WASHINGTON D.C: US President Barack Obama met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the White House on 15 June 2016, despite stiff objections from the Chinese government.
During the forty-five minute meeting, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his condolences to the President over the Orlando shooting tragedy and emphasised his commitments to promote compassion, empathy, and respect for one other. They also discussed the critical political situation of Tibetans inside Tibet and the implications of environmental degradation on the Tibetan plateau.
According to a press release issued by the White House, President Barack Obama also emphasised his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China. The President lauded His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence and expressed support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach.
The President encouraged meaningful and direct dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his representatives with Chinese authorities to lower tensions and resolve differences.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama stated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his representatives and the Chinese government will resume. The President and His Holiness the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a constructive and productive relationship between the United States and China.
The President also welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s leadership on climate change issues, and expressed support for his efforts to raise awareness of the importance of limiting global warming, including to protect the Himalayan glaciers and the environment on the Tibetan plateau.
This is the fourth meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President Barack Obama at the White House. The last three meetings took place at the White House in February 2010, July 2011 and February 2014.
President Obama also offered a special welcome to His Holiness during a public appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2015, describing him as an inspiration to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings.