The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) will give its 2002 Light of Truth award to Heinrich Harrer and to Petra Kelly, in memoriam, on October 15 in Graz, Austria, for their contributions to public awareness of Tibet and Tibetans. The award will be presented by His Holiness the Dalai Lama while he is in Graz to give the Kalachakra teaching and initiation.
Heinrich Harrer is being honored for his unparalleled mobilization of concern and sympathy for the people of Tibet, mainly through his 1952 book, Seven Years in Tibet. Harrer and his companion Peter Aufschnaiter lived in Lhasa after escaping from a British prisoner of war camp in India and provided the world with a final glimpse of life in an independent Tibetan state prior to the Chinese invasion. Subsequently, Harrer organized expeditions to many other parts of the globe, becoming a champion for indigenous and occupied peoples’ rights.
Petra Kelly is being honored, in memoriam, for her groundbreaking work for Tibet in the German Bundestag. Petra Kelley co-founded the German Green Party, ‘Die Gruenen,’ in 1979 and later became a member of the Bundestag and a prominent advocate for the rights of the Tibetan people. She introduced parliamentary resolutions on Tibet in 1987, 1989 and 1990, all of which passed unanimously. Her life was tragically cut short almost exactly 10 years ago, in October 1992.
The Light of Truth award was designed to recognize and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to public awareness of Tibet and Tibetans. The International Campaign for Tibet first gave this award in 1994 and it has become the most prestigious award in the Tibet movement. The award is an antique Tibet butter lamp symbolizing the light that each recipient has shed on the plight of the Tibetan people.
The ICT award ceremony will be hosted by Dr. Jan Andersson, the Chairman of the Board of ICT-Deutschland e.V. ICT-Deutschland began work earlier this year and will open an office in Berlin in October.
The Board of Directors of the International Campaign for Tibet votes on whom to present the award each year and has selected notable journalists, politicians, actors, directors, philanthropists and scholars. Previous recipients include Hugh Richardson, U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, Richard Gere and Madame Danielle Mitterand.