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Botswana to host Dalai Lama in August

Botswana to host Dalai Lama in August


Botswana has announced the visit of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama in August for a human rights conference in Gaborone.

The presidency announced the visit on Thursday saying the exiled Tibetan Buddhist monk will attend a human rights conference on August 17 to 19 and then meet President Ian Khama.

“President Ian Khama will meet the Dalai Lama when he is in Botswana. But the president’s attendance at the conference, for the official opening or otherwise, will be determined by his schedule,” the presidency said.

The Dalai Lama, who was also the political leader of the autonomous Tibetan region under Chinese rule, fled to India in 1959 in anticipation of a threat to his life.

He transferred his political authority in 2011 to the democratically elected leader putting an end to the 368-year old tradition of the Dalai Lamas functioning as both the spiritual and temporal head of Tibet.

His sour relationship with the Chinese government comes from his quest to liberate Tibet from Chinese rule.

China has strong ties with African countries including Botswana, and the visit of the Dalai Lama has been touted as one that could strain the relationship.

Neighboring South Africa has denied visa to the Buddhist monk three times since 2009.

He has travelled to more than 67 countries spanning 6 continents and has received over 150 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes in recognition of his message of peace and non-violence.

The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet.

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