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  • Henry DeVries

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  • Henry DeVries

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Dalai Lama to Speak on Campus as Part of First Visit to San Diego

Tenzin Dhonden (left) and Suresh Subramani (right)

UC San Diego, San Diego State University and the University of San Diego joined together at a press conference Jan. 19 to announce that the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, will make his first trip to San Diego April 18 to 19 for public events at each of the three host universities.

The “Compassion Without Borders” symposium will include three major public events:

  • April 18, 9:30 a.m., UC San Diego, Panel Discussion: “The Global Impact of Climate Change: Balance through Universal Responsibility, Compassion and Human Consciousness”
  • April 18, 1:30 p.m., USD, Public Talk: “Cultivating Peace and Justice”
  • April 19, 9:30 a.m., SDSU, Public Talk: “Upholding Universal Ethics and Compassion in Challenging Times”

“This will be a historic event for San Diego,” said event chair Tenzin Dhonden, the Personal Peace Emissary for the Dalai Lama, speaking on behalf of the Compassion Without Borders Organizing Committee. “This event will bring together people of different faiths, secularists and non-secularists, scientists, scholars and artists to celebrate our shared values. This event will bring community together and focus our attention on internal values of the humanity so desperately needed in today’s challenging world.”

Tickets will go on sale Feb. 22 via the website These events are entirely privately funded. No public money will be used for these events.

Joining Tenzin for the announcement were Suresh Subramani, Executive Vice Chancellor, UC San Diego; Julie Sullivan, Executive Vice President and Provost, USD; and Nancy Marlin, Senior Vice President and Provost, SDSU.

“We greatly value the Dalai Lama’s personal principles of service to society with humility, his compassion for all human beings and his efforts on behalf of the Tibetan people,” said Subramani. “He has had a lifelong commitment to peace and human rights and this has earned him many honors worldwide as a messenger of peace in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa.”

Subramani took the opportunity to preview for the audience the compelling panel discussion – “The Global Impact of Climate Change: Balance through Universal Responsibility, Compassion and Human Consciousness,” that will occur between the Dalai Lama and UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists Richard Somerville and Veerabhadran Ramanathan.

Tenzin Dhonden

“I am confident we each will learn something valuable from their conversation on global climate change and the need for humanitarian values and universal responsibility in recognizing and responding to the impacts of this change on communities and ecosystems,” said Subramani.

Somerville is a distinguished professor emeritus at Scripps and coordinating lead author for the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Ramanathan is a distinguished professor of atmospheric and climate sciences at Scripps, winner of the 2009 Tyler Prize, co-chair of the report, “Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthopocene,” a product of a meeting organized by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and founder of Project Surya (to mitigate soot emissions by providing cleaner-burning stoves to people in rural areas of India).

Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama and the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.

In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet.  He has consistently advocated policies of non-violence, even in the face of extreme aggression. He also became the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems.

He has traveled to more than 62 countries spanning six continents. He has met with presidents, prime ministers and crowned rulers of major nations.  He has held dialogues with the heads of different religions and many well-known scientists. Despite authoring more than 72 books, he describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. More information is available at his website,

Suresh Subramani, Executive Vice Chancellor, UC San Diego

USD will award the Dalai Lama the  University of San Diego Medal of Peace. Provost Sullivan noted, “We are delighted to welcome His Holiness to San Diego and look forward to presenting him with the University of San Diego Medal of Peace in recognition of his scholarship and lifelong contributions to international peacebuilding. The Dalai Lama’s public talk, ‘Cultivating Peace and Justice,’ will address the struggles facing our world due to escalated violence in society and among nations. His Holiness will explore alternatives to violence and the shared core human values that can lead the way to peace, justice and happiness.”

SDSU will host the final public talk: “Upholding Universal Ethics and Compassion in Challenging Times.”

“We look forward to hearing His Holiness’ views on upholding ethics, practicing forgiveness and tolerance, and coping with the challenges found in today’s society,” said Provost Marline of SDSU. “We expect the teachings of His Holiness to have a profound impact on the San Diego region and beyond, particularly for our students who will have the extraordinary opportunity to become inspired by the Nobel Prize recipient they only hear about in class lectures and read about in textbooks.”

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