His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the 2015 Liberty Medal last night, with the National Constitution Center recognizing the Tibetan spiritual leader’s pursuit of the ideals of freedom, dialogue, and tolerance. ICT Chairman Richard Gere participated in the ceremony, while the Dalai Lama’s translator Thupten Jinpa and Dr. Richie Davidson of the Mind and Life Institute accepted the award on his behalf. The Dalai Lama canceled his visit to the US last month after being advised to take some time to rest by his doctors.
A video tribute prepared by the National Constitution Center included remarks by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, former President George W. Bush, Senator Dianne Feinstein, actress Priyanka Chopra, and writer Pico Iyer. Jeffrey Rosen, president of the Constitution Center, described the Dalai Lama as “one of the world’s most enduring symbols of liberty.”
The Dalai Lama himself prepared a video statement for the occasion in which he spoke of his commitment to the values of freedom and liberty, embedded at the top of this page. The Liberty Medal has been awarded annually since 1989, with previous awardees including Lech Walesa, Vaclev Havel, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Malala Yousafzai. The award ceremony coincided with a Day of Kindness organized in the city of Philadelphia to honor the Dalai Lama.