Your Holiness, parliamentarians, ministers,
Fifty countries are represented here which is, I think, extraordinary. I am looking at so many faces I have seen before and apparently I am representative of the white hairs today.
As we enter this conference with more than two days of interaction, I think from my own side, I see this as an opportunity for free-thinking, out-of-the-box thinking. Rather than replaying and regurgitating the things that we have done in the past- we should take the opportunity to really be visionary.
To assume that we are living in a different world today than we were last year and the year before that. This is a world of possibility. We are seeing extraordinary change in the world, extraordinary change in Tibet, extraordinary change in China and I think though we sometimes feel a bit beaten down by how strong and powerful the Chinese government is, the power their economy wields- how difficult it has been to continue knocking on the same doors we have been knocking on for years but throughout the last few years, we have witnessed a sea of change. China is being viewed in a very different way today then they were seen a year ago and the year before that. We have to reawaken ourselves to possibilities that we haven’t even considered were available to us until recently.
I think we can help reshape the world into a world we want it to be. To do that, we have to have power of visionary thinking again which is the reason why we got involved with Tibet and His Holiness to begin with, isn’t it? The possibility of creating the world we wanted to live in, one that we wanted our children and grandchildren to live in.
We are inspired by the Tibetan ideals, we are inspired by His Holiness, by the Tibetan people, by the extraordinary success of the Tibetan people around the world who had nothing when they left their country only to rebuild and reshape their reality, to recreate the worlds they left in Tibet. They have inspired so many of us- from all over the world, in every place they have gone, to be extraordinary.
There is also an extraordinary threat that the Chinese government feels by His Holiness and his many friends, some who we see here today, friends who are not only in governments all over the world but friends who are just common people, who have responded to His Holiness and his sense of fairness, his sense of justice, his teachings on interconnectedness- that we all are just human beings on this planet looking for happiness. We obviously have to include the Chinese people in that very directly and I hope, in the future, what comes out of this conference is how we can better-view the Chinese people themselves as brother and sisters in this enterprise that we have engaged in for many decades now.
So, I look forward- not only to this conference but also to finding us in a different place in a few days than we are right now. And then maybe, as we refresh our minds, our hearts, ideas and vision, we can find solidarity within that will help us think beyond next Monday, beyond next month or next year- in really clear, visionary ways- of where can be five years from now, ten years from now and so on.
So thank you, thank you all very much for being here. I love you all and it is a great pleasure, an honor, for me personally to be here. Thank you.”