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Tibetan Philanthropist to Recieve Ellis Medal of Honor

May 10, 2009

Phayul
May 8, 2009

Dharamsala, May 8 -- A Tibetan monk has been named to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organization (NECO) Foundations. Lama Pema Wangdrak will become the first Tibetan to be honored by the award at Ellis Island in New York Saturday.

"The Buddhist community in New York City is a diverse as it is around the globe. Your position as a leader and teacher of peace, tolerance and diversity is to be celebrated. Our country and its citizens will benefit from your insight and vision," the NECO wrote to him.

The award is presented to those who exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives, while continuing to preserve the richness of their particular heritage.

Ellis Island Medal of Honor is one of the most prestigious awards, recognised by the US Senate and the House of representatives. Past winners include Supreme Court justices, Nobel Prize winners, six presidents of the United States.

Lama Pema Wangdak is the director of the Palden Sakya Centers and the Vikramsila Foundation in New York, which offer courses in Tibetan Buddhist studies and meditation.

Wangdrak was born in Purang in Western Tibet in 1954 and resettled with his family in Tibetan refugee settlement in Mundgod, South India.

He founded the Pema Tsal Monastic Institute in Nepal and Pema Tsal hostel in Mungod. His works include the creation of "Bur Yig" --Tibetan Braille system.
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