Students and faith leaders from Croydon met one of the world’s most prominent leaders of faith via a video conference call on Thursday (October 15) after arranging a video call with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

The event was organised with the help of Croydon’s interfaith humanitarian organization World Humanitarian Drive (WHD), and saw religious leaders from the borough join Croydon school students in a video conference with the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet counted among the most renowned religious figures in the world.

During the call, students posed questions from the coronavirus pandemic to global peace to the monk, who gave his answers patiently via the video call system.

Sacha Dil Devincenzi, 13, from the Oasis Academy Croydon for example asked: “How can we, as students get through this Coronavirus Pandemic spiritually and mentally, as well as help others ?” while another Oasis Academy student, Year 8’s Aiden Clark, asked: “How do you stay at peace when there is so much hurt in the world?”

To the latter question, the Dalai Lama said: “Violence and problems are essentially our own creation, so logically us as individuals should try to create a peaceful life...A peaceful mind is essential. Fear destroys a peaceful mind, while more compassion brings peace of mind...”

Dr Abdul Basit Syed, who founded the WHD, described his feelings after the call:

“I am proud of my achievement for putting our very own Croydon on the world stage for all the positive reasons showing to the world we have the best students who can face a world leader as HH Dalai Lama with commitment to deliver a united peace message,” he told the Croydon Guardian.