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CUNY Law honors Indian woman prison warden

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Kiran Bedi received the Doctor of Laws degree after a unanimous vote by graduating students and teachers at the law school. To celebrate the honorary degree, CUNY School of Law flew Bedi from India to Queens, where she spent the day celebrating with students and teachers and providing advice on stress relief practices, now that the graduates will be applying their newly acquired law enforcement skills.At a meeting with the graduates last week Bedi, who recently returned to India from two years of service as the United Nations Civilian Police Adviser in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Manhattan, congratulated the students on their success and encouraged them to continue in their meditative exercises.Meditation has since become part of the standard curriculum at CUNY in conjunction with the law school's regular law classes."When you are applying meditative practices, you are at peace," Bedi said. "You're spreading peace and you're spreading joy. The sun doesn't ask if it's a light. It is a light. That's what this meditation practice is. You are a light because you are lit within."Throughout her career, Bedi has been recognized for her success in applying meditation in prison systems, including the notorious Tihar prison in New Delhi, the largest in the Asia Pacific region. A long list of awards and recognitions can be found on her resume due to her implementation of such practices. As a drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation service, the Indian police organization Navjyoti Delhi Police Foundation, which she started, received the United Nations Serge Sotiroff Memorial Award for its treatment of more than 12,000 drug addicts under Bedi's direction.Bedi said meditation as rehabilitation is still in its infant stages in governmental applications. However, law schools around the world are beginning to implement the programs in contemplative practice as part of their standard curriculum, she said."The reason is, they say they just want to create better lawyers," Bedi said. "Not to just create people who know the law, but who are humane in whatever they are doing. Those are the people being picked up by the companies (quickly) because in the interviews, they are better human beings and they are more attentive."That's where you will stand out in your careers. The fact is, you will be treated as good lawyers, or a very kind lawyer, or an efficient lawyer," she said. "So you will have goodness with efficiency. Even in India, they are still picking up these management tools, which is a spiritual tool."At the end of the meeting, Bedi offered to establish a new overseas program between CUNY School of Law and herself to bring students to India, where she would show them the meditation practices working in the law enforcement system."It has to happen," said Bedi. "My gut feeling is it will be very beneficial."Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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