B.C. youth rally counts governor general, Dalai Lama among celebrity crowd

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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VANCOUVER - A star-studded lineup more befitting an awards show than a youth empowerment festival invaded Vancouver Tuesday, as thousands of students and some influential celebrities gathered to mark We Day.
Dubbed "The Day We Change The World," the event called on students to combat local and global challenges and featured visits from singer Sarah McLachlan, actress Mia Farrow, and activist Jane Goodall.
While McLachlan's performances of her hits "Angel" and "World on Fire" drew loud cheers from the more than 16,000 students in attendance, it was the Dalai Lama and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean that brought the crowd to its feet.
"You are the seed of a better future," the Tibetan spiritual leader told the attentive crowd.
"Let us make this whole world (a) world of smiles. Then wherever we go, we see our friends and immediately you see friendship develop, trust develop."
The Dalai Lama warned that the 20th century was one of violence and urged those in attendance to make the 21st century a peaceful one.
"Peace does not mean no longer any problem, no longer conflict. Some form of differences, some form of conflict, (is) always there," he said.
"Now peace means when there is possibility of conflict or violence, using our common sense and . . . compassion."
The 74-year-old Buddhist leader drew laughs from the crowd during his half-hour speech, including when he spoke of the "beautiful, quite young, attractive" faces in attendance.
Jean kicked off the festivities Tuesday.
During her speech, the governor general said youth have the power to change the world for the better.
"As I look across the stadium, all I see are thousands of eyes glowing with the conviction that we all have the power to change the course of the world," she said.
"Your actions have the potential to make a tremendous difference in the lives of people living in some of the most atrocious circumstances."
We Day is a initiative of the non-profit organization Free the Children, which has education and development programs in 45 countries around the world and counts more than one million youth as members.
Another We Day will be held in Toronto Oct. 5.
After her performance, McLachlan said she it was an honour to play at the festival.
"For me as an artist, it's such an easy thing to come out and sing a couple of songs. It's an incredibly selfish thing really because it just makes me feel good to be able to be a part of this," she said.

Geographic location: VANCOUVER, Toronto

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