Announcing: The 2020 Dalai Lama Fellows

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Announcing: The 2020 Dalai Lama Fellows

The Contemplative Sciences Center (CSC) at the University of Virginia has selected 20 new emerging social change leaders for the 2020 Dalai Lama Fellows program. The members of this year’s fellowship cohort represent 15 different nationalities, bringing the total number of Dalai Lama Fellows to date to 194 young leaders across 52 countries.
Personal Development in Support of Leadership and Social Innovation
Dalai Lama Fellows (DLF) is an internationally-recognized one-year contemplative leadership program. It’s designed to help young leaders cultivate self-awareness, compassion, and other social and emotional skills to support their own leadership development and well-being as they work to improve the well-being and flourishing of their communities. To apply their learning in action, fellows implement social change projects in their local communities throughout the fellowship year.

Examples of projects from this year’s cohort include reproductive health education in Ghana, transgender advocacy in India, and social cohesion facilitation among Turkish and Syrian refugee children.
During the one-year program, fellows engage with DLF’s unique Head, Heart, and Hands leadership curriculum and receive regular coaching on their leadership development and social change projects. They also participate in a weeklong Contemplative Leadership Assembly, which is typically held at UVA but will be delivered online this year due to challenges related to Covid-19. Throughout the year, fellows also learn from each other’s unique cultures, expertise, and wisdom.
“Dalai Lama Fellows provides tools for cultivating a more aware, authentic, and caring presence that informs all aspects of fellows’ lives, deepening their connections to self, others, and the ecosystems in which they live,” says Anthony DeMauro, Associate Director of DLF. “Through such connection, the fellows are able to truly be responsive to the needs of their communities.”
Spotlight on 2020 Fellows
Zayithwa Fabiano is a 2020 Fellow from Malawi. Inspired by parents who encouraged her to be the change she wants to see, Zayithwa decided to become a medical doctor and devote her skills, position, and intellectual resources to help her community adopt good health behaviors. Through a project she calls Umoyo Wathu, she is collaborating with local artists, musicians, and actors to create culturally relevant health education materials.
Gabriele Costa Bento Garcia, also a 2020 Fellow, created Projeto Sulwe to deliver peace and human rights training to correctional officers in youth detention centers in São Paulo, Brazil. By working directly with the officers, she aims to reduce abuses of power and provide the officers with tools to help detained adolescents reconcile their personal stories and break the cycle of crime and violence. Through the fellowship Gabriele intends to deepen self-awareness of her privileges, challenges, and needs and to nourish lifelong relationships of trust and support within the DLF community.
Hamza Arsbi is a 2020 Fellow from Jordan who founded the Mind Lab, a social enterprise aiming to increase children’s access to quality education in rural and underserved communities across Jordan. Sample projects include helping children develop mindfulness and resilience and learn how to problem solve in more human-centered ways. Through the DLF program Hamza hopes to cultivate the skills and knowledge to become a more collaborative and authentic leader and social entrepreneur.
Related stories from past cohorts: