The Dalai Lama is an unusual leader. He's non-violent and he'd rather listen than tell people what to think.
He might answer a question with the words, "I don't know," a somewhat refreshing alternative to the responses most frequently spoken in current politics.
"What he shows people is that with a non-violent approach and by being open, he can have a stronger impact than the Alpha Males we're used to," said Danbury Attorney Agostinho Ribeiro, who attended Thursday's lecture at the O'Neill Center on Western Connecticut State University's Westside campus. "He's disarming."
"He reminded us we are all part of one humanity. I'd like to continue to keep that in mind," Ribeiro said.
Kai-Dee Beach, 21, a senior at WCSU, said what surprised her was his sense of humor. Beach saw the lecture on the live simulcast in the Ives Concert Hall on the midtown campus.
"He was so interesting. All of it was news to me. I feel happy right now," Beach said. "He wore a WCSU visor."
Sitting across the Ives Concert Hall from Beach was Patricia Bowen, who graduated from what was the Danbury State Teachers College roughly 50 years ago in elementary education, and she said hearing the Dalai Lama talk about emotional education was like coming in a full circle for her.
"The best of what I learned in my entire educational career I learned here," Bowen said. She said the university hosting the Dalai Lama makes perfect sense. "I'm delighted to see how the university has grown."
The Dalai Lama will speak again at WCSU at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Westside Campus. Expect traffic delays on Mill Plain Road starting at about 7 a.m.