The Dalai Lama Saturday left Dharamsala, India, to begin a four-day visit to Europe, where he
will receive honorary citizenship of two cities in Italy, and a media prize in
The Dalai Lama will arrive in Rome, the capital of Italy on 8 February 2009 in the first leg of his visit to Europe. Rome and Venice will honour His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his contribution to world peace and human rights. In Baden Baden, Germany, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be bestowed the Deutsche Medienpreis (the German Media Prize) for his spirit of "reconciliation, tolerance, humility and respect" and for representing "the non-violent struggle for the rights of the Tibetan people."
This is His Holiness the Dalai Lama's first trip abroad in 2009. The visit comes as Tibetans worldwide are preparing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is visiting Rome at the invitation of its Mayor, Gianni Alemanno, to receive the honourary citizenship of Rome on 9 February. The Rome City Council had approved by an overwhelming majority a motion in September 2008 to the conferral of Honorary Citizenship to His Holiness for "his international efforts to find a peaceful solution for Tibet and for having affirmed the principles of human rights and peaceful conflict-resolution between nations."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will then travel to Venice to receive that city's honourary citizenship. The Venice City Council unanimously approved a resolution for this purpose on 29 July 2008.
Media Control, one of Germany's leading market-research companies as well as an interpreter in media-studies, analysis, and evaluation, will present His Holiness the Dalai Lama the Deutsche Medienpreis (the German Media Prize) on 10 February in Baden Baden. A 20-member jury consisting of Germany's most important and influential media chief editors voted His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the 2008 Award.
The announcement said, "In a time of religious tension, self-destructive, addiction to profit and ongoing violations of human rights, the Dalai Lama actively advocates reconciliation, tolerance, humility and respect. He represents the non-violent struggle for the rights of the Tibetan people, a struggle he has been leading for over 50 years from exile in India." Previous recipients of the German award include Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, King Hussein of Jordan, and King Juan Carlos of Spain.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama will return to India on 11 February.
Information for this report was provided by the Office of Tibet, Geneva.