2014 Wisdom in Action Press Release


Febuary 21, 2014 8:00am PST

San Francisco, CA, February 21, 2014 – His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be the honored guest at a luncheon event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, California, on Sunday, February 23, 2014. His Holiness will acknowledge and thank the 51 highly compassionate individuals who are the honorees of Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2014.

The honorees—24 women and 27 men—range in age from 16 to 85, work in 18 countries worldwide, and represent many ethnicities, cultures, faiths, and backgrounds. Gathered from the far corners of the earth, each demonstrates the timeless and universal human goodness celebrated by every wise culture.

“These individuals have been selected as representatives of the tens of thousands of people worldwide who quietly serve the disenfranchised and work to improve our communities through their personal efforts,” says Dick Grace, founder of Grace Family Vineyards and board chair of Wisdom in Action, the organization hosting the unique celebration. “We don’t see them or hear about them in the daily news, but they exemplify a humanism and heroism to which we must each aspire.”

Among the honorees to be acknowledged are:

  • Mazen Faraj and Nir Oren, who co-led Parents Circle Families Forum, a network of bereaved families in Israel and the Palestinian territories working together for reconciliation and peace;
  • Carol Nawina Nyirenda, a Zambian woman who transformed her battles against HIV, TB, and cancer into a passion for educating and supporting individuals with these and other diseases worldwide;
  • Miguel Rodriguez, who founded Sagrada Familia in Peru to love, educate and care for 1,000 young people who would otherwise be without homes or families;
  • Miagul Sahar, who provides life-saving care to infants as the Nursing Director of Afshar Hospital in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan;
  • Peggy Wellknown Buffalo, founder of The Center Pole, an organization that gives Native American young people from the Apsaalooke Nation the tools they need to succeed in the modern world while retaining the values and traditions of their own rich culture.

 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the exiled leader of the Tibetan people and a Buddhist teacher. The 1989 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama is an outspoken proponent of nonviolence and compassion, and is loved and revered internationally. Wisdom in Action (WIA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of compassion in action. WIA is hosting Unsung Heroes of Compassion 2014, the fourth event of its kind since 2001, to raise awareness that it is each individual’s obligation to help the disenfranchised among us and to acknowledge that each act of compassion makes an important difference to the world.

 Co-hosting the event with Dick Grace will be actor, Peter Coyote, founder of Homeboy Industries, Father Greg Boyle, Takelma Indian Elder of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim, and Zen priest from Green Gulch Zen Center, Furyu Schroeder.