A star-studded lineup more befitting an awards show than a youth-empowerment festival invaded Vancouver yesterday, as thousands of students and some influential celebrities gathered to mark We Day.

Dubbed “The Day We Change The World,” the event called on students to combat local and global challenges and featured visits from Sarah McLachlan, actress Mia Farrow and activist Jane Goodall.

While McLachlan’s performance drew loud cheers from the more than 16,000 students in attendance, it was the Dalai Lama and Gov. Gen. Micha­ëlle?Jean that brought the crowd to its feet.

“You are the seed of a better future,” the Tibetan spiritual leader told the attentive crowd. “Let us make this whole world (a) world of smiles. Then wherever we go, we see our friends and immediately you see friendship develop, trust develop.”

The Dalai Lama warned that the 20th century was one of violence and urged the crowd to make the 21st century a peaceful one.

“Peace does not mean no longer any problem, no longer conflict. Some form of differences, some form of conflict, (is) always there,” he said. “Now peace means when there is possibility of conflict or violence, using our common sense and ... compassion.”