Dalai Lama says ‘vast possibilities are available to the people of Ireland’ in advance of April visit

PRESS RELEASE, 1 February 2011

Issued by POSSIBILITIES 2011 (Children in Crossfire, SpunOut.ie, Afri)

Speaking in advance of an April visit to Ireland, Nobel Peace Laureate and exiled Tibetan Leader the Dalai Lama has today delivered a message to the people of Ireland in which he calls for people to demonstrate courage and hope.

“Our world is in turmoil but this also provides an opportunity for true transformation towards peace, justice and happiness if we show courage and hope.” he said in the message which can be viewed in full on the new website http://www.possibilities.ie

The Dalai Lama’s message comes ahead of his April 13th – 14th visit, which is in support of the new POSSIBILITIES 2011 social change initiative, which is being launched by 3 non-profit organisations; Children in Crossfire, SpunOut.ie, and Afri.

“It is my hope that POSSIBILITIES 2011 will open up a space of dialogue, action and reflection and strengthen the realization that vast possibilities are available to the people of Ireland at this time.” said the Tibetan spiritual and political leader.

During his visit the Dalai Lama will deliver a talk entitled ‘A Call For Universal Responsibility’ at a major national Social Forum at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin on April 13th, which also includes Mary Robinson, the popular Irish music group Kila and other yet to be announced very special guests. He will then visit Kildare, in partnership with the Solas Bhríde Centre, where he will speak on ‘The Spirituality of Compassion’, before concluding his visit on Thursday April 14th with a talk entitled  ‘The Power of Forgiveness’ at the University of Limerick.

His visit, which is his 3rd to the Republic of Ireland (having visited in 1973 and 1991), follows a personal invitation from Derry man Richard Moore who the Dalai Lama describes as his personal hero.  In 1972, aged 10, Richard was blinded by a rubber bullet and years later he befriended the soldier who shot him. He has gone on to become a leading advocate for children through his Children in Crossfire international development organisation, of which the Dalai Lama is patron.

According to Richard, the Dalai Lama represents the type of progressive leadership that is badly needed in Ireland right now: “The Dalai Lama offers a deep wisdom to help us better understand and address the urgent and interconnected range of economic, social, political and environmental problems facing us today. He is someone respected by people from all walks of life, someone who can help us realise the real possibilities for change that exist in amongst all the tough times.”

More information on POSSIBILITIES 2011 and the Dalai Lama’s visit to Dublin, Kildare and Limerick, including ticket information, is available from www.possibilities.ie. Tickets go on sale for the POSSIBILITIES 2011 Social Forum tomorrow Wednesday February 2rd at 9am from Ticketmaster.ie and Ticketmaster outlets north and south.

http://www.possibilities.ie

ENDS

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His Holiness The 14th The Dalai Lama’s Message to the People of Ireland (via Office of Tibet )

“I am looking forward to visiting Ireland in April to participate in a range of events organized by Children in Crossfire, Afri and SpunOut.ie. I very much look forward to speaking in Dublin, Kildare and Limerick at events which I hope will help people realise their own potential, as well as the immense possibilities that exist for realising much needed personal, social and global change. It is my hope that POSSIBILITIES 2011 will open up a space of dialogue, action and reflection and strengthen the realization that vast possibilities are available to the people of Ireland at this time.

Our world is in turmoil but this also provides an opportunity for true transformation towards peace, justice and happiness if we show courage and hope.  As I have said before, I truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society and it is up to each of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier and fairer world.
It will be especially important to visit at a time when Ireland is facing serious turmoil, as is the world as a whole, grappling as it is with economic upheaval, climate change, and great and growing chasms between rich and poor.

I hope that my time in Ireland – in the company of my good friend and my hero Richard Moore – will contribute towards the building of a new civic and cultural force for change.”

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COMMENTS/INTERVIEWS:

Dalai Lama specific queries/comment
Richard Moore: Founder of Children in Crossfire | Tel.: Derry +44 (0)28 7126 9898 | Email: ursula.moore@childrenincrossfire.org | Web: www.childrenincrossfire.org |

POSSIBILITIES initiative, including April 13th Social Forum
1) Joe Murray: Coordinator of Afri, | Tel.: 086-2116956 / 01-8827563/7581|Email: admin@afri.ie | Web: www.afri.ie |
2) Ruairí McKiernan: SpunOut.ie Founder | Tel. 091-533693 | Email: ruairi@spunout.ie | Web: www.spunout.ie

Kildare visit
Rita Minehan csb, Solas Bhríde Centre | Tel.: 01-8642440 or 045-522890 |Email: Rminehan@gmail.com or info@solasbhride.com | Web: www.solasbhride.ie

Limerick visit
Sheena Doyle, Press Officer, University of Limerick | Tel.: 061 202219 / 086 3807859 | email: sheena.doyle@ul.ie | Web: www.ul.ie/dalailama
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ADDITIONAL NOTES

1. Children in Crossfire

Children in Crossfire are a Derry based international organisation founded by Richard Moore in 1996. Children in Crossfire works to protect and promote the rights of some the world’s most vulnerable children, and in particular to ensure primary school access to all children and to reduce infant mortality.

