By Brian Bronfman
Montreal, 21 September - At ceremonies in Montreal recognizing the United Nations International Day of Peace, a Tibetan Canadian—Thubten Samdup—was named Pacifist of the Year. Mr. Samdup, National Chair of the Dalai Lama Foundation Canada, received the honour in recognition of his two decades of work for the well-being of the Tibetan people, and for his tireless devotion to peace and nonviolence.
During ceremonies this past Sunday, an enthusiastic crowd enjoyed the beauty and tranquility of Montreal’s famous Mount Royal Park, while listening to speeches by dignitaries and peace activists, as well as performances by musical artists, all of whom extolled the virtues of peace and the need to practice it both in our personal lives and in the actions of our nations.
Partway through the festivities, after a minute of silence was observed and 21 doves (representing September 21st being the Day of Peace) were released, lead organizer Jean Trudel of the organization Cercle de Paix announced that Mr. Samdup had been named Pacifist of the Year, and congratulations were given by Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay.
Speaking both in French and in English, Mr. Samdup humbly accepted the award, and spoke of the Tibetan people as exemplary seekers of peace, whose nonviolent struggle and whose deeply-ingrained values are models for the world.
A proud Tibetan, proud Canadian, and proud Quebecer, Mr. Samdup also announced that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be visiting Montreal next year, in recognition and support of exciting changes within the Quebec educational system that should help to create a generation of young Quebecers who value peace, social harmony, and inter-dialogue, consistent with His Holiness’ own teachings and philosophy.
Before heading the Dalai Lama Foundation Canada, Mr. Samdup founded the Canada Tibet Committee, and he continues to be a social and economic entrepreneur whose recent initiatives include the launching of a newly invigorated effort on “Electing the Next Kalon Tripa,” and the creation of Tibet Innovations, which aims to provide economic opportunities for young Tibetans in South and Central Asia.