The Liberty Medal

2016 Liberty Medal Recipient: U.S. Representative and Civil Rights Activist John Lewis

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet received the 2015 Liberty Medal in recognition of his advocacy for human rights worldwide.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is a Buddhist monk and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born in northeastern Tibet and at the age of two, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He began his monastic education at age six, and at age 23, passed his final examination with honors, receiving the highest level degree, equivalent to a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy. He was called to assume full political power in 1950. He presented a draft democratic constitution for Tibet in 1963, which was followed by reforms resulting in a charter enshrining freedom of speech, belief, assembly and movement.

He is an advocate for greater global equality and the equal rights of all people to peace, happiness, freedom, equality and dignity. In his work, His Holiness has consistently promoted dialogue in seeking solutions to problems, and has criticized censorship for its role in preventing the progression of ideas. He has advocated for and participated in the idea of interfaith dialogue and tolerance, pointing out that all major religions convey the same message of love, compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and became the first Nobel Laureate to be recognized for his concern for global environmental problems. He is the recipient of more than 150 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes in recognition of his message of peace, non- violence, inter-religious understanding, universal responsibility and compassion. Among his recent awards is the Shine a Light Award in 2011 from Amnesty International and the Templeton Prize in 2012 from the John Templeton Foundation. His Holiness has traveled to more than 67 countries spanning six continents. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 books.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to receive the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in the historic city of Philadelphia. I am delighted as a recipient to be in the company of so many other inspirational leaders. I have made it my life’s work to spread the message of kindness and compassion and I can think of no better place to be recognized than in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

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