Washington DC: The16th anniversary of the conferment of the US Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was commemorated today at the Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The celebration was attended by some high-level US lawmakers who have been constant friends of His Holiness and Tibet such as Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Congressmen Jim McGovern and Chris Smith, Congresswomen Betty McCollum and Jan Schakowsky.
Apart from them, Sikyong Penpa Tsering, International Campaign for Tibet Chair Richard Gere , ICT President Tencho Gyatso, former CTA Kalon Tenzin Namgyal Tethong, and the staff of State Department as well as USAID staff were in attendance.
Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi called the bestowal of the highest civilian honour to His Holiness as “a source of pride” and commended ICT Chair Richard Gere for his tireless efforts “to attract people to not only His Holiness, but to the cause of Tibet” for which she expressed her eternal gratitude. She also emphasised the bipartisan support of US legislators towards His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
While reiterating the bipartisan support towards His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the cause of Tibet, Congressman Chris Smith lauded the tremendous influence of His Holiness cutting across all political divides. He also praised the ICT Chair for his advocacy of Tibet cause, crediting his “enormous persuasive power” in greatly benefitting the cause of Tibet.
Congressman Jim McGovern expressed his admiration of His Holiness for his anti-war stance. He pushed China to engage with the Dalai Lama for the peaceful resolution of the Sino-Tibet conflict.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum thanked the ICT Chair for his commitment to the cause of Tibet and stressed championing human rights everywhere.
“We can not be passive about what is going on in Tibet”, said Congresswomen Betty and further thanked the Tibetan community for including them in this momentous celebration.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky narrated her own instance of meeting with His Holiness during a difficult time in life when she lost a family member. She recounted the experience with deep gratitude.
Sikyong Penpa Tsering, in his key address, expressed gratitude for awarding His Holiness with such a significant award,
“This award is a huge honour for Tibetans suffering inside Tibet as it represents the sustenance of their indomitable spirit even after 64 years of Chinese suppression”, said Sikyong of the Tibetans in exile.
He then briefly apprised his recent visits to Latin America, new frontiers to the Central Tibetan Administration politically, and North America where he continues to undertake Tibet advocacy campaign. Furthermore, he assured the gathering of the good health of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
ICT Chair Richard Gere recollected his memories of the historic moment when the US Congressional Gold Medal was presented to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“I felt so proud that the American experiment was embracing the Dalai Lama into the hierarchy of deities of our democracy. It was like he was giving us an award instead of us giving him an award, that he embraced us into his heart and this American experiment into his heart,” he said.
He also attributed the momentous occasion to purifying and refreshing the actions and motivations of those present. In his last words, he applauded the spiritual leader for overcoming the challenges of his circumstances and living up to his title.
The ceremony came to a conclusion with the performance of a Tibetan song paying tribute to His Holiness by the local Tibetan community.