Because of the enormous scope of this event and the large number of people expected, UB planners are working overtime to ensure that all aspects of the Dalai Lama’s visit proceed smoothly.
“Unlike any other program I’ve been associated with at UB since 1980, His Holiness’s visit effectively breaks all the molds that we have developed over the years for facilitating the broad array of UB-sponsored events,” says William J. Regan, director of conferences and special events and cochair of the steering committee preparing for the visit. At this writing, officials have begun to reserve off-campus parking, plan shuttle operations and look for ways to bolster on-campus parking.
September 19—the day of the Dalai Lama’s principal address in UB Stadium—has been designated a “Special Day of Learning.” Scheduled classes will not be held, partly because of the logistics, but also as a means to present a variety of cultural and educational activities leading up to the moment—at 3 p.m.—when the Dalai Lama receives a SUNY honorary degree from UB President John B. Simpson, then begins his address. In addition to the completion of the mandala sand painting that morning, UB faculty will be invited to organize a variety of relevant events and activities that day.
“September 19 will afford both the UB and Western New York communities a unique opportunity to learn about a range of global issues that are not only of particular interest to students and community members alike, but also of abiding concern to the Dalai Lama himself,” explains John J. Wood, associate vice provost for international education. “These may include the defense of human rights, nonviolent conflict resolution, stewardship of the environment, the threat of terrorism, the plight of exiles, refugees and ‘stateless’ persons, the role of education in promoting peace [and] the relation between science and spirituality, among others.”
For example, the UB Art Gallery will be open to view the School of Architecture and Planning’s exhibit of designs for a Tibetan school in Ladakh, as well as displays of Tibetan art and artifacts from private collectors and from the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. A book fair, featuring books, videos, CDs and other items from Snow Lion Publications, publishers of Tibetan Buddhist texts, will be held at various campus locations.
The university’s plan to solicit sponsors for the major events for the Dalai Lama’s visit was approved on condition that proceeds be used to cover the costs of the visit, with the remainder to be used for the Tibetan Scholarship Fund at UB.