His Holiness the Dalai Lama met today in Atlanta, Georgia, with Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero. Under Secretary Otero, who serves concurrently as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the State Department, officially welcomed the Dalai Lama to the United States, where he is giving teachings and public talks, and participating in scientific and interfaith conferences from October 12 through 21, before continuing his North American visit in Canada.

Today’s meeting between the Dalai Lama and Under Secretary Otero was the first occasion for high-level U.S. Government discussions directly with His Holiness in the United States since February 2010 when the Dalai Lama met with President Obama at the White House.

The U.S. Government has remained engaged in efforts to support the Dalai Lama’s efforts to achieve a political solution for Tibet through dialogue with the Chinese government (2010 Report on Tibet Negotiations). In meetings with Chinese officials, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and other senior Administration officials have consistently raised the Tibet issue.

“The U.S. relationship with His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a long one, and it continues on track,” said Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who joined the meeting and spoke briefly afterwards. “His Holiness welcomed the opportunity to again share his views on the situation in Tibet with Under Secretary Otero, including restating his commitment to a peaceful resolution of issues through dialogue with Chinese government. Support for his efforts from the United States has been critical at many levels and His Holiness was very pleased to hear again from Under Secretary Otero that the Obama Administration supports his Middle Way approach.”

Maria Otero was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues on October 1, 2009. This was her fourth meeting with the Dalai Lama. Maria Otero follows in this position Paula J. Dobriansky (2001-2008) during the George W. Bush Administration, and Julia Vadala Taft (1999-2000) and Gregory B. Craig (1997-1998) during the Clinton Administration.