A Visit with the Dalai Lama

Education Professor Joins Conference in India for Human Education in the Third Millennium Project

If you received an email one day with Russian characters in it, you would probably think it was a scam. That’s what John Weaver, Ph.D., professor of education first thought.

“I got an email from Russia,” said Weaver. ”It was from the organizer of the Human Education in the Third Millennium project, and she’s a professor in Russia. When I saw it, my first thought was, well, is this a scam?“

An Invitation to Meet with the Dalai Lama

What Weaver received was an invitation to participate in the first organizational conference of the Human Education in the Third Millennium project at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, India. He would be joining 14 senior philosophers, an anthropologist and educators from around the world at the conference.

Weaver was asked to join because of his work and many writings dealing with posthumanism, a theory that critically analyzes traditional ideas about humanity and the human condition.

The committee was tasked with planning the project’s World Forum which focuses on the obstacles of educational equality on a global level. Originally planned for December in Delhi, India, the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the forum until 2021.

The desired outcomes of the forum are a declaration on education which confronts contemporary trends that pose a danger to humanity, and to identify the approaches to education that offer value.

“An educated person has a better life than someone that’s not educated,” said Weaver. “In many countries the powers that be are not interested in making sure that everyone has access to a quality education.”

The Dalai Lama (Center) poses with John Weaver, Ph.D. (Far Left) and the other educators, philosophers and an anthropologist who participated in the first organizational conference of the Human Education in the Third Millennium project.

The Mountain Compound

The group met in the Dalai Lama’s residence because at nearly 85, he has trouble getting around. His compound is built in a mountain in the Himalayas and he requires a Land Rover to get from one building to the next.

“The first thing I remember seeing when I arrived was a sign saying Tibet, Parliament in Exile,” said Weaver. “The Tibetans created this whole city in exile and they built it from nothing in a mountain. They literally live in the mountain. It’s very hard to get there and even harder to get out.”

The Dalai Lama was the honorary keynote speaker at the conference.

“When the education system is focused on materialistic goals, as modern education too often is, those brought up under it tend to follow a materialistic way of life,” he said. “…This kind of meeting confirms that modern education is not sufficient. And for that reason I hope discussions will continue into the future.”

“He’s deeply interested in education,” said Weaver. ‘He spoke for an hour and a half on why education is important in the world. And hopefully this forum will help change education’s future direction.” — Liz Walker