The University Record, March 7, 1994

Dalai Lama to give University Wallenberg Lecture

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet will deliver the annual University Wallenberg Lecture and meet with students and faculty during a campus visit April 21–23.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Buddhist leader will address issues of human rights, freedom and peace in a lecture at 7:30 p.m. April 21 at Crisler Arena. He also will receive the Raoul Wallenberg Medal, established in honor of Wallenberg, a University alumnus and Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II.

“His Holiness is a person who has many roles,” says Donald S. Lopez, professor of Buddhist and Tibetan studies. “He is the leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile, an internationally honored proponent of peace and human rights, the spiritual leader of millions of Buddhists around the world, and one of the most important Buddhist thinkers of this century.”

Born to a peasant family in 1935, the “Buddha of Compassion” was recognized at age 2, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, 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 Tse-tung 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 six million Tibetan people—130,000 of whom live in exile—and for the preservation of Tibetan culture.

His commitment to the ideals of human rights, freedom, peace and tolerance, and opposition to the use of violence in resolving conflict, has earned him numerous awards, including the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.

While at the University, the Dalai Lama also will speak with U-M students in a free lecture at 2 p.m. April 22 at Rackham Auditorium. Ticket information is available, after March 15, by calling 998-6245.

He also will take part in the White Tara Initiation, a traditional Buddhist teaching on compassion, 1–4 p.m. April 23 at Hill Auditorium. The event is sponsored by Jewel Heart, an international Tibetan Buddhist organization based in Ann Arbor. For tickets, call 434-4411.

In addition, the Dalai Lama will meet privately with students and University officials, and will attend seminars not open to the public.

Sponsored by LS&A and the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the Dalai Lama’s visit is supported by the Warner-Lambert Lecture Series and the University Wallenberg Endowment.

The Warner-Lambert Lecture Series began in 1982 with a gift from the Pharmaceutical Research Division of Warner-Lambert, on behalf of the Warner-Lambert Foundation. Its purpose is to “enhance the intellectual environment for undergraduates” by bringing to campus distinguished public figures, such as scientist Stephen Jay Gould, U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder and novelist Carlos Fuentes.

Established in 1985, the Wallenberg Endowment funds the annual lecture and medal presentation, and provides support each year for doctoral students whose scholarly work is related to the goals and values of the lectureship. The endowment is made possible through the contributions of nearly 500 individuals and organizations in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Previous recipients of the Wallenberg Medal are Nobel-laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel; Jan Karski, a courier for the Polish underground resistance during World War II and an early witness to the Holocaust; and Helen Suzman, a long-time South African legislator and crusader against apartheid.

The Wallenberg Lecture is free and open to the public but tickets are required. For information, call 763-8587