A Groundbreaking Dialogue with Queen Noor, Renowned Author and Spiritual Teacher Rabbi Irwin Kula, and The Sakyong of Tibet
The escalating crises in the world today offer two choices: continuing violence and conflict, or finding a way to move forward towards peace and greater understanding. Never before have we needed more capable leadership than we do now, and no generation will be more affected by these choices than the generation emerging into political maturity.
In a groundbreaking dialogue, three influential leaders, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan; Rabbi Irwin Kula, author of the award winning book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, and President of Clal — The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership; and the Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, a prominent Tibetan Buddhist lama, will address the challenge in a public talk on the power and practice of compassionate leadership at New York University on Sept. 24, and Tufts University on Sept. 25, 2008. Probing their own traditions and experiences, they will examine how their different paths can contribute to a shared vision of interdependence and global connection.
"Today we live in a moment of division, with polarized leaders and polarized followers," said Rabbi Kula. "What would it mean to lead with compassion? Why do we rarely think of compassion as a necessary quality of strong leadership? How would the process and content of leadership be different if compassion was a central quality of leadership? These are some of the questions we hope to explore with tomorrow’s leaders."
Through the conversation, panelists will look at where politics, compassion, and leadership intersect, inviting the audience to imagine a new kind of political leader, new model of heroism, and new understanding of the relationship between spirituality and leadership. Participants will consider how a developed "inner life" relates to more evolved forms of political leadership that could more effectively address world tensions.
"We describe leaders as strong, courageous, and persuasive, but think of compassion in softer, weaker terms." said Rabbi Kula. "However, the qualities ascribed to excellent leadership actually are similar to those required to be genuinely compassionate. In fact, our religious traditions teach us that compassion is a virtue that requires fierce insight, discipline, and courage."
Begun at The Aspen Idea Festival, the Compassionate Leadership program will be traveling to universities nationwide. By engaging the campus generation, panelists aspire to offer young people an opportunity to share their doubts, concerns and aspirations, as they begin to take responsibility for building the society of tomorrow. Exploring this new understanding of leadership — a compassionate leadership that is generated by hope not fear, that is inclusive and that crosses boundaries — panelists seek to provide young people with ideas and practices for developing innovative public policy.
By Judy Epstein from Clal
Click to view a short video of Rabbi Kula at Tufts University...