The first open public event of the Dalai Lamaπs visit to Washington, DC, next week is a major award ceremony on Wednesday, October 7. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and actor and activist Richard Gere are among those who will join the Dalai Lama onstage.

The Light of Truth Award is given to individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding of Tibet and the plight of the Tibetan people. Award recipients are selected by the Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, on behalf of the International Campaign for Tibet, will present two Light of Truth awards. The first award will be presented to the late Julia Taft, a great humanitarian, former Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, and former Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Her husband, William Howard Taft IV, will accept the award from the Dalai Lama.

The second award will be presented to a group of Chinese who have taken steps to advance truth and justice at great personal risk. The names of honorees are being withheld until the morning of the ceremony. The award signals efforts to further mutual understanding between the Tibetan and Chinese people, at a time of political crisis in Tibet.

* 10/7/09 update: Read Wang Lixiong’s acceptance speech for the Light of Truth Award

Past recipients of the Light of Truth award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Martin Scorsese, Vaclav Havel, Claiborne Pell and Benjamin A.Gilman.

International Campaign for Tibet Light of Truth award ceremony
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sidney Harman Hall
610 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

1:30 – 3:00 pm
Light of Truth awards presentation and public remarks by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Richard Gere, Chairman of the Board of the International Campaign for Tibet
Paula Dobriansky, former Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
William H Taft, husband of the late Julia Taft
Winston Lord, former US ambassador to China
Chinese honoree (name withheld until October 7)

Also present at the ceremony:
Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Special Envoy to the Dalai Lama
And Host Committee Co-Chairs
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein and Richard C Blum
Hannes Jaenicke, German actor and activist