The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. At the age of two, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, and began his studies in monastery when he was six years old. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949, the young Dalai Lama was asked to take full political control over his country.

After the brutal takeover by the Chinese military, a Tibetan uprising in Lhasa followed and in 1959 His Holiness fled to India to live in exile. Since then, he has lived in Dharamsala, situated in northern India, where the Tibetan government in exile resides.

Peace and dialog

From Dharamsala, His Holiness works tirelessly to find a peaceful solution for the plight of Tibet. He has called upon the United Nations and heads of governments worldwide and has received the support of many, who have urged the Chinese government to enter into dialog with the Dalai Lama, as leader of the Tibetan people. In 1987 His Holiness proposed a Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet as a first step to a peaceful solution for the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet.

Since 2002 eight meetings between representatives of the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities have taken place with little result. His Holiness has asked for a middle way apporach with true atonomy for the Tibetan people while remaining a part of China.
His Holiness has consistently advocated for a non violent approach in the fight for Tibet. In recognition for his work, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In October 2007, His Holiness received the highest civilian honor in the United States, the Gold Medal of Congress in acknowledgement of his work for human rights.

Spiritual leader

At the age of seventy-five, the Dalai Lama made it known that his political leadership would be next taken over by a democratically elected leader. He is respected as a true spirtitual leader whose warmth, compassion and wisdom speaks to the heart of everyone he meets, a spokesman for compassionate and peaceful solution to human conflict.

His Holiness is a great advocate of inter-religious dialog and understanding. He has tirelessly worked to promote harmony amongst the different schools of Tibetan buddhism (Gelugpa, Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya) and also the traditional Bon religion of Tibet. Less well known in the intense personal interest His Holiness has in science; he has said that if he would not have become a monk we would have liked to have become a engineer. He has a strong interest in learing about the newest developments in neuroscience.

In the last twenty years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has regularly visted the Netherlands, visting in 1986, 1990, 1994, 1999 and in 2009. In 1994 he received the Four Freedom's Award from the Roosevelt Institute in Middelburg.