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D.C. Itinerary: Dalai Lama set for whirlwind visit

February 19, 2010

Anne Schroeder Mullins
Politico (USA)
February 17, 2010

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, will meet President
Barack Obama for the first time on Thursday. What
else will he do during his 2½ days in Washington?

He arrives directly from India Wednesday
afternoon to a jampacked schedule, a spokesman
for the International Campaign for Tibet says.
(Tibet is known as the land of snows, so His
Holiness may feel right at home in the nation’s capital at the moment.)

The Dalai Lama’s meeting with Obama is first
official engagement of the Tibetan New Year. "It
sets the year in a good path," a spokesman says.

When in Washington, he prefers to stay at the
Park Hyatt Hotel in Foggy Bottom. It’s expected
that a local group of Tibetans will host a
traditional welcome for him and that he’ll participate in that ceremony.

And that’s just one of many private meetings
he’ll have with the Tibetan community and members
of his special envoy, not to mention the "private
audiences and teachings wherever he goes," a spokesman adds.

Let’s not forget, the Dalai Lama is a monk: He
gets up at 3:30 a.m. and meditates until 7 or 8
a.m. and meditates again after lunch. "He’s
extremely devoted -- and regarded as being an
extremely learned Buddhist scholar, a
world-renowned expert," the spokesman adds.

Does he have any things he likes to do while in
D.C.? Laughs the spokesman, "Not that I know of;
he doesn’t have a Wii or anything as far as I can tell."

On Friday morning, the National Endowment for
Democracy will give His Holiness the Democracy
Service Medal at the Library of Congress. The
non-profit organization has informed POLITICO
that actor and Dalai Lama pal, Richard Gere, will
be at the event with his wife.

The Dalai Lama will then be off to Los Angeles and Florida for a few days.
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