A gathering of the ages

April 29, 2004, Vol. 30, no. 1
By Yosef Wosk

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Well, hello Dalai.
It was a celebratory gathering for the ages - this confluence of brave souls, vibrant personalities and bold leaders - one in which our university served as a vibrant and gracious host.

Through a series of intricately choreographed events and profound encounters, we were quickened in our evolution toward both a deeper personal commitment as well as in acceptance of our extended universal responsibilities.

We were greeted by three otherwise ordinary individuals from three distant corners of the world: a simple mountain monk, a parish priest and an earnest lawyer.

What made them extraordinary were the choices they had made and the lives they had led.

They emerged as models, symbols of hope in the midst of our daily struggles and exemplars of perseverance in the achievement of global consciousness. It is not an easy task, this role that they play, this bearing the burden of the projections of our highest archetypal ideals that have been thrust upon them.

They represent those among us who have awoken to the realization that their lives belong to the community as much as to their families and that anonymous acts of simple kindness are echoed in their public activism toward the fulfillment of an historical imperative.

These individuals had witnessed too many deaths, had been the target of too much persecution, had lived their lives hovering over the abyss of despair. And yet, there they were before us: now they were hosting our fears, reconciling our concerns, engaging our angst. With laughter and perspective, with necessary strength and heartfelt tenderness, with tears, respect and encouragement they cajoled us to “Be brave and go forth.” That we will.

Yosef Wosk is the director of interdisciplinary programs in continuing studies. He was teaching assistant for Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel at Boston University.

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