By Tenzin Dedan
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 1: Exiled Tibetan leader and foremost Buddhist figure His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Saturday offered prayers and expressed condolences on the passing of US Senator and long-time friend of Tibet, Dianne Feinstein who died earlier this week aged 90.
“She lived a full and meaningful life in the service of the American public, both in her native state of California and subsequently in her national role as a Senator.
“Her friendship with the then Chinese leader Jiang Zemin was helpful in that it gave us an opportunity to convey our messages of sincerity to the highest level of Chinese leadership. I am grateful to Senator Feinstein for her steadfast friendship and support,” the Tibetan leader wrote in a letter to James Sauls at the Office of late Senator.
One of her most notable contribution was her leadership in the passage of key Tibet legislation in the United States, marking significant progress in addressing the Tibetan cause on the international stage.
Notably, she served as the primary Democratic sponsor in the Senate for the Dalai Lama Congressional Gold Medal Act, which culminated in the Tibetan leader receiving the prestigious gold medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States, in a ceremony held at the US capitol rotunda on October 17, 2007. At this historic event, Feinstein was joined by then-President George W. Bush, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, among other dignitaries.
The relationship between Senator Feinstein and His Holiness dates back to 1978 when she was introduced to the Tibetan spiritual leader by her late husband, Richard Blum. In her capacity as the first female mayor of San Francisco, Feinstein extended an invitation to His Holiness in September 1979, marking his inaugural visit to the United States. During this visit, she warmly welcomed him to the city and presented him with a symbolic key to San Francisco.
Throughout her illustrious political career, Senator Feinstein remained steadfast in her support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan people, consistently advocating for their rights and the peaceful resolution of the Tibet issue.