His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama first visited Emory in 1987, two years before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, at the invitation of the late John Fenton, professor of religion. His second visit was in September 1995, with Emory the first stop on a four-city, 12-day visit to the United States in celebration of his 60th year. He received the first Emory President's Medal during that visit and spoke to a crowd of more than 4,000 in the Woodruff Physical Education Center.
His Holiness made his third visit to Emory when he delivered the 1998 commencement address on May 11 and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
On February 5, 2007, His Holiness was named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory University, the first university appointment accepted by him. See more about the Visits in 2007 and 2010.
"To have a colleague of the Dalai Lama's stature in our community will be a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to our faculty, staff and students as we strive to realize the vision of educating both the heart and mind for the greater good of humanity," says Emory President James Wagner. "His presence will contribute significantly to fulfilling the University's strategic goals, including bringing engaged scholars together in a strong and vital community to confront the human condition."
"I look forward to offering my services to the Emory students and community. I firmly believe that education is an indispensable tool for the flourishing of human well-being and the creation of a just and peaceful society, and I am delighted to make a small contribution in this regard through this appointment," says the Dalai Lama. "I have long believed in and advocated a dialogue and cross-fertilization between science and spirituality, as both are essential for enriching human life and alleviating suffering on both individual and global levels."
The Dalai Lama's appointment is the most recent outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which was founded in 1998 to bring together the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions. As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama will continue to provide private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory's study-abroad program in Dharamsala, as well as provide opportunities for university community members to attend his annual teachings. He also will make periodic visits to Emory to participate in programs. Emory will establish a fellowship in the Dalai Lama's name to fund annual scholarships for Tibetan students attending Emory undergraduate and graduate schools.