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Dalai Lama to deliver U-M Wege Lecture in April
Note: Tickets for the Wege Lecture have sold out.
The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet will deliver a special Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability in April at the University of Michigan's Crisler Arena.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Buddhist leader last visited Ann Arbor in 1994, when about 9,000 people attended a lecture at Crisler. The April 20, 2008, lecture coincides with Earth Day weekend and is free and open to the public, though tickets are required.
Tickets for the event have sold out.
Best known as an outspoken advocate for human rights and global peace, the Dalai Lama will turn his wide-ranging intellect to the topic of sustainability.
"Sustainability goes beyond protecting the environment. It includes social and economic dimensions," said Greg Keoleian, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS) at the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE).
"A billion people don't have access to clean water, and almost 2 billion don't have access to electricity," Keoleian said. "Encouraging individuals to take personal responsibility to address global sustainability challenges is central to the Dalai Lama's message."
The Wege Lecture is sponsored by the Office of the President and CSS. Each year, the center invites an internationally recognized leader to deliver the lecture. Recent speakers include Al Gore and William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.
"The University is eager to welcome the Dalai Lama to campus for a return visit," said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. "He is an extraordinary leader whose unwavering support of human rights and the environment makes him an exceptional choice to address the campus community as the Wege lecturer."
SNRE Dean Rosina Bierbaum said: "For decades, the Dalai Lama has spoken about how 'the world is smaller and more interdependent,' and how we need to 'cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. The increasing urgency of confronting climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and famine make his message extraordinarily timely."
Other events planned for Earth Day weekend include Dalai Lama teaching sessions sponsored by Jewel Heart, an Ann Arbor-based Tibetan Buddhist Center; The Tibet Fund; and the Garrison Institute. Fees will be charged for the teaching sessions. For more information, visit www.DalaiLamaAnnArbor.com.
Born to a peasant family in 1935, the "Buddha of Compassion" was recognized at age 2, in accordance with Tibetan traditions, as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama.
When China invaded Tibet in 1950, the Dalai Lama, at age 15, assumed full political power as head of state and government and attempted to negotiate a peaceful solution with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders. Nine years later, after the Chinese quelled a Tibetan civilian uprising, the Dalai Lama fled to northern India, where he established the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Since that time, he has worked for the restoration of the rights and independence of the Tibetan people and for the preservation of their culture.
His commitment to the ideals of human rights, freedom, peace and tolerance, and his opposition to the use of violence in resolving conflict, has earned him numerous awards, including the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.
In October 2007, the Dalai Lama, whose birth name was Tenzin Gyatso, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress gives to civilians. President Bush attended the ceremony and described the Dalai Lama as "a universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd for the faithful, and the keeper of the flame for his people."
The medal bears an image of the Dalai Lama on one side and a quote from the Tibetan spiritual leader on the other: "World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion."