Updates on His Holiness’ US Visit
Friday, 18 November 2005
Washington (ICT): His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave an interview yesterday to Betty Lin, a journalist for Chinese language daily, the World Journal, published from New York.
His Holiness also gave brief audiences to Nancy Nash from Hong Kong and to some officials of the World Wildlife Fund.
The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Indian Embassy, Ambassador Raminder Singh Jassal, called on His Holiness for a photo opportunity as well as to bid farewell.
His Holiness departed from the hotel for the airport around 10:00 AM. Kasur Dawa Tsering, members of the International Campaign for Tibet, Tibet supporters and over 40 members of the Tibetan community gathered at the hotel to bid farewell.
Wednesday, 16 November 2005
His Holiness visited the Mongolian Embassy on 16 November. The Ambassador of Mongolia to the United States, Ambassador Ravdan Bold, came to the hotel and accompanied His Holiness to the Embassy which is located across the street from the hotel.
At the Embassy, His Holiness was received by the Deputy Chief of Mission. His Holiness gave a brief remark on the importance of preserving the unique feature of a nationality.
Ambassador Bold introduced the members of his diplomatic staff and their families. His Holiness then visited Capitol Hill and had meetings with the House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Subsequently, he met with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and several democratic senators.
In the afternoon, His Holiness met with members of the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Altogether he met with around 20 senators.
At all the meetings, the members of Congress asked His Holiness what they could do. His Holiness gave them an update on his dealings with China and how the United States could be helpful.
In the evening His Holiness was invited by the Indian Ambassador to the
United States, Ronnen Sen, to his residence for tea. His Holiness spent around half an hour with the Ambassador and his wife.
His Holiness left Washington, D.C. on the morning of 17 November, for a day’s trip to Rhode Island to meet Senator Claiborn Pell (retired) and to give a public talk at Salve Regina University.
On the same evening, His Holiness departed for Edinburgh via Newark, New Jersey.
Monday, 14 November 2005
On the morning of 14 November, His Holiness gave an interview to a noted American TV host Charlie Rose, which was later aired on his program, the Charlie Rose Show, PBS stations on the night of 15 November.
This was followed by a few private audiences, including Benjamin Gilman, former Congressman, Haipei Xue, former Chinese student leader, and Harold Ramis, actor, director and writer of American comedy films.
At noon His Holiness attended a round table discussion on Universal Responsibility at the Aspen Institute. Participants included prominent journalists like Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post, diplomats, including the Egyptian and the German ambassadors, corporate leaders, etc.
His Holiness briefed them on his three commitments of promoting human values, inter-religious understanding and resolving the Tibetan issue. He then exchanged views on the involvement of religion in politics on which he said the two should be separated.
His Holiness said that the moral ethics should be secular, if ethics are based on religion, it would lead to more questions and differences.
However, he disagreed with the perception that secularism means denial of religion. He said that he appreciated the definition of secularism given in India.
He outlined four ways in which the international community can promote better religious understanding.
- Meetings by scholars of different faith.,
- Meetings by practitioners of different faith.
- Group pilgrimage by followers of different faith.
- Meeting of spiritual leaders of different faith, like the one took place in Assisi.
His Holiness also visited the headquarters of the International Campaign for
Tibet (ICT). Gyari Rinpoche briefed on the background of the large Red Tara Thangka followed by the briefings on the work of ICT by the ICT Board of Directors. His Holiness was particularly interested in the Chinese Outreach Programme.
After returning to the hotel, His Holiness had two hours rest. Thereafter, brief audiences were arranged for the recepients of ICT’s Light of Truth awards (Lowell Thomas Jr (his audience took place in the morning), Carl Gershman and Elie Wiessel.
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke also had an audience as well as Dr. Christian Schwarzschilling and the German Ambassador to the United States.
His Holiness then attended the ICT Light of Truth Awards ceremony. Gyari Rinpoche gave a welcome address and thanked all the supporters for the cause of Tibet.
John Ackerly of ICT then acted as the MC for the evening and introduced David Breashers, the noted mountaineer and filmmaker. David Breashers introduced the first recipient, Lowell Thomas Jr. In his acceptance speech, Lowell Thomas recalled his first meeting with His Holiness in Lhasa.
Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky introduced the next recipient, Carl Gershman of the National Endowment for Democracy. Paula recognised the members of Congress who were present at the event, Senator Feinstein, Senator Tom Daschle, Congressman Benjamin Gilman (retired) and Congressman Tom Lantos (whose wife Annete Lantos was present). She then talked of Carl’s dedication to the promotion of democracy. Carl gave a speech about the value of democracy and what it meant to his organisation.
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke introduced the next recipient, Elie Wiessel. He
gave his perception of the situation of the Tibetan issue as one that does not seem to be seeing progress. He, however, said President Bush was sending the right message by meeting with H.H. the Dalai Lama prior to his visit to China.
Elie Wiessel gave a stirring speech in which he said that the basic reason why anyone should help Tibet is because Tibet is not free. He called for the need of hope and said without hope there was no humanity.
His Holiness in his remarks thanked the supporters of Tibet for their contributions.
He said that the 21st century belongs to the younger generation and the recipients of the awards and the people of his generation belong to the 20th century.
He felt the 21st century did not begin with a happy note however this cannot be blamed on the century. Generally, His Holiness felt humanity was becoming more mature out of painful experiences. He said that the genuine desire for nonviolence is becoming more widespread.
(www.tibet.net is the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration.)