Educators and the community are invited to join His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with world-renowned scholars and K-12 educators, in a virtual conversation on cultivating compassion and dignity in schools.
Co-hosted by the Renée Crown Wellness Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Compassion Institute, the Compassion & Dignity: A Conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Educators event on Monday, Oct. 25 is free and open to the public.
The event offers prominent Colorado educators a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help interview His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Two of the interviewers are current students in the Cultivating Compassion & Dignity for Ourselves and Our Schools certificate and CU Boulder online Teacher Leadership program.
Brittany Rose and Benjamin Inouye are both active educators and exceptional leaders in their rural Colorado school districts. Thanks to a generous donation from the Hemera Foundation, Rose and Inouye are part of an inaugural cohort of K-12 educators who are engaged as learners in the certificate program, and their learning will inform program refinements and expansions.
Rose is a first grade dual-language teacher at Basalt Elementary School in the Roaring Fork School District, and she was part of a team who opened the first K-8 dual-language school in Glenwood Springs, where she found her passion for dual-language education. She has been interested in compassion for some time and thought she understood compassion as an admirable philosophy, but the Compassion and Dignity program at CU Boulder has changed her perception and shifted her awareness and goals as an educator.
My dream is to see that every child is provided an effective environment for learning where the sense of belonging is prioritized and a community rich with understanding can be cultivated."
“My dream is to see that every child is provided an effective environment for learning where the sense of belonging is prioritized and a community rich with understanding can be cultivated,” she said. “If the objective of public school is to educate the public then it actively chooses to remain non-judgmental to the conditions from which we receive our learners. Compassion is taking action without allowing morality to dictate who is and isn't deserving.
“My dream as an educator is to lead with compassion and encourage others to do the same because I believe compassion … has the capacity to change our world for the better.”
Inouye is an eighth grade English teacher at Yuma Middle School in Yuma School District 1, and he also has a passion for languages, speaking Spanish, Cambodian, and some Mandarin. He is also familiar with the varied demands of multiple leadership roles in his school as teacher, coach, bus driver and extracurricular club advisor, and his compassion work is aimed at adding new tools for navigating high-stress situations for himself and his students.
“I hope to connect deeply with those students at the margins, who perhaps have not yet experienced success or belonging,” he said. “I want to help them find their way and cheer for them when they do.”
The Compassion and Dignity for Educators project was developed in response to the needs and dreams of educators, like Inouye and Rose. It brings together Crown Institute and CU Boulder education researchers and practitioners, K-12 educators, and Compassion Institute contemplative experts to design programs and practices to support educators in cultivating compassion and dignity in schools. Educators and students enrolled in the Compassion & Dignity certificate, which can lead to a CU Boulder Master’s in Teacher Leadership when combined with two other online certificate programs.
I hope to connect deeply with those students at the margins, who perhaps have not yet experienced success or belonging. I want to help them find their way and cheer for them when they do."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has spoken for many years about the importance of educating the heart. For educators and young people, this message has never been more important.
Young people carry both tremendous stress and incredible capacity for agency and action, and there’s a need for caring adults who see and support young people and systems that hold their dignity at the center. Educators are essential in tending to the hearts and minds of young people, and yet, they too carry enormous stress and have limited support to realize the dreams that led them to the teaching profession.
In conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, educators will share their experiences and seek guidance about how to bring compassion and dignity into their work and their lives.
Registration is now open for Compassion & Dignity: A Conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Educators on Monday, Oct. 25, at 9:30 p.m. MST (9 a.m. India Standard Time).