His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of the six million Tibetan people, concluded a successful visit to Italy on 3 December that began on 29 November, 2001 after the visit to Portugal.
The main purpose of this visit to Tuscany Region of Italy was bestowing a Buddhist Teaching on Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment and Chenrizig Gylawa Gyatso Empowerment at the request of Institute Lama Tzong Khapa in Pomaia. This Tibetan Buddhist Centre headed by Geshe Jampa Gyatso was established in 1976. This was His Holiness’ fourth visit to the Centre.
The Teaching itself was attended by more than 3,000 people from 22 countries that included over 150 Tibetans from different parts of Europe. The Teaching was translated into Italian, German, Spanish and English.
During the five day-stay in Italy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama received a courtesy call from H. E. Mr. Giovanni Alemann, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the Italian Government on 30 November. Mr. Alemann conveyed the greetings from the Italian Government to His Holiness, including that from the Italian Prime Minister. His Holiness thanked the Minister for the continued concern expressed by various Italian Governments on the situation in Tibet and recalled His meeting with the current Italian Prime Minister 7 years ago.
On 30 November, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was received at the Town Hall by Mayor Mr. Paolo Pacini of Cecina Town, joined by hundreds of local residents. During a ceremonial and official ceremony inside the Town Hall, the Tibetan Leader was conferred the Honorary Citizenship of the town. The Italian Minister also attended this event.
On 1 December, His Holiness the Dalai Lama received a courtesy call from Honourable Mr. Claudio Martini, the President of Tuscany Region.
The Italian press gave good coverage to the Visit. More more than 80 media personnel, including Tibetan correspondents of Voice of America, attended a Meet With the Press at which His Holiness the Dalai Lama received questions on terrorism, peace, the situation in Tibet and Afghanistan. His Holiness repeated His position that “non-violence” was the best approach to resolve crisis following the developments after the 11 September terrorist attack in the United Sates of America. The Tibetan Leader also warned the media that “peace will not fall from the sky”.
During a meeting with members of Italy-Tibet Association, the largest TSG in Italy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked the members for their continued support and described the current situation inside Tibet as very grave. His Holiness encouraged the audience to engage in humanitarian projects that would improve the conditions of education and health-care in rural Tibet.
On 2 December, during an audience to the Tibetans, including members of the Tibetan Community in Italy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama advised youths to pay more attention to the rich and developed Buddhist culture of Tibet. His Holiness also said that Tibetans were lacking behind in modern education and specialisation in various fields. However, He reminded the Tibetans that Tibet had a very developed Buddhist culture which has been making adequate contribution to this world.
On 4 December His Holiness the Dalai Lama left for Norway, the last engagement, during the current Visit to Europe.