DHARAMSHALA, April 23: The University of Sydney is set to hold an on-campus lecture by Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in mid-June reverting an earlier decision to cancel the event.
In a public statement issued by Professor John Keane, Director of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, University of Sydney, he said the University and the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Australia “agreed to host an on-campus lecture for students at the University of Sydney in mid-June 2013.”
“The IDHR looks forward to hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama under the theme ‘Education Matters,’” Prof Keane said in the statement. “It is hoped the mid-June event will form part of a determined commitment of the University of Sydney to develop a constructive dialogue on matters concerning Tibet and the wider region.”
Earlier this month it was reported that the University, which has close links with China, had cancelled the Tibetan Nobel Laureate’s talk.
Last week, Australian Broadcasting cooperation obtained emails exchanged between Prof. Keane and the University’s Vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, which confirmed the decision to withdraw the Dalai Lama’s lecture.
“This is to confirm that the decision was taken to withdraw our support for hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s planned speech at the University on June 18th,” Prof. Keane’s email said. “I am of course happy to talk with you further about the reasons why we have taken these difficult decisions.”
The cancellation of the talk raised many serious questions and students and politicians blamed the University of having compromised its integrity to uphold warm financial relations with the Chinese government.
“This is an insult to the students and it also direct hit on the university’s reputation for independence and for its capacity to exercise intellectual leadership,” John Kaye the New South Wales Greens Parliamentarian had said reacting to the cancellation.
“I’ve never seen a university try to give up, and try to share with other universities, a jewel like having the Dalai Lama coming. People are very keen to see this man – a significant intellectual and political figure of the 21st Century.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Australia from June 14-23 and give a series of public talks and teachings in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Darwin.