SAN DIEGO: His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in San Diego from Rochester, MN, this morning. He was welcomed at the airport by Mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer and his wife along with Mr Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor of the University of California San Diego.
After a brisk drive he reached his hotel where about 150 Tibetans from the San Diego and San Francisco area, some Chinese and other wellwishers were gathered to greet him. Smiling as he walked, His Holiness shook hands and exchanged words with old friends as he gradually made his way into the lobby.
Tomorrow, after a brief meeting with the press, His Holiness will give a public talk at the University of California San Diego. The following day he will be the guest speaker at the University’s commencement ceremony.
The commencement ceremony has attracted a lot of attention over the last few days, particularly due to a group of Chinese students’ protest. However, the Chancellor of the University, Mr Pradeep Khosla, has brushed aside all such protests and has explained that His Holiness the Dalai Lama represent the values of UC San Diego.
“The keynote speaker should be one who represents the values of UC San Diego,” said Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.
“And it’s clear to me that His Holiness — his message of peace, his message of happiness, his message of love, spirituality — really reflects some of our own views on life,” he added.
Mr Khosla has personally visited Dharamshala and met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to invite him to address the commencement ceremony, which was readily accepted.
The University has offered 50,000 tickets for the public talk on 16 and the commencement ceremony on 17 June. The entire tickets for sale have been snapped up within hours, according to the University. Moreover, at least 110 journalists from Brazil, France, Japan, China and other nations sought credentials to cover the event.
“This is five times as many people as we’ve ever had,” said Steven Evans, who is supervising the event’s audio and video feeds.