Prince Rupert’s Hanna Bryant was chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of speaking with His Holiness the Dalai Lama earlier this week, being able to share a personal story and get his perspective on the topic.
The 17-year-old Rupertite was one of seven British Columbia youth selected for a panel that got to speak directly to the Dalai Lama during the Heart-Mind Youth Dialogue event in Vancouver on Tuesday, which celebrated the efforts of B.C. schools to educate the hearts of young people.
Maria LeRose, program manager of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, said the centre put out a call for nominations for students that could recall a time their heart was educated in school, with Bryant’s name being put forward by Prince Rupert’s Aboriginal Education Department.
“Hanna’s name came forward very quickly, actually. She shared her story with us and it was very moving. We thought it would also be very moving for the Dalai Lama,” said LeRose.
“I felt honoured to be nominated, let alone selected, to participate in this very important youth dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Bryant told the Northern View on Oct. 17.
“I can’t help but think of how blessed I am to have gotten this opportunity and am very grateful to the Aboriginal Education board for nominating me.”
In the summer, LeRose met up with the panel of students during a retreat and said Bryant impressed her greatly.
“When we met Hanna there was no question that she was ready for this kind of experience and that this kind of experience would definitely be enhanced with her participation,” she said.
Bryant and the others had several months to reflect on what it means to educate the heart and perfect their questions.
On Friday, Bryant told the Northern View that she was going to ask the Dalai Lama about the role of language and culture in educating the hearts of youth.
“I myself had my heart educated, rather than just my mind, while learning the Sm’algyax language in school from Tammy Blumhaggen and Doug Brown at Lax K’xeen and from Sandra Carlick and Alex Campbell at Charles Hays,” she explained.
Hanna graduated from Charles Hays Secondary School in June, completing her studies a year early. She is presently attending Middlebury College in Vermont, a Junior Ivy liberal arts school, where she first was able to listen to the Dalai Lama speak while visiting the campus in the fall of 2012.