Dalai Lama Promotes Peace During Atlanta Visit
October 28, 2007, Atlanta Daily Word - AP


ATLANTA–The Dalai Lama called for more members of the Peace Corps -- not U.S. soldiers -- to be sent to other countries to help spread democracy peacefully.

"The concept of war is outdated,'' the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader told a crowd of thousands gathered Monday at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. ``Through war, through violence, you cannot achieve what you want.''

He said the United States is the world's ``greatest, most powerful'' democracy and has the responsibility to make sure other countries have the same freedoms. But that can only be done through dialogue and compassion, he said. The Dalai Lama's speech was the culmination of a weekend of events at Emory University, where he was formally installed as a professor earlier Monday.

The Emory ceremony was attended by university officials, faculty and students, along with Tibetan monks who chanted and played cymbals, gongs and horns. The exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, whose face is recognized around the world, now is the bearer of a faculty ID card.

"I suspect you will not need to carry this with you for identification, but in any case, we wanted you to know you are welcome,'' student Emily Allen said as she handed him the card, a present from the students.

In his first speech as a faculty member, the Dalai Lama encouraged his audience of thousands of people to look beyond money and fame for happiness. Education paired with destructive behavior is wasted, but knowledge used for good is a powerful instrument, he said.

"As a professor of this university, I think you should listen to me,'' the 72-year-old monk and Nobel Peace Prize laureate said with a laugh.

As Presidential Distinguished Professor, the Dalai Lama will provide private teaching sessions with students and faculty during Emory's study-abroad program in Dharamsala, India, and periodically visit Emory in Atlanta.

The Dalai Lama fled the Himalayan region in 1959 during a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He remains highly popular among Tibetans and is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, but China reviles him as a Tibetan separatist.

Chinese officials lashed out angrily at the United States after he received the U.S. Congress' highest civilian honor last week. The Dalai Lama brushed aside the furious reaction, saying he supports ``genuine autonomy,'' not independence for Tibet.