Dalai Lama Honored with NED Democracy Service Medal at Library of Congress

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) will present His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the Democracy Service Medal in recognition of the Tibetan spiritual leader’s commitment to advancing the principles of democracy and human dignity on Friday, February 19, 2010 at 10:30 am in the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress. The event is open to press and coverage is invited.

The Dalai Lama is expected to address an audience of approximately 500 at his only public appearance during his upcoming Washington visit.

Commenting on the significance of the honor for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, NED President Carl Gershman said, “The struggle of the Tibetan people to preserve their culture is world renowned.  What is little known, however, is that the Dalai Lama, even before leaving Tibet, sought to implement significant reforms in the system of government. Only in exile was the Dalai Lama able to implement those reforms. Today, the Tibetan community in exile operates under a democratic constitution, with an elected National Assembly and a Supreme Court, with day-to-day powers vested in an elected prime minister. The Dalai Lama himself has often said that it is not enough to oppose Chinese totalitarianism, but that it is necessary to offer a democratic alternative.

Because the Tibetan people have transformed their suffering into a source of moral strength, they have become an inspiration to others who have suffered injustice.”

WHAT: National Endowment for Democracy presents the Dalai Lama with the Democracy Service Medal.

WHO: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Chairman Richard Gephardt and NED President Carl Gershman, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington

WHEN: Friday, February 19, 2010 at 10:30 am. We request that equipment be pre-set in place by 9:00 am.

WHERE: Coolidge Auditorium at the Thomas Jefferson Building of   the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave, SE