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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

First IOJ Ahimsa Award given to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela

October 12, 2007

By The Office of Tibet, London

LONDON, 8 October: At an elaborate function this evening at the House of
Commons, the London-based Institute of Jainology (IOJ) gave their first
ever Ahimsa Award to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual
and temporal leader, and Mr. Nelson Mandela, the former President of
South Africa. Ahimsa is the Indian term for non-violence.

The finely decorated thick glass memento award in recognition of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “valuable contribution towards non-violence”
was presented by the Chief Guest Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Secretary of State
for Communities and Local Government, to Mr. Tsering Tashi, who received
it on behalf of the Tibetan leader. Mr. Tashi is the Representative of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama for London, Poland and the Baltic Countries
based at the Office of Tibet in London.

Before the presentation of the award, the event presenter Ms. Pooja Jain
told the gathering of parliament members, religious representatives,
diplomats and members of the Jain community that the IOJ trustees’
decision to award its first Ahimsa Award was based on through research
findings and achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who was
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for leading the non-violent
Tibetan struggle for liberation from China. Ms. Jain said His Holiness
the Dalai Lama was the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to be also
recognised for his effort to promote the environment in the world.

The highlight of the programme was the message from His Holiness the
Dalai Lama that was read by Mr. Tsering Tashi. His Holiness in his
message said that it is because of the practice of non-violence that the
Tibetan people’s cause was gaining more support from the international
community as well as from the Chinese people.

“I believe that more and more people around the world, including many
Chinese, are coming to a better understanding of and support for the
just cause of Tibet because we too have placed our faith in the practice
of ahimsa or non-violence. This strong moral support is a source of hope
not only for us Tibetans, but also for all oppressed peoples”, His
Holiness said, adding “When I meet people in different parts of the
world, I am always reminded that as human beings we are all basically
the same. The fact that we wear different clothes, have different
coloured skin, or speak different languages only differentiates us on
the surface. Our basic humanity is what binds us to each other and is
what makes it possible for us to understand each other and develop
feelings of closeness and friendship”.

His Holiness said that the realisation that we are all basically the
same human beings, who seek happiness and do not want suffering, is very
helpful in developing a sense of a warm feeling of love and compassion
for others. He said it is also essential “if we are to survive in this
ever-shrinking world we live in” and once again appealed to the world to
support the Burmese people’s peaceful struggle for freedom and democracy.

“As I write this message, rapidly changing events in Burma are giving us
a vivid reminder of the courage and fortitude required to conduct
ourselves in a non-violent and peaceful way, especially in the face of
brutality. I offer my own heartfelt support to the peaceful movement for
freedom and democracy in Burma, and take this opportunity to appeal to
other freedom-loving people all over the world to support such
non-violent movements wherever they occur”, His Holiness said.

There was much appreciation for His Holiness’ message. The Institute of
Jainology (IoJ) was established in London in 1983 primarily to promote
interfaith relationships to create a better understanding of the Jain
faith and to acquaint the Jain community with other faiths. It maintains
offices in London and in Ahmedabad, India. The London office is the
coordinator for activities of the IoJ worldwide and the Ahimsa Award to
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was presented “on behalf of the Jain
Community worldwide”.

(Report by Office of Tibet, London)

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