Dalai Lama Fellows awards highly competitive, yearlong Fellowships works on a project from selected universities and colleges worldwide. Fellows design and launch ambitious, mentored Compassion-in-Action projects in one or more of the following areas:

  • Enhancing understanding and cooperation across peoples and cultures;
  • Diminishing violence and promoting peace;
  • Helping to alleviate poverty through creative initiatives;
  • and,Protecting the environment.

Over the course of the year, Fellows are immersed in a reflective leadership curriculum, where they explore universal human values including contemplation, compassion, emotional resilience, discernment and courage.

Engaging in hands-on projects at sites ranging from Appalachia to Jerusalem, and The Philippines to Kenya, Fellows are connected to a network of outstanding experts in their fields and guided in sustainable social change.

Dalai Lama Fellows learn that cultivation of patience, tolerance for ambiguity, listening to find alignment, resilience in the face of things not going as expected and allowing solutions to generate from a place of openness and humility are what make for exemplary leadership.

In December 2014, Koç University has become a partner of Dalai Lama Fellows program and every academic year a selected Koç University student who runs a community impact project is granted a year-long Dalai Lama Fellowship.



Important Dates:

  • November 18, 2021: Application opens

  • February 1, 2022: Application deadline (11:59pm Eastern US Time)


Info Sessions:


If you have any questions, please e-mail to contemplativeleadership@virginia.edu

Contact at KU: Ms. Arzu Dalyan adalyan@ku.edu.tr and Mrs. Nilüfer Akpınar Şahin nakpinar@ku.edu.tr.

For detailed information click here and check out the program brochure

Dalai Lama Fellows

Let’s Be United! (Anlaş, Kaynaş, Beraber Paylaş)

Let’s Be United! (Anlaş, Kaynaş, Beraber Paylaş) focuses on social cohesion and self-development of Turkish and Syrian children in middle schools in Türkiye since 2018. The project includes several workshops that are based on various game methods and artistic activities to increase children’s abilities to express themselves in order to understand each other better and be more aware of different communities in the society. It aims to improve their communication skills and train them as self-confident and conscious individuals. Let’s be United will improve the school environment with a sense of unity for students of different ethnic groups by spreading its soul all over Türkiye in the future.

Ekin Berk Polat
Dalai Lama 2020 Fellow

Terra the Community Space

One of the greatest challenges that humanity faces is the mismanagement of resources including physical and human capital. Terra is a community space that will invite people from different disciplines and educate them to use their differences to create common good. Terra will act as an platform to enable the unique potential of human beings to contribute to each other's lives for the betterment of society.

Erhan Kaan Bilgin
Dalai Lama 2018 Fellow

Engelsiz Bostan (The Barrier-Free Community Garden):

''Engelsiz Bostan'' (The Barrier-Free Community Garden) was created by turning unused backyard of Sarıyer Municipal Kindergarten into an edible garden, which is accessible to people of all abilities, with the goal of empowering them to grow their own food by using heirloom, non-GMO seeds. In partnership EÇADEM (Koç University Support Center for Disabled Children and Their Families), Ikizler Special Education and Rehabilitation Center and Sarıyer Municipality, 23 children (aged between 4 and 18), 10 young adults (aged between 18 and 25), their family members and their special education teachers have been benefited from the healing power of nature over the course of the fellowship year. I am extremely grateful for being awarded the Dalai Lama Fellowship which has enabled me to witness the community gardens’ potential as catalyst for positive social change firsthand.

Cemre Ağaoğlu
Dalai Lama 2015 Fellow


Reflect is an alternative clothing brand aiming to transform the unconscious consumption habits to social impact while embracing organic and fair trade principles. It aims to rebrand fashion as a tool for self – expression in social causes and alter the donation perception in young generation. For each clothing item bought, the individual will be able to support the solution of a social cause and be a part of the community. Reflect picks its designs from the “heroes” of the social change through various art activities. Change has just strarted through “Education of Disadvantaged Kids” project. Stay updated to be a part of the change!

Egemen Filiz
Dalai Lama 2016 Fellow

Healing Students Inside Out:

Healing Students Inside Out is a project that aims to strengthen connection between students and also connection to self in order to build a safe space for everyone on Koç University campus regardless of their diversity. The project introduces the power of self awareness and self compassion through mindfulness and resilience building tools. The long-term goal is to create a culture of mindfulness on my campus. This project is rooted is my own experience of cultivating self awareness and the benefits this has had for me and for my relationships with others.

Ahmet Onat
Dalai Lama 2017 Fellow