Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dalai Lama to get Congressional Gold Medal on Oct 17

Dharamsala, Sept 28: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will be bestowed with the Congressional Gold Medal, America's highest civilian honour, at a function on October 17 to be attended by US President George W Bush, sources in Tibetan government-in-exile said here. This will be the first occasion that a sitting US President will appear with the Dalai Lama in the public event scheduled at the US Capitol, according to them. Thousands of Tibetans from world over are expected to gather at the Capitol on October 17 to mark one of the most significant international tributes to the exiled Tibetan leader since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him nearly 20 years ago. The US Congress passed a resolution on Sept four to allow the use of the Capitol grounds by the international campaign for Tibet after the ceremony, the sources said. Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, special envoy of the Dalai Lama, said "honouring his holiness with the Congressional Gold Medal is a strong endorsement of the Dalai Lama's tireless commitment to enhancing the principles of non-violence, religious harmony, tolerance and promoting a sense of universal responsibility." The bill to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal was passed by the Congress on Sept 13, 2006 and signed into law by President Bush on Sept 28, 2006. Past recipients of the Medal include George Washington, Pope John Paul II and other Nobel Peace laureates such as Nelson Mandela and Elie Wiesel.