Payam Akhavan: B’Hai Human Rights Jurist on Empathy, Interdependence

payam_akhavan_2011-150x200Last night I listened to the CBC broadcast of Payam Akhavan’s speech on his work as a war crimes investigator for the UN, and as a jurist at the Int’l Court of Human Rights at the Hague. Akhavan is a B’hai, and he is now on my list of spiritual teachers that I hold on the altar of my heart. His talk was on empathy, on cultivating intimate empathy with the suffering of people near you, not conceptual empathy at a distance. He also spoke on interdependence with people near and far who endure extreme and unimaginable suffering. His talk was so deeply spiritual, yet secular, and so profound I nearly wept. I have never heard any Buddhist, or any one else, speak with such heart-felt compassion and insight on our interdependence and the need to empathically connect with all human beings. Indeed, he starts his speech by saying that the only thing that will profoundly change the world is empathy.

Beyond Human Rights (Encore Sept 17, 2014)

In the 2014 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture, Payam Akhavan argues that our world needs more than laws and legal niceties: it has to be built on empathy.

Download Beyond Human Rights (Encore Sept 17, 2014)
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:00]

Tuesday, January 6
BEYOND HUMAN RIGHTS

Payam Akhavan teaches international law at McGill University and has worked in and appeared at international courts in The Hague. In the 2014 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture, Payam Akhavan argues that our world needs more than laws and legal niceties: it has to be built on empathy. The Vancouver Human Rights Lecture is presented by The Laurier Institution and UBC Continuing Studies, in partnership with alumni UBC.

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