childcare improvement as well as mentions of
research showing the importance of familial care
for good childhood development.

His Holiness started off his remarks by pointing
out, "Firstly children are also human beings [and
therefore should have human rights]. Secondly,
our hope for a better future entirely depends on
the younger generation.” He went on to emphasise
that when there is lack of inner values such as
compassion, then people exploit each other; the
focus should be on creating a more compassionate
society.  He said, "We must build the next
generation to be a more compassionate
generation." His Holiness stated that if children
receive maximum affection when they are growing
up, then they will grow to be better human beings.

In the afternoon, His Holiness held some more
private audiences. Then at 2 pm he joined a
Luncheon Reception held in the Hotel Ballroom on
the theme of “Children’s Intimate Relationships
in the Early Years – the Root of Compassion”.

At the Luncheon, after Mrs Karen Gordon invited
His Holiness onstage to receive the first Whole
Child International Humanitarian Award.

The award was presented by Mr George Landegger,
board member of WCI and former chair of
Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Then followed a 45 minute Q&A session between His
Holiness and Giselle Fernandez, a TV journalist.
Giselle Fernandez asked His Holiness what
responsibility all of us have to care for
motherless children. His Holiness responded that
among many mammals, humans’ big brains make us
different. Many problems are our own creation, he
suggested, because too many emotions have clouded
our perspective and we can’t see the big picture.
Since a calm, more compassionate mind is
essential, His Holiness urged families with
children to bring up their children to be more
compassionate. He asserted, “If the planet
becomes more compassionate, then many problems
automatically cease.” He said that to ensure that
humanity is healthy, the next generation should
be brought up in a healthy way. “Our whole hope
remains with them. They are the humanity of the
21st century,” His Holiness said. The luncheon
reception was attended by around 280 people.

After the luncheon reception, His Holiness
proceeded to do a series of brief interviews with
reporters from The Associated Press, Newsweek,
Reuters, Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio.
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