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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's first ever visit to Iceland concludes with a public talk

June 4, 2009

Thursday, 3 June 2009


Reykjavik, 2 June: His Holiness the Dalai Lama this afternoon concluded his two-day programme in Iceland with a public talk attended by a capacity crowd of more than 3,000 people, who listened every word with rapt attention. Speaking on the topic of “Compassion, Values and Happiness” His Holiness said that the practice of genuine compassion is the key to a happier life. He said that one can also have compassion for one´s own enemies bearing in mind that the other person also belongs to the same human family and has the right to happiness and to overcome suffering. Following the public talk, His Holiness also answered a series of questions from the audience ranging from the recent economic crisis suffered by Iceland and a question from a ten-year old asking whether His Holiness loved animals and to which His Holiness answered in the affirmative. The public talk was organised by the “Dalai Lama in Iceland” group.


Prior to the public talk, His Holiness visited the Parliament of Iceland, considered the world´s oldest Parliament. On his arrival, His Holiness was welcomed by Parliament Speaker Mrs Asta Ragnheidur Johannesdottir who led His Holiness to sign the VIP guest book before giving His Holiness a tour of the Parliament House and escorting him to the room where members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs were waiting. His Holiness spent about an hour with the Speaker and Foreign Affairs Committee members who asked him various questions relating to the Tibet issue and how Iceland as a free and democratic country can help the Tibetan people regain their rights. His Holiness expressed his appreciation to the Speaker and Foreign Affairs Committee members for the invitation to meet with them and their genuine sense of concern and interest in the issues affecting the Tibetan people.


In the morning His Holiness visited the University of Iceland, the island´s biggest university to speak at a gathering of academics and students and to participate in a discussion with leading University scholars on the subject of philosophy and ethics. His Holiness advised that besides academic knowledge it was also important to develop inner values. His Holiness also stressed the importance of secular ethics which he said has nothing to do with any religious traditions or values. With the hall being packed to capacity, the University had arranged for screens where people in the foyer and corridors could watch His Holiness addressing the audience in the hall including the University Rector, Minister of Science & Technology and the former President of Iceland. In answering a question, His Holiness said that there were some similarities between Tibet and Iceland because in the past Tibet was isolated by mountains and Iceland was isolated by the water on all sides. Following the talk and as he was leaving, His Holiness was applauded and cheered by crowds both inside and outside the hall. Some people had even gathered to greet His Holiness outside the main university entrance where the motorcade had lined up to take the Tibetan Nobel Peace Laureate for his next engagement.


His Holiness´ busy schedule for the day also included a major TV interview and meetings with the Ministers of Environment, Health, and Industry and a former Minister of Trade who had raised the issue of human rights with the Chinese leadership during his visit to Beijing.


His Holiness also gave a group audience to the small Tibetan community, members of Friends of Tibet - Iceland and Mongolians. His Holiness told the supporters that he does not consider their support for the Tibetan people as being pro-Tibet or anti-Chinese but rather as pro-justice and pro-truth.


Following his successful first ever visit to Iceland where His Holiness was warmly welcomed and greeted by large numbers of people wherever he went, His Holiness will be leaving here tomorrow morning for The Netherlands on the third leg of his current four nation European visit. Prior to visiting Iceland, His Holiness was in Denmark where besides giving teachings and a public talk His Holiness was met by the Danish Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the Leader of the main opposition The Danish Social Democratic Party, Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt.


His Holiness´ 31 May to 3 June visit and public engagements in Iceland took place at the invitations of the “Dalai Lama in Iceland” group, the Bishop of Iceland, the University of Iceland and the Speaker of the Parliament of Iceland.


Report filed by the Office of Tibet, London

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