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On Campus

Variety of Events Complements Dalai Lama’s Visit

By Sally Acharya

The Dalai Lama will see a familiar sight when he comes to American University on Oct. 10: prayer flags, a Tibetan Buddhist cultural tradition.

The flags will be made by children attending an arts workshop at the AU Museum and D.C. school children working with teachers mobilized by the School of Education, Teaching and Health, College of Arts and Sciences.

In Tibetan communities, strings of the flags are invariably seen flying across streets, looping from homes, and flapping in courtyards. They are covered with good wishes and mantras, or sacred sayings, to be carried into the winds and spread around the earth. The Washington-area children will write their own hopes and wishes, or draw images to symbolize them, on their versions of the traditional banners.

Schools where teachers contacted by AU have committed to creating flags of hope with their classes include Stuart Hobson Middle School, Anacostia Senior High School, Kimball Elementary School, Capital City Public Charter School, Noyes Education Campus and City Gate Caterpillar Pre-school and Spanish Immersion Pre-school.

The Dalai Lama’s visit to Washington, D.C., will conclude with his talk at AU’s Bender Arena on the power of the human mind within the Tibetan Buddhist perspective and the importance of cultural preservation. The morning talk will be followed by sessions with some of the most senior teachers of Tibetan Buddhism.

The tickets to the event sold out quickly, but even those who won’t get a chance to listen to the Dalai Lama in person will be able to participate in activities surrounding the visit.

Other events

  • Bonds of Interdependence: Tibet and the World
    Through Oct. 12
    A multimedia exhibit at the library, compiled by an AU undergraduate, gives a voice to Tibetan refugees in northern India and students from China as it explores what it means to be a refugee and the legal conflict between Tibet and China.
  • Burma VJ
    Thursday, Oct. 8, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Abramson Family Recital Hall, Katzen Arts Center
    A film on the uprisings in Burma—where Buddhist monks, as in Tibet, have faced off against authority—will be shown by SOC’s Center for Social Media. The film will be followed by a discussion with four Burmese monks who were key players in the protest events of 2007.
  • Books at Campus Store
    Through Oct. 12
    The AU Campus Store is selling books written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other prominent Buddhist scholars. 
  • Sixth Annual Public Anthropology Conference: “Advancing Social Justice in Times of Crisis”
    Friday, Oct. 9, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Butler Board Room, Butler Pavilion
    Perspectives from environmental, labor, liberation, GLBTQ, peace, antiracism, anti-displacement, feminist, indigenous rights, health, disability rights, fair trade, and other social justice movements.