The University of Wisconsin will welcome the Dalai Lama to campus in May to participate in a panel moderated by nationally-acclaimed journalists Arianna Huffington and Daniel Goleman.

The event, “Change your Mind Change the World 2013,” is meant to celebrate the focus of scientific research on well-being and related subjects, Richard Davidson, founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, said.

According to Davidson, sustainable well-being, the central theme of the event, represents the intersection between the two co-sponsors of the event, the Global Health Institute and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, Davidson said. He said these are issues the Dalai Lama has emphasized for many years.

“The Dalai Lama is one of the most visible intellectual leaders on the planet,” Davidson said. “He represents, I think, a very important message and, in a nutshell, it’s that we can all be happier and healthier, and we can cultivate compassion and well-being with the power of our own minds.”

Director of the Global Health Institute Jonathan Patz said the event is unique in that it provides the opportunity to look at individual mental health and well-being and expanding that to larger populations. He said it is important to think about maintaining healthy populations for the present and future. 

According to Patz, the event will not be a scientific meeting, as it is designed to initiate conversations about sustainable global health between leaders across the fields of the environment, economics and health. He said the event should facilitate a dialogue with the Dalai Lama in a more engaged-type of presentation as opposed to “talking heads.”

This is important, Patz said, because the environment, economics and health are so intertwined that whenever they are considered in isolation, “we get in trouble.” He said the Dalai Lama will help orient where the solutions will be for global health.

“This will get people together with multiple perspectives to take a systems approach to problems,” Patz said. “With this approach, we are more likely to find solutions that actually are lasting solutions and not simply just Band-Aids to problems.”

Davidson said passionately advocating for this message is something the world desperately needs more of. He said the event would provide an amazing opportunity for anyone in Madison and the university community to get a taste of the Dalai Lama’s presence.