Richard Moore, Founder:

“Children in Crossfire are delighted and honoured that His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, has agreed to come to Ireland to speak at the Possibilities event.  We can not think of anyone more suited to provide leadership, hope and inspiration at a time when the world and in particular Ireland needs it most.  Through the series of events that His Holiness is speaking at in Dublin, Limerick and Kildare we envisage that people will be empowered and given the confidence to act and bring about change at a personal, local and global level.”

2. Afri

Afri is a peace and justice organisation who for the last 35 years have been active in promoting peace and development in Ireland and abroad. Afri holds the annual Féile Bhríde peace conference in Kildare, a winter school on social justice issues and an annual Famine memorial walk in Co. Mayo. Supporters include musician Christy Moore, Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who is the Patron of the organsiation.

Joe Murray, Coordinator:

“Afri is delighted to welcome the Dalai Lama, the Head of State and spiritual leader of Tibet, to Ireland. We welcome him as the representative of the people of Tibet who continue to experience suppression of their rights on a daily basis. We welcome him as one who knows at first hand the reality of colonialism and political violence as a result of Chinese aggression towards his homeland. We welcome him as a symbol of resistance to cultural domination and political annexation. We welcome him as a refugee, forced into exile on St. Patrick’s Day 1959. We hope his visit will be a source of support for refugees in Ireland and generate a more enlightened, generous and welcoming approach to refugees and asylum seekers here. We welcome him as a Nobel Peace Laureate, the first to be recognised for his concern for the global environment. We hope that the Dalai Lama’s life of service to humanity will be an example that will inspire others. Mindful of our own history, Afri has always striven to develop links between Ireland and oppressed people around the world and has worked in solidarity with oppressed communities in Latin America, the Philippines, South Africa, East Timor and the Niger Delta, amongst other places. We see the visit of the Dalai Lama as a way of strengthening the links between Ireland and the people of Tibet. We believe that this visit is happening at a crucial time, when hope, courage, integrity and true leadership are urgently required.  We believe that his visit will be a sign of hope to those here who are marginalised and have their rights trampled upon by government or corporations. We hope for a re-awakening and a deepening of awareness about the way in which our planet is being devastated and our resources squandered. The Dalai Lama’s dream for Tibet is that it would be a zone of peace at the heart of Asia. We believe that Ireland could become a zone of peace at the heart of Europe, rejecting warfare and the violence of corporations who put profit before people.”

3. SpunOut.ie

SpunOut.ie is a pioneering driven youth organisation that works to empower young people to make a difference in their own lives and in the world around them. SpunOut.ie provides information, support and opportunities for young people to engage in health and social issues and discuss, debate and act on the issues that affect them such as mental health, education, employment and climate change. SpunOut.ie also runs an Academy of Activism and will soon launching a micro-grants awards scheme amongst other youth health and civic initiatives.

Comment by SpunOut.ie Founder, Ruairí McKiernan:

“We welcome The Dalai Lama to Ireland and what is a turning point in our country’s history. We are having to face up to our past, present and our future and many people are looking within to question our values and our culture. The Dalai Lama is one of the greatest messengers for peace and inner revolution alive. He echoes Gandhi’s ‘be the change you want to see’ mantra and is an all too rare figure of integrity and courage. As a teenager and leader of a peaceful isolated country he was forced to deal with a brutal invasion of his country and later into negotiations with the infamous Chairman Mao. The Dalai Lama has a great affinity for young people and SpunOut.ie believes he can add huge value to our work in empowering and mobilising Ireland’s massive population of young people, who desperately need support and opportunities to transform our struggling island.”

4. Solas Bhride Centre, Kildare

Solas Bhríde is a small Christian centre, established in Kildare in 1992.  It is committed to unfolding the legacy of St. Brigid of Kildare in a creative and life-giving way in the 21st century.  The Centre welcomes peoples of all faiths and none in their search of meaning.  It has become a popular destination for pilgrims and visitors, local, national and international.  Brigid’s flame, tended in Solas Bhride since it was relit at an Afri Justice and Peace Conference in Kildare in 1993, burns as a beacon of hope, justice and peace for our country and our world. Plans are in place for a larger ecologically sustainable Centre and Hermitages in the near future.

Rita Minehan csb, Solas Bhríde Centre:

“Solas Bhride is honoured to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Kildare. The people will extend a warm Céad Mile Fáilte to the Dalai Lama.  He is renowned worldwide as a spiritual leader and a man of peace and we eagerly await his message of peace and compassion.  The Dalai Lama will have an opportunity to imbibe some of the rich heritage of Kildare.  St. Brigid, its founding saint, is renowned through the ages as a spiritual leader, peacemaker, a woman of the land, an advocate for the poor and a woman of legendary hospitality. The Dalai Lama will be presented with the Brigid flame, and will give an address to those assembled on the theme of Compassion.”
www.solasbhride.com (Dalai Lama visit info published in late February)

5. University of Limerick

University of Limerick Professor Don Barry, UL President:

“We are extremely honoured to host this Lecture and to welcome the Dalai Lama onto our campus at UL.  His Holiness is respected all over the world as a truly inspirational spiritual teacher whose energy, compassion and wisdom touch everyone he meets. He has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the US Congressional Medal in recognition of his tireless efforts to promote the compassionate and peaceful resolution of human conflict and we very much look forward to hearing his message on the Power of Forgiveness when he speaks at UL”
www.ul.ie/dalailama

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