The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, will deliver a public address today at University of California’s San Diego campus to an audience of 25,000 people and journalists from around the world as part of the university’s commencement weekend. The address begins at 10am PST, followed by a question and answer session with the Dalai Lama at 11am PST.
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The Dalai Lama’s address is titled “Embracing the Beauty of Diversity in Our World,” and he is expected to speak on the themes of compassion, education, and diversity.
“We are honored to host His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at UC San Diego and thankful that he will share messages of global compassion with our graduates and their families, as well as with a broad public audience,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla in a press release. “A man of peace, the Dalai Lama promotes global responsibility and service to humanity. These are the ideals we aim to convey and instill in our students and graduates at UC San Diego.”
But the Dalai Lama’s visit to UCSD, where 14% of the student body are Chinese foreign students, is not without controversy—many view the Dalai Lama not as a beacon of peace, but as a separatist who wants to divide China and as a symbol of the country’s feudal past.
Despite the controversy, all 25,000 tickets for the public address sold out within hours, and the university says this is the most popular commencement event they’ve ever had.
The Dalai Lama’s public address will be followed by a keynote speech to all UC San Diego graduates and their families at the university’s commencement ceremony tomorrow (June 17) at 9am PST.