His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Poland

London: His Holiness the Dalai Lama is visiting the Republic of Poland from 5 to 12 December 2008, at invitations from the Lech Walesa Institute, the Jagiellonian University, the Mayor and City Council of Wroclaw, the Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, the Polish Parliamentary Group for Tibet, and the Mayor of the City of Warsaw.

During the visit His Holiness will also meet with representatives of Buddhist groups in Poland, hold a special prayer meeting with Archbishop Golebiewski and nuns of the historic Carmelitan Convent, and meet with members of the Tibetan Community in Poland.

During his visit to Poland, despite negative reaction from the Chinese authorities, the Tibetan leader will be met by Polish leaders and the President of France, M. Nicolas Sarkozy, on 6 December in Gdansk, where His Holiness has been invited to address a meeting of fellow Nobel Peace Laureates marking the 25th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to former Polish President Lech Walesa. His Holiness has also been invited to Gdansk to speak at an international conference of World Forum of the Young on 5 December, which will be attended by about 1000 participants, including 100 journalists.

In Warsaw, His Holiness will meet with the Speaker of the Senate Hon. Bogdan Borusewicz, and address members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, parliament members and members of the Polish Parliamentary Group for Tibet. His Holiness will also visit the City Hall and meet with Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and Councillors of the Warsaw City, which is organising a public talk by His Holiness on 11 December. The Mayor in her invitation to His Holiness as one of the world’s “leading moral authority” said: “I hope Your Holiness will grace Warsaw by sharing a message of peace, compassion, universal responsibility and tolerance for the benefit of the Polish people at large”.

In Krakow, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be awarded an honorary doctorate on 8 December by the Jagiellonian University, one of the most prestigious academic institutes in Poland. According to a Krakow Post report of 11 October 2007, Vice Dean Prof. Marta Kudelska of the Jagiellonian University commenting on the awarding of the honorary doctorate to His Holiness was quoted as saying: “The honorary degree granted to the Dalai Lama is in line with previous recipients such as Mother Teresa (1993) and John Paul II (1983)”. Prof. Kudelska further added that His Holiness the Dalai Lama represents “morals and values that if practiced by all of us for at least five minutes per day, would make the world a better place”.

In the southwestern Polish City of Wroclaw, His Holiness will be presented with the Honorary Citizenship by the Wroclaw City Council on 10 December, which happens to be the day when His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his efforts in leading the non-violent Tibetan struggle for freedom, and for advocating world peace and addressing global environmental issues.

The Mayor of Wroclaw, Mr. Rafal Dutkiewicz, while inviting His Holiness to Wroclaw, said: “We will be deeply honoured to welcome Your Holiness in Wroclaw … to confer the title of Honorary Citizenship of Wroclaw …. the highest and most prestigious award offered to the most imminent personalities by Wroclaw authorities”. His Holiness has also accepted the city’s invitation to give a public talk on 9 December on the topic of the Importance of Peace and Tolerance, an event targeted mainly at students and young people so that they too have the opportunity to gain from His Holiness’ universal message on peace and tolerance.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Poland is being co-ordinated by the Office of Tibet in London, the official agency of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration for Northern Europe, Poland and the Baltic States.

Mr. Tsering Tashi, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Office of Tibet in London, said: “His Holiness’ popularity in Poland and across the world shows how His Holiness’ message of compassion, forgiveness and tolerance resonate with people everywhere irrespective of their nationality or background. In fact the organisers of the visit have informed us of the overwhelming interest to attend His Holiness’ public talks and the other events. We are also receiving many requests from the Polish and world media for interviews with His Holiness during his visit on topics ranging from the importance of inter-religious harmony to global environmental problems and the Tibet issue”.

Mr. Tashi further commented: “His Holiness’ non-violent Middle Way Approach to resolving the issue of Tibet to the mutual benefit of both the Tibetan and the Chinese peoples is being appreciated by the international community as well as increasingly, through better information and awareness, by many Chinese people who are not only showing their respect to His Holiness but also supporting the just Tibetan cause”.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Poland later this week will be the third time he has been to Poland following his earlier visits in 1993 and 2000.

–Issued by the Office of Tibet, London