As every city in the world celebrates the birthday of one of the most respected leaders in the world today, Sydney drew record numbers of friends and supporters to the Festival of Tibet on the Northern Beaches home of the Tibetan community.
The day was hosted by the NSW Tibetan community, in association with Dalai Lama in Australia Limited and the Tibetan and Chinese Friendship Association. The day commenced with prayers from the venerable Sangha members.
Guest speakers were Mr Sonam Dagpo, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Justice John Dowd, Chancellor of Southern Cross University, Mr Bill Crews, Chairman of the Exodus Foundation, the Honorable Peter Slipper MP, Mrs Mei Leech, Tibetan and Chinese Friendship Association, Mr Paul Bourke, executive director of Australia Tibet Council, Lynn Bain, General Manager of Dalai Lama in Australia Ltd, and Mr Jigme Dorjee, President of the Tibetan community in NSW.
The day was also attended by other eminent visitors such as the Honorable Phillip Ruddock MP, Mr Brad Hazzard MP, the Mayor of Warringah, famous peace activist, Steve Killelea, and many Chinese friends and supporters from a diversity of Chinese groups.
The event ran in conjunction with a photographic exhibition, “A man of compassion and wisdom – The Dalai Lama’s Life in Pictures” presented by Dalai Lama in Australia Limited.
Over a thousand well wishers attended the celebration, which included traditional Tibetan song and dance performances, poetry readings, performances by members of the Chinese community, and a rousing rendition of the “Happy Birthday To You” song with a Tibetan flavour, before the Tibetan style birthday cake was shared between attendees.
The afternoon saw the performance of everyone’s favourite snow lion dance, and the draw of the raffle, which distributed the wonderful abundant gifts which were kindly donated by a very generous network of Tibetan friends and supporters.
From everyone in Sydney, we wish His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama heartfelt wishes for Happy Birthday and Long Life.
–Report filed by Sue Bloom on behalf of Tibetan Community of New South Wales, Australia