Dharamshala, India — The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been awarded the "Pacem in Terris - Peace and freedom" prize. The recognition came from the Catholic Interracial Council of Davenport (Iowa, USA), in which 11 religious organizations collaborate.
Rev Thomas Zinkula, the Bishop of Davenport personally presented the award to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a renowned peacemaker and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, in McLeod Ganj, northern hill town of Dharamshala, India on March 04, 2019. Zinkula traveled over 7,200 miles to Dharamshala, India from Iowa, USA to present the "Peace and Freedom Award" to the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
The award states: " Your leadership to promote respect for the dignity and culture of the Tibetan people fills all oppressed people with hope that peace can overcome injustice". For China he is "a wolf in sheep's clothing". The future Dalai Lama will emerge from "a free country", not from China, "without freedom".
"The Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award is presented by the Davenport Catholic Interracial Council in collaboration with 11 religious organization to honour an individual for achievements in peace and justice, not only in their country but in the world," said a report by Arland-Fye, editor of The Catholic Messenger, newspaper of the Diocese of Davenport.
The first Pacem in Terris award was given to John F. Kennedy in 1964. The journey culminated a years-long dream of the interfaith Pacem in Terris Coalition of the Quad Cities to honor one of the world's most respected peacemakers. Usually, the award's distinguished recipients — including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dorothy Day — travel to Davenport to accept the award.
Presenting the award on the Tibetan spiritual leader at his residence, Bishop Zinkula said, “The coalition recognizes your vision and your commitment to human rights, world peace and the nonviolent resolution of conflict. It is clear from your words and deeds that you are a person who is deeply rooted in the spirit of peace. Your leadership to promote respect for the dignity and culture of the Tibetan people fills all oppressed people with hope that peace can overcome injustice.”
“Your Holiness, you truly embody the words of Pope John XXIII in his encyclical Pacem in Terris as a ‘spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven’ to your sisters and brothers around the world.” The Davenport diocese said His Holiness the Dalai Lama accepted the award with humility, stating that it recognizes his “little contribution” to world peace as did the Nobel Peace Prize. During the 10-minute audience, His Holiness greeted Bishop Zinkula and expressed appreciation for the award and for the interfaith composition of the coalition that nominates award recipients.
While it is important “to have world leaders accept the award in person so that they can share their message face to face with the people, “we needed to take the opportunity to go to India to honor him,” said Kent Ferris, who leads the Pacem in Terris Coalition. Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu and Dorothy Day are among the internationally known recipients of the award.
Bishop Zinkula said he was willing to travel halfway across the world to present the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award to him because “he is the Dalai Lama. He has been promoting inner peace and world peace his entire life.”
During their 10-minute audience in a cozy room with comfortable couches and cameras flashing, His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeted Zinkula with a handshake and broad smile. He listened attentively as the bishop shared a brief history of the award, identified coalition members and read the text inscribed in the framed award. “There was a sense of vigor and vitality about him,” he told The Catholic Messenger, Davenport’s diocesan newspaper. “He gave me his undivided attention while I spoke about the award and presented it to him. His Holiness exuded a sense of peace, love, joy and warmth.”
According to the Davenport diocese, His Holiness was pleased when the bishop identified the groups – Christians, Jews and Muslims among them – who represent the interfaith coalition. Speaking in English, His Holiness described the award as a “great honor.” “All human beings are children of God, the Father. We truly are brothers and sisters, because all human beings are of the same nature. So we should all love one another, respect one another,” His Holiness told the Bishop, adding that “today’s world really needs peace message.”
"Your Holiness, you truly embody the words of Pope John XXIII in his encyclical Pacem in Terris as a 'spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying leaven' to your sisters and brothers around the world." His Holiness the Dalai Lama appeared pleased when the bishop identified the groups — Christians, Jews and Muslims among them — who represent the interfaith coalition. Speaking in English, he described the award as a "great honor."
Despite different views among the religions of the world, all convey the "same message of love," he said. The Buddhist leader called for loving kindness and forgiveness, adding that "today's world really needs (the) peace message."
The Nobel Peace laureate recalled that someone asked him at the time what it felt like to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He said he told his questioner that as an individual, as a Buddhist monk, he felt no more, no less than before receiving the award. He viewed that award as recognition of "my little contribution" to world peace.
And that's the way he feels about the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award. The Tibetan leader sees it as recognition of his "little contribution" to world peace. Now approaching his 84th birthday, which is in July, Tibetan spiritual leader told Zinkula that he has spent almost his entire life dedicated to inner peace and world peace.
In his short visit with the Dalai Lama, Zinkula said he could see that the peacemaker was mentally sharp and engaged. "There was a sense of vigor and vitality about him," he told The Catholic Messenger, Davenport's diocesan newspaper. "He gave me his undivided attention while I spoke about the award and presented it to him. He exuded a sense of peace, love, joy and warmth."
A local celebration of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, a renowned peacemaker and Nobel Peace Prize laureate as the 2019 recipient of the "Pacem in Terris - Peace and freedom" Award is to take place on April 9, 2019, on the St. Ambrose University campus in Davenport.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in 1935 to a farming family in a small hamlet located in Taktser Amdo, Northeastern Tibet. At the age of two, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13 Dalai Lamas. At age fifteen, on November 17, 1950, he assumed full temporal political duties. In 1959, following the brutal suppression of the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa by Chinese troops, His Holiness was forced to flee to Dharamsala, Northern India, where he currently lives as a refugee. He was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent efforts for the liberation of Tibet and concern for global environmental problems.
Members of the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Coalition are the Diocese of Davenport; The Catholic Messenger; St. Ambrose University; Presidential Center for Faith and Learning at Augustana College; Churches United of the Quad City Area; Islamic Center of Quad Cities; Quad Cities Interfaith, Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities; Muslim Community of the Quad Cities; Congregation of the Humility of Mary; Sisters of St. Benedict; Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa; and Sisters of St. Francis of Clinton, Iowa.