Dalai Lama coming to Philly to receive Liberty Medal for human rights work

 Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures as he talks during a special ritual ceremony at the Tibetan Children's Village School in Dharmsala, India, last month. He will be in Philadelphia in October to accept the National Constitution Center's Liberty Award. (AP photo, file)

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures as he talks during a special ritual ceremony at the Tibetan Children's Village School in Dharmsala, India, last month. He will be in Philadelphia in October to accept the National Constitution Center's Liberty Award. (AP photo, file)

Just a month after Pope Francis visits Philadelphia, a religious leader with a much smaller entourage will be in town.

The Dalai Lama will receive the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Award in October.

The National Constitution Center chose the Dalai Lama to receive its annual Liberty Award because the core values of the constitution – freedom, dialogue, tolerance, and equality – are also embodied by the Tibetan spiritual leader.

“More than ever at the Constitution Center we are talking about dialogue, and how people from all different perspectives need to come together to have civic dialogues,” said Vince Stango, the center’s chief operating officer. “That is certainly embodied in the work that the Dalai Lama has done for many, many years.”

The Dalai Lama had been on the short list to receive the prize for a few years. It was coincidence that the year the Dalai Lama arrives to accept the award will be the same as the historic visit by the pope.

“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” said Stango. “We started talking to his representatives before we learned about all the activities coming to Philadelphia in September. While we would love to make that connection, it was a little bit of luck that it turned out that turned out we will be playing host in Philadelphia to these two inspirational spiritual leaders within a month of one another.”

The Dalai Lama will be in Philadelphia for several days in the last week of October.  Stango said he will make appearances other than the Liberty Award ceremony. Those appearances will be announced shortly. 

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