The Dalai Lama awarded the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace in absentia
The Gandhi Development Trust in Durban, South Africa, awarded His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace last Sunday.
Sonam Tenzin, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Africa accepted the award on the behalf of the Dalai Lama.
An empty chair, a burning candle and framed picture of the Tibetan spiritual leader were placed symbolically on the stage to depict his absence at the Durban city hall.
The award ceremony was one of several public events the Dalai Lama was unable to attend after he called off his visit to SA following a five-week wait for a visa to be issued.
Ela Gandhi, chair of the Gandhi Development Trust and Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter said that the Dalai Lama stood for non-violence, and those who “call him a danger” did so because they were ill-informed.
“His Holiness has suffered in Tibet because of China’s invasion of Tibet… Even at that time he always wanted to negotiate with China to look at how they could work together, because all he wants is human rights for his people,” she said.
Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, South African leader Nelson Mandela and Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere were some of the former recipients of the honour.