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Dialogues on compassion and Ubuntu
Author: Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation
Published: 31/10/2019

​​Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, the Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), is one of two international scholars who have been invited to participate in conversations with the Dalai Lama on the theme “Compassion, Interconnection and Transformation".

The other scholar is the American evolutionary biologist David Wilson, Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University.

The Conversation between Prof Gobodo-Madikizela and the Dalai Lama, which will be live streamed on 1 November 2019, is an initiative of the Mind and Life Institute, who has been working with the Dalai Lama for thirty years to deepen understanding of contemplative wisdom and to bring science into dialogue with this knowledge.

The institute was co-founded by renowned Chilean neuroscientist Francisco Varela to promote dialogue between neuroscience and Buddhism and its mission is to bridge science and contemplative wisdom and to illuminate people's shared humanity and inspire action.

As leading researcher in the field of trauma, forgiveness and empathy, Prof Gobodo-Madikizela was selected to participate in this event based on her book, A Human Being Died that Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness. The book is based on her reflections on her work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, particularly on several hours of interviews with Eugene de Kock. The book won critical acclaim and literary awards in the United States and South Africa, and has been published six times, including translations in Italian, German, Korean and Dutch.

Gobodo-Madikizela said she was deeply honoured to be involved in this event.

According to her, the values that the Dalai Lama embodies, are in line with some of SU's values.–“In practice, compassion and equity – which are part of our core values – gesture toward this idea of interconnection," she said. “It is about building a sense of solidarity in a way that opens up the possibility to care for others in our community."

*The conversation between Prof Gobodo-Madikizela and the Dalai Lama will be live streamed on 1 November 2019 and can be viewed via this link: