His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives in Washington, DC, for a five-day visit today during which he will meet Speaker Pelosi and other Congressional leaders. His Holiness has many years of personal close friendship with many members of Congress and he is greatly appreciative of the consistent and strong bipartisan support extended by the US Congress to the Tibetan people. The US Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal upon His Holiness in 2007.
His Holiness will not be meeting with President Obama on this visit. From the outset, there has been no question of President Obama not at the appropriate time meeting His Holiness, whom he holds in great esteem. Taking a broader and long-term perspective, His Holiness agreed to meet the President after the November US-China Summit.
The Dalai Lama has always been supportive of American engagement with China. Our hope is that the cooperative US-Chinese relationship that President Obama’s administration seeks will create conditions that support the resolution of the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people.
The decision to send a high-level delegation headed by his senior advisor and close friend Valerie Jarrett, accompanied by Under Secretary Maria Otero, Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, to Dharamsala, indicates a new approach on Tibet by the US administration. His Holiness conveyed to the President’s emissaries that he looks forward to meeting with the President later this year and thanks the President for his invitation.
During his visit to Washington this week, His Holiness will also receive the first Lantos Human Rights Prize award by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, created in the name of his close friend, the late Congressman Tom Lantos, a world-renowned human rights advocate and friend of His Holiness.
His Holiness will also present the International Campaign for Tibet’s Light of Truth award posthumously to Julia Taft, a great humanitarian and former Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, and to a group of Chinese who have, at great personal risk, spoken out in China about Tibet. He will also participate in a two-day Mind and Life conference, bringing together world-renowned educators, scientists, and contemplatives to explore the emerging field of contemplative learning and its potential contribution to education. See: http://www.educatingworldcitizens.org.
The Dalai Lama will also give a lecture on contemporary Buddhism, “The Heart of Change: Finding Wisdom in the Modern World” at American University.