The Dalai Lama greets John M Templeton, President of the John Templeton Foundation at a ceremony in London's Saint Paul's Cathedral to honour the exiled Tibetan leader with the 2012 Templeton Prize on May 14, 2012. (Photo/AFP)
DHARAMSHALA, May 14: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today received the 2012 Templeton Prize and announced that he will give away to charity £1.1m (about $ 1.7 million) in prize money awarded to him.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 2,000 inside London’s Saint Paul's Cathedral, the Dalai Lama said the largest share of the prize money will go towards helping malnourished children in India realise their full potential.
The 76-year old Tibetan leader will donate $1.5 million of the prize to Save the Children, India, an organisation, which is at the forefront of the fight against malnutrition - one of the biggest causes of deaths of young children across the globe.
"Our real hope (is the) younger generation. If we properly educate them then they will change the whole world," the Dalai Lama said.
His Holiness is also giving $200,000 to the Mind and Life Institute, an organisation promoting closer work between science and spirituality, while the rest of the prize will fund scientific education for Tibetan monks.
Save the Children, in a release today, said that they were “honoured” to accept the Dalai Lama’s “generous humanitarian gift,” which the group noted, will be used to save the lives of some of the world's “most vulnerable children.”
“In line with the Dalai Lama's wishes, the funds will be used on programs which tackle malnutrition in India,” the release said. “This donation will be used practically, to help many more children survive, grow and as the Dalai Lama said realise their full potential.”
The exiled Tibetan leader received the Templeton prize, the largest annual monetary award given to an individual, for his work in encouraging scientific research and harmony among religions; the latter being one of the Dalai Lama’s three main commitments.
"This is another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly non-violence and unity around different religious traditions," the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate had earlier said on being awarded the prize.
The Dalai Lama received the prize from John M. Templeton, the president and chairman of the Pennsylvania-based John Templeton Foundation.
"The Dalai Lama offers a universal voice of compassion underpinned by a love and respect for spiritually relevant scientific research that centers on every single human being," John Templeton earlier said while announcing the award.
The Tibetan leader is the second Templeton Prize laureate who has also won the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa won the first Templeton, in 1973.
Established in 1972, the Prize is a cornerstone of the John Templeton Foundation’s international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.