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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Students to hear Dalai Lama

June 10, 2009

By Janet Steffenhagen
The Vancouver Sun

A large contingent of B.C. students will gather Sept. 29 at GM Place in
Vancouver for the first Me to We Day that will include a keynote speech by
the Dalai Lama.

Some 18,000 students are expected - with 2,500 from 89 Vancouver secondary
schools, according to information on the Vancouver board of education

The district's communications manager, David Weir, said the schools will
decide how students are selected. Some will choose a particular class;
others might send their student council.

Although the Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader, Weir said participation in
the event does not violate the law requiring schools to be strictly secular
because the event's focus is global citizenship not religion.

Furthermore, Weir said the Dalai Lama's appearance was not the deciding
factor since Vancouver schools have been involved with other events
organized by Free the Children - the group formed by Mark and Craig

This high-energy youth rally features other top social issues speakers and
performers who  will educate and inspire students to make a difference both
locally and globally," the district's education coordinator Patsy Peters
says in the report she's presenting to a board committee this week.

Surrey schools are sending 1,250 students. Communications manager Doug
Strachan said that was the number of seats allotted to Surrey schools,
although 1,800 students indicated an interest in attending.
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