Dalai Lama to Engage in Education Reform Dialogue at Upcoming Conference

September 10, 2009

On October 8–9, 2009, the Dalai Lama will participate in "Educating World Citizens for the 21st Century," a Mind and Life Institute Conference scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. Dr. Mark Greenberg, director of the Prevention Research Center and Edna P. Bennett Chair in Prevention Research in Human Development and Family Studies, will be the moderator and a speaker at the conference.

The goal of this conference is to explore the value of integrating emotional, intellectual, and social learning into today's educational programs with the intention to promote education research into these areas.  Leading educators, scientists, and policy makers will discuss the importance of researching what effects the inclusion of mindfulness-based curricula and programs can have in educational environments, especially for students exposed to risk factors such as poverty, violence, and divorce.

Research indicates that school-based programs may be the best way for children to develop the non-academic but equally important skills necessary to be successful in our society. Programs across the country that teach mindfulness of the self and others have significantly improved academic performance, work habits, and self-esteem.

“We hope to draw more attention to expanding research into mindfulness-based educational approaches, such as social and emotional learning, and how such reforms can improve attention, self-motivation, self-esteem, and healthy decision-making skills among school-aged children and teenagers,” said Adam Engle, chairman of The Mind and Life Institute.

"Educating World Citizens for the 21st Century" will take place at DAR Constitution Hall. Tickets are on sale with discounts for students and groups of 5 or more and are available through Ticketmaster.

“Our goal is not to promote any particular educational approach, but to generate dialogue and new ideas from experts in this field,” said Laura Baun, operations director of the Mind and Life Institute. “Ultimately, we want to know what the value of contemplative practice is to students, teachers, and parents. Our dialogue with the Dalai Lama will look at what students need and what we can learn by promoting research in these areas.”

Participants in education, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy will participate in four sessions during the conference. The Dalai Lama will be active in each segment, which include “Attention, Emotional Regulation and Learning,” “Compassion and Empathy,” and “Envisioning the World Citizen.”

The Penn State College of Education is co-sponsoring the event.

For more information, visit the event Web site or the organization Web site.

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Editors: Mark Greenberg can be reached at 814-863-0112. For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.