NED to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama

June 15 event features young activists from Cuba, Sudan, Azerbaijan and Jordan

For Immediate Release
DATE: June 1, 2016
CONTACT:  Jane Riley Jacobsen,, 202-378-9700

WASHINGTON, D.C. – His Holiness the Dalai Lama will discuss the subject of Democracy and Hope with a group of young activists from Cuba, Sudan, Azerbaijan and Jordan at an event at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. 

“We are delighted to welcome His Holiness to NED to engage with dynamic young activists who believe deeply in the principles of democracy and human rights and are working in difficult environments to advance those rights and principles,” said NED president Carl Gershman.

The featured activists are:

  • Arzu Geybullayeva, Journalist, Azerbaijan
  • Rosa Maria Payá, Cuba Decide
  • Azaz Elshami, Sudanese Digital Activist
  • Rami Soud, Success Network 21, Jordan

Read activists’ full bios.

The Dalai Lama is well known as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He is less well known as a dedicated advocate for the principles of democracy and for the political reforms he introduced when he gave up his role as political leader of the Tibetan people, devolving political power to the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the elected government in exile. The Dalai Lama has often said that opposing totalitarianism is not enough, and that it is also necessary to offer a democratic alternative. NED will make a special presentation to representatives of the CTA at the June 15 event in recognition of their democratic accomplishments.

NED will also use this occasion to honor the courageous work of the late Tibetan Buddhist Monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche with the presentation of NED’s Democracy Service Medal.  Tenzin Delek was a prominent political prisoner who died in a Sichuan prison in 2015. Punished for his efforts to foster Tibetan Buddhism, Tenzin Delek was an inspiration for Tibetans struggling to retain their cultural identity in the face of China’s harsh policies. 

This event is by invitation only, and is open to the media.  Credentialed journalists must register in advance by email:  A livestream of the event will be available on the NED website at