By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept 22: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been awarded the “Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance” by the University of California, Merced as its 15th recipient. Sherrie Spendlove who established the prize at the university said, “In our increasingly politically-divided and highly confrontational world, the messages of kindness, peace, compassion and forgiveness of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama are helpful, not only in advancing sustainable social justice using non-violent methods, but also as a path to better interpersonal relations and a more meaningful life.”
The prize was founded in 2005 in the name of the founder’s parents Alice and Clifford Spendlove to honor a role model and inspirational figure for students, faculty and community at UC Merced; it also gives prize money of $15,000 to the recipient. Professor Nigel Hatton at the Department of Literatures, Languages and Cultures said that choosing His Holiness as “the latest recipient of the Spendlove Prize, UC Merced recognizes a global spiritual leader committed to expressing the importance of happiness, compassion, warm-heartedness, self-discipline, friendship and human solidarity amongst our diversity.”
A Nobel laureate in the year 1989, Dalai Lama has been a fierce advocate for peace and compassion. On the occasion of International Peace Day on Wednesday, he wrote, “The sale of weapons, thousands and thousands of types of arms and ammunition by manufacturers in big countries, fuels the violence, but more dangerous than guns or bombs are hatred, lack of compassion, and lack of respect for the rights of others. External peace is impossible without inner peace. As long as hatred dwells in the human mind, real peace is impossible.”
The distinguished past recipients include Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree, Jr.; 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning poet Peter Balakian; 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum; human rights activist and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nadia Murad; and civil rights activist and Black Lives Matter Global Network co-founder Alicia Garza. The Dalai Lama was officially presented with the Spendlove Prize on Sept. 18; a pre-recorded presentation will be shown on Monday to celebrate this year’s recipient at the university.