At the ceremony, held in Washington, D.C., the Dalai Lama thanked members of the International Campaign for Tibet for their support for Tibet and urged their continued support until a solution for Tibet is reached.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama presented the International Campaign for Tibet’s 2003 Light of Truth to Michele Bohana, Benjamin Gilman and Robert Thurman on September 10, 2003 at the Park Hyatt Hotel.
The Dalai Lama spoke to ICT’s 350 guests saying that we have achieved much together for Tibet, because as the awardees personify, supporters of Tibet are those who believe in truth and justice, and work with compassion and wisdom to transform these ideas into action.
Michele Bohana is the Director of the Institute for Asian Democracy where she works tirelessly for the restoration of democracy in Burma. She helped organize the Dalai Lama’s first U.S. visit and was among the first Americans to systematically lobby the U.S. Congress on behalf of Tibet. She was key in laying the groundwork for the establishment of the International Campaign for Tibet.
For more than 30 years, Benjamin Gilman represented the people of New York’s 20th congressional district. From 1995 to 2002, he served as Chairman of the House International Relations Committee and from his position regularly convened policy discussions on Tibet and introduced or helped pass key landmark legislation concerning Tibet. Chairman Gilman was a warm congressional host of the Dalai Lama, his representatives, and U.S. and international supporters of the Tibetan cause.
Recognized as a worldwide authority on religion and spirituality, Asian history, philosophy and Tibetan Buddhism, Robert Thurman is the Chair of Religious Studies at Columbia University. After learning Tibetan and studying Buddhism, he became a Tibetan Buddhist monk and was ordained by the Dalai Lama, the first Westerner to earn that distinction. In 1987, he co-founded Tibet House US, a non-profit organization in New York City dedicated to the preservation and renaissance of Tibetan civilization.
The Light of Truth Award is bestowed upon individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding of Tibet and the plight of the Tibetan people. It is one of the most prestigious in the Tibet movement.
ICT extends special thanks to Pelgye Kelden, owner of Do Kham store, and his family for providing ICT with the silver butter lamps that serve as the Light of Truth awards.