By Tenzin Dharpo
Bishop Thomas Zinkula presenting 'The Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award' to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, March 4, 2019 at the latter's residence in Dharamshala. Photo_Tenzin Jamphel_OHHDL
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 18: Exiled Tibetan leader and the foremost figure in the Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was conferred upon with the 2019 ‘Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award’. The award is presented by the Davenport Catholic Interracial Council in collaboration with 11 religious organizations to honour an individual for achievements in peace and justice.
The award was presented to the Tibetan leader in person by Rev. Thomas Zinkula, Bishop of Davenport, Iowa who traveled over 7,200 miles to Dharamsala on 4 March. “I was willing to travel halfway across the world to present the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award to him because he is the Dalai Lama. He has been promoting inner peace and world peace his entire life,” Bishop Zinkula said.
The Bishop recounted his short meeting with the Tibetan leader as he told The Catholic Messenger,
Davenport’s diocesan newspaper, “There was a sense of vigor and vitality about him. He gave me his undivided attention while I spoke about the award and presented it to him. He exuded a sense of peace, love, joy and warmth.”
“It’s important to have world leaders accept the award in person so that they can share their message face to face with the people. But the Dalai Lama’s travel limitations meant that we needed to take the opportunity to go to India to honor him,” said Kent Ferris, who leads the Pacem in Terris
The framed award inscribed with the message read, “The coalition recognizes your vision and your commitment to human rights, world peace and the nonviolent resolution of conflict. It is clear from your words and deeds that you are a person who is deeply rooted in the spirit of peace. Your leadership to promote respect for the dignity and culture of the Tibetan people fills all oppressed people with hope that peace can overcome injustice.”
The 83-year-old said it is a “great honor” for him to receive the award and said, “All human beings are children of God, the Father. We truly are brothers and sisters, because all human beings are of the same nature. So we should all love one another, respect one another. Today’s world really needs peace message.”
Previous winners of the honor include Dalai Lama’s friend Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., President John F. Kennedy and Dorothy Day, among others.
The octogenarian Tibetan leader is the recipient of over 120 international awards including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. He is also honorary citizens of several countries and recipient of honorary doctorates and distinguished Professorships from various universities around the globe.