Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US — The National Constitution Center awarded His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet the 2015 Liberty Medal on Monday, October 26, 2015, in recognition of his efforts to promote compassion and human rights around the world.

 

Dr Thupten Jinpa, the principal English translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Richie Davidson, founder and chair of the Mind and Life Institute, accepted the award on behalf of His Holiness. Kaydor Aukatsang, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to North America, was also in attendance.

His Holiness was chosen in June to receive the award, which comes with a $100,000 cash prize, but canceled his appearance at the Philadelphia ceremony on Monday evening for health reasons.

Hollywood actor and close friend of His Holiness, Mr Richard Gere also participated in the award presentation. At the National Constitution Center ceremony, Richard Gere called His Holiness the Dalai Lama "one of the great ones" who "wants nothing more than our happiness, which is ultimately us understanding the nature of things and how deeply interconnected we all are."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama said in a video statement that he regretted not being able to attend and considered himself a "simple Buddhist monk, no more, no less."

"Respected dear brothers and sisters, I feel great regret as I could not come there to receive your precious award because of my health reasons. However I want to thank your organization for this recognition," His Holiness said.

"When I received the Noble peace prize, I emphasised that I am just a simple Buddhist monk, no more, no less. But that award or that name, I consider as some kind of recognition for my contribution towards peace, non-violence and reconciliation. So similarly, I am deeply touched to receive this medal," His Holiness added.