Vienna, May 14 - The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, attended a ceremony on Sunday to launch the building of a Tibetan health and cultural center.
The colourful ceremony was at Huettenberg in southern Austria, home of the Dalai Lama's former friend and mentor Heinrich Harrer who died in January this year aged 93. It was attended by about 4,000 people.
The Dalai Lama gave a reminder of Sunday's Mother's Day, saying that mothers were the first to convey to all people 'love and affection.' He also paid tribute to his long-standing friend Harrer.
The center would be a contribution to preserving Tibetan culture. 'Our cultural heritage faces a great challenge,' warned the exiled Tibetan leader.
The Tibetans, as a small community, would try their best to preserve their culture. But that could not happen through isolation.
In all, said the Nobel Peace Prize winner, the world was getting smaller. Contributing to this were population growth, new communications technologies, and tourism.
Today's world was a 'multiethnical, multicultural and multireligious' entity, said the Dalai Lama.
His host, Governor of Carinthia province Joerg Haider, said that for the Dalai Lama, Huettenberg would be a place where he could always return to, and take up roots.
'The dialogue of the cultures seems to me urgently necessary, particularly in the present age,' said Haider.
Planned at Huettenberg is an international center of Higher Tibetan Studies,' which local Carinthian officials say will include 'the first and only training center for Tibetan medicine in the western world.'
The Tibet Center would be the second of its kind in the world, after the one at the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala in North India.
The costs were estimated at 22 million euros (26 million dollars), said the Rogner group which will operate the project.
The group added that the idea was 'recuperation for body, soul and spirit based on old Christian and Eastern philosophy and spirituality.'
Not only Huettenberg, but the entire region would be incorporated. There would be 1,000 hotel beds available 'for a new category of guests' all year round.