His Holiness the Dalai Lama spent much of the day with President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the future location of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
The Dalai Lama has often spoken warmly about the former president, referring to him as “an old friend.” The two first met to discuss Tibet in May 2001 and regularly met at the White House whenever the Dalai Lama visited Washington, D.C. The Chinese government routinely objected to their meetings, although the resumption of dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and Chinese officials began in November 2002 and meetings occurred seven times thereafter throughout the Bush presidency (a subsequent round occurred in 2010).
In addition, four prominent Tibetan political prisoners were released on parole to the United States during George W. Bush’s first term, a gesture not repeated by Chinese authorities since then.
The two men are enthusiastic advocates for fundamental human freedoms and democracy, although the Dalai Lama held firm to his support for non-violent solutions when the United States entered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Dalai Lama’s Dallas visit included an interview on his efforts to bring democracy to the Tibetan people with Ambassador James K. Glassman, the future head of the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy institute at the Bush Presidential Library. The Dalai Lama presented a personal archival document to President Bush for the Freedom Collection at the Library.