Vancouver,British Columbia - The Dalai Lama, leader of the world's Tibetan Buddhists, arrived in Vancouver on Thursday to establish the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, the world's first educational center in his name.
The Dalai Lama said Thursday Vancouver was chosen as the site of the center because its multiethnic and multiracial population gives it harmony.
"This is purely educational, not political," he said of the center.
The Dalai Lama said religious institutions have lost their power and that moral and ethical guidance is now provided through education.
"We have to live together. We must educate in this respect," he said.
Among those on the center's advisory board are former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, former Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
During his Vancouver visit, the Dalai Lama is due to meet with high school students and educators Friday on the themes of cultivating compassion and educating the heart.
Among participants in Friday sessions is Tim Shriver, CEO and chairman of the Special Olympics. Shriver is the brother of Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
On Saturday, the Dalai Lama takes part in public dialogues with a number of academics and writers including best-selling author Deepak Chopra on enhancing authentic happiness and physical well-being.
Later, he addresses a public session at the 21,000-seat GM Place on cultivating happiness.
Canada's embracing of the Dalai Lama has drawn criticism from China which continues to rule Tibet, which he fled in 1959.
Beijing has complained to the Canadian government about its decision to bestow honorary citizenship on the 71-year-old exiled Tibetan leader, saying the gesture could harm relations.
Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs says Canada recognizes China as the legitimate government of China and Tibet, but has great respect for the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama won a Nobel peace prize for his lifelong struggle for Tibetan autonomy and his pursuit of peace.
He fled into exile in northern India in 1959, following a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and is still widely revered in Tibet which he fled in 1959.
Although he is frequently described as the exiled leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama describes himself as semiretired.
"I'm actually like a senior advisory," he said.
He said he frequently hears from people about the situation in Tibet ,which he described as "materially backward (but) . . . spirituality very rich."
"All express sadness, complaints, resentment," he said.
But, he stressed, he is not seeking independence from China for Tibet.
"I'm trying to find a solution according to the Chinese constitution," he said.
During Thursday's press conference, the Dalai Lama also stressed the importance of free media.