His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama will visit Washington, D.C., from September 8 to 11, 2003, to express his gratitude for continuing U.S. support for Tibet and his concern for the human rights and economic marginalization of Tibetans. He will also brief members of the Bush Administration and U.S. Congress on the status of contact between his envoys and Chinese officials.

The Dalai Lama is expected to meet with President Bush, Secretary of State Powell, Undersecretary Dobriansky, who serves as U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, and other administration officials.

“There has been an unmistakable swell in international support for Tibet over the last 15 years. Today, the international community sees the Dalai Lama as essential to a peaceful, lasting solution for Tibet,” said Mary Beth Markey, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet.

“While some policy-makers unfortunately still bow to Chinese pressure on Tibet, today’s U.S. Tibet policy is stronger than ever – a far cry from the indifferent policies of decades past,” said Markey.

“The Dalai Lama is meeting with Washington officials at a pivotal point in his contact with the Chinese leadership and the United States needs to reinforce its moral and material support for the Tibetan people and for efforts towards dialogue,” Markey continued.

This May, in the first-ever presidential report to Congress on the status of Tibet negotiations, President Bush categorically affirmed that encouraging substantive dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership is a key objective of his administration’s policy. The report emphasized that any lack of resolution to the Tibetan problem would be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement between the United States and China.

On Capitol Hill, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to meet with the congressional leadership, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House International Relations Committee, and he will give the keynote address at the 20th anniversary event of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. Following the Dalai Lama’s last visit in May 2001, the Tibetan Policy Act, a comprehensive policy and programmatic approach to Tibetan issues, was passed by Congress and signed into law.

This visit will be the Dalai Lama’s first opportunity to meet with U.S. leaders following the re-establishment of face-to-face contact between his envoys and the Chinese leadership, after an impasse of nearly a decade. His envoys have made two trips to China and Tibet in the last year, in September 2002 and May-June 2003.

On Wednesday, September 10, the Dalai Lama will speak about the importance of dialogue with China at the International Campaign for Tibet’s Light of Truth Award ceremony. At the invitation of the National Cathedral, the Dalai Lama will deliver remarks on peace and non-violence in commemoration of the September 11 tragedy.

Additional Information:

  • On Wednesday, September 10, the Dalai Lama will deliver remarks on the renewed contact between his envoys and the Chinese during the International Campaign for Tibet’s 2003 Light of Truth Awards ceremony. The 2003 Light of Truth Award honorees, selected for their advocacy on Tibet and achievements for the Tibetan people, are: The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, Professor Robert A.F. Thurman and Michele Bohana.
  • On Thursday, September 11, the Dalai Lama gives a public talk, “Cultivating Peace as an Antidote to Violence” at the Washington National Cathedral. The program is free and open to the public and no tickets are required. Doors open at 2:30 pm and the program begins at 4 pm.