MEDIA RELEASE, 22 October 2010
Issued by Children in Crossfire
His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama will visit Ireland next year to take part in a series of events being planned by three Irish based NGO’s. Children in Crossfire, Afri, and SpunOut.ie, will host The Dalai Lama in his visit to Ireland and organisers say the visit comes at an important time when Ireland, North and South, is looking at important questions of identity, peace and progress.
The announcement comes just days before UTV screens a documentary about Children in Crossfire founder, Richard Moore, who the Dalai Lama calls ‘His Hero’. The documentary, ‘The Dalai Lama’s hero’ (screened on UTV, Sunday October 24th at 10.15pm GMT) follows Richard Moore and Charles Innis the British Soldier who blinded him, as they travel to India for a personal meeting with the Dalai Lama and charts their journey to forgiveness and friendship. Moore was blinded at the age of 10 by a rubber bullet in his native Derry and has since become a leading international advocate for the rights of children suffering from the injustice of poverty. His friendship with the British Solider who wounded him has become an inspiration to many and features in his autobiography ‘Can I Give Him My Eyes?‘ the title of which comes from Richard’s father’s passionate plea to the doctors who tried to help him after the attack.
The Dalai Lama is now the Patron of Children in Crossfire, which works to protect and promote the rights of some of the world’s most vulnerable children and it was during a visit to the Dalai Lama’s home in exile in Dharamasala, India earlier this year that he warmly accepted the invitation to return to Ireland.
Speaking at the announcement of the visit of the Dalai Lama to Ireland, Richard Moore says:
“There is perhaps no greater advocate for peace and compassion as respected worldwide as the Dalai Lama. He is a man of great warmth, depth, knowledge and insight. As a refugee from his native Tibet since fleeing the Chinese invasion in 1959, he has suffered a great deal alongside his people. His extraordinary work for peace has been recognised by his Nobel Peace prize in 1989, and by the awarding of the U.S Congressional Medal in 2007. However, it is the great admiration and esteem The Dalai Lama is held in, by people from all walks of life and all faiths, that makes him such an important figure and perhaps the most important figure in a world that is struggling with complex economic, ecological and social problems, and the need to cultivate human understanding, connection and collective action. It is against this backdrop that we are profoundly honoured and excited to welcome His Holiness back to Ireland, an island he has great respect and affection for.”
More information on the trip itinerary and programme will be announced on the www.dalailamaireland.com website in the coming weeks, in a visit that will connect with youth, church and community groups.
• Media queries: Children in Crossfire
Children in Crossfire
Children in Crossfire is 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.
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 organisation.
Comment from Afri
“Afri, together with our partners Children in Crossfire and SpunOut.ie, is delighted to welcome the Dalai Lama to Ireland as the head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet.
Afri welcomes The Dalai Lama as the distinguished representative of the people of Tibet, who have suffered colonisation and the brutal suppression of their rights by China for many years. We welcome him as a symbol of resistance – to cultural domination and political annexation – who has never acquiesced in the attempts of the Coloniser to silence him.
We welcome him as a refugee, who was forced to escape into exile in 1959 and who has never been able to return to his homeland. Ireland and the world can learn much from his leadership and example.
He brings a message of hope for refugees in Ireland and beyond.
He represents a rallying point for those whose rights are being marginalised and trampled on by government and corporations in Ireland and elsewhere.
At a time when Ireland so needs such a symbol of hope, his visit will help ensure that other voices are heard – voices of those too often silenced and ignored.
SpunOut.ie is a pioneering web based 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.
“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.”