Dalai Lama doesn't mind being called a feminist
Published Tuesday, September 29, 2009 5:53PM PDT
The Dalai Lama says he has no problem being called a feminist.
Speaking to California first lady Maria Shriver, wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger, at a Women and Peace-building conference in downtown Vancouver Tuesday, the exiled Tibetan leader said the role of women in peace building is vital, but often ignored.
"The other day I mentioned whether you call me God king, or Buddha or demon it doesn't matter. I emphasize a special rule for females very much to this world so many people describe me as a feminist."
The 74-year-old said giving women more important roles in society would foster more self-confidence.
"We need a special effort for the purpose of compassion that should make women a more important role," he told the audience.
He says modern democracy makes it easier for female political candidates, with their propensity for kindness, to succeed.
"One of the greatness of democracy is you can show your ability and maybe people are more conscious about sincerity, truthfulness, sincerity in a candidate. For women, this is good."
Shriver, a longtime humanitarian, led the intimate dialogue at the Orpheum Theatre. The mother-of-four has a long history with the Dalai Lama. She visited him in India in 2006 to extend a personal invitation to her annual Women's Conference. The annual event, which unites more than 80 international leaders, is hailed as the largest meeting of women in the United States.
Shriver says she has long been moved by the Dalai Lama's belief that women are the caretakers and educators of our future citizens and society.
The four-day Vancouver Peace Summit wrapped up Tuesday afternoon with a panel discussion bringing together world-renowned leaders from the fields of education, philosophy, politics and philanthropy to explore the ways women are creating a more peaceful world.
Speakers included former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, Bangladeshi social worker Fazle Hasan Abed and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams.
Williams, who served as the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) until February 1998, was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine in 2004.
Speaking to Shriver, Williams said every woman in the world -- no matter what her circumstance -- has the capacity to create change.
"If each and every one of us in the world seized on one thing that made them passionate to change, and acted on it, we would indeed have a better planet," she said.
"Get off your butt and do something. There's no excuse now."
Taking an unconventional route to success
Billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffet's son, Peter Buffet, sang the opening musical interlude, as well as participated in the panel discussion.
Buffet said his father -- the richest man in the world -- was never interested in money, but happened to choose a field that produced a lot of it. Buffet says his father worked in a very feminine way, what he considers a factor in his massive success.
"He will find something undervalued...an undervalued business, and nurture them and show them how they can be successful. That's a woman in my world."
Buffet says women are undervalued in modern society, something that must change to move forward in peace building efforts.
"If you asked a fish what the most unique thing about his environment is he wouldn't say the water. We are swimming in thousands of years of hierarchical top down thinking and we just have to jump out of that fishbowl